Reservations recommended - 508/487-9990
Fred Hemley • Francis Iacono
Although many of you will already know parts of this story, I will lay it all out for those who don't. This GoFundMe has been created to help keep 9 Ryder afloat, as its story is not yet over. 9 Ryder is a little Southern Italian seafood restaurant that lives on a historic pier in Provincetown, Massachusetts. It is born of the sea, the community in which it resides, and the hearts of Francis Iacono and the late Fred Hemley. Francis and Freddie began cooking together in the seventies, beginning at Rosy, and continuing in the kitchens of Sal's Place and Ciro & Sal's. Those names might not mean much to you if you're not part of the Provincetown community, but they certainly do if you are. These restaurants are iconic parts of the tapestry of food in this town. The tables of these restaurants have borne witness to love stories and heart-wrenching goodbyes. They have watched many grow up, and also grow old. The dishes created in the kitchens of these four restaurants serve as tangible reminders of so many memories that should never be forgotten. Quite simply, that is the true gift that food brings to us all. It can serve as a sensory anchor to a moment in time. And what is life but just a series of moments sewn together in our minds...
I am writing this as the daughter of Francis Iacono, and I know wholeheartedly that the story woven from the dishes created by Francis and Freddie over the years is an intrinsic part of not just my life, but of all of their children’s lives.
In high school my father had to move out of state to work to keep our family afloat as jobs were nonexistent in the rural northeast kingdom of Vermont. He would return on the weekends after stopping at the Italian delis of Federal Hill in Rhode Island, bringing bags and boxes of treats. Cold cuts and scungilli on crusty Italian bread. Sfogliatelle and cannoli for dessert (or often breakfast...) But the dish I most remember is the Foriana. Maybe some of you have eaten it at 9 Ryder, maybe some of you have eaten my version that I sell in the cooler of my store. In it, golden raisins, pine nuts, walnuts, parsley, garlic, olive oil and anchovies meet in the perfect dance of sweet and savory, fat and acid, and for me it represents comfort and love. Food is how our family expresses love. It is why my father cooks for you all, and why I do too. For my brother Alex - Pop, Freddie and 9 Ryder are represented by his memories of working behind the line with them, eight burners blasting, pans flying, and two old guys running circles around him... For his partner Flo, it's the Veal Piccatto - an expensive item that Freddie would serve her, slightly begrudgingly, but it surely meant she was loved. For my brother Zack, it’s the steak Pizzaiola with a side of squid ink burro. For Freddie’s daughter Glea it's the chicken parm, and his daughter Helen loves all the seafood dishes that her father’s hands created...
Fred Hemley passed away on August 26 of this year after a sudden and unexpected illness. The 9 Ryder community was left reeling and had to close before the season was over, and before the bank account was where it should be going into the winter. My father does not want the story to end there; he is not ready for the legacy to end. In the creation of this GoFundMe, we are asking for your help so that 9 Ryder can continue, albeit in a different way. My father is left without the capitol to get the restaurant back up and running for the new season, and take care of himself, his employees and the building over the winter. When spring comes, we hope that 9 Ryder can reopen. It will be different without Freddie also at the helm, but we know this is how it must be. We ask for your help in keeping this story going. We ask for your donation if you are able, and hope you can share this page either way. And then, when the doors open in the new year, and the cool air blows in from the bay, we hope you can come down to the restaurant and find the dish that speaks to you, the dish that can be folded into the moments that make up the story of your life.