Since that awful day in July, 2008, when a fire claimed the beloved Cafe Moxie, people have been waiting for it to be rebuilt and return to the Vineyard Haven restaurant scene. Now four years later, the wait is over. Mark your calendars it’s offical, Cafe Moxie will open its doors Friday, October 12th and will once again bring great food, with a different twist, to Main Street.
Cafe Moxie 2012
Completely rebuilt, the new Cafe Moxie is a bit more spacious. A bigger bar, lots of windows, and comfy cafe chairs make the space warm and welcoming. With a more open feel and more space, I think the bar is going to become a popular place to grab a bite. Vineyard Haven’s first cool place to do so. I can easily see myself there enjoying a sandwich from the lunch menu with a great beer after doing a little shopping. I know a lot of you will miss the quaint, cozy Moxie, but hopefully this place will find a place in your heart where new memories can be made.
The restaurant can accommodate 48 people, which is more seats than before. How can it hold more people? Well, the kitchen is downstairs now, great for guests because there is more space, but boy do I feel for the wait staff. The new, spacious kitchen (three times the size of the old one) has all the bells and whistles and even sports a big, shiny convection oven for the fresh bread and pastries they’ll be offering.
Fate and Cafe Moxie
So, enough about the space and on to the chef. It seems as though Cafe Moxie owners really lucked out with their new Chef, Willy Wannamaker. I say lucky because only on the Vineyard would a great chef find his way to a new restaurant like this. Willy was on the boat (SSA) coming back from his commute from his private chef gig in NYC, when someone told him about Cafe Moxie opening soon, and the fact that the it needed a chef.
Willy Wannamaker is an Islander that was classically trained in France. Thinking Julia Childs? You’re right – he loves her style of cooking and even met her while he was studying in France. Wondering where you might have sampled his cuisine? Well, Chef Willy has cooked at Theo’s (Blueberry Inn) and has been a private chef. Notably impressive is that he was Walter Cronkite’s private chef for a number of year’s.
Missing being on MV full time with his family, Chef Willy Wannamaker decided look into Cafe Moxie. Low and behold – Vineyard karma at its finest, Willy was the perfect fit. Owners Michael and Mariola were thrilled. What’s really wonderful about this Chef is that he is passionate about serving people. For him, it brings a lot of joy to make people happy with his food. He believes that by providing excellent service and great food, the community will embrace the new Cafe Moxie and help it succeed.
Cafe Moxie, an American Bistro on Main Street
Chef Willy is all about good food. When I asked him about his style of cooking, he is all about good food and good ingredients which of course has a local component because that’s a given, part of being a good chef. For him, it’s the details, making great classics that will appeal to Islanders. He loves making the classics like Coq au vin, and delicious American foods like a mean grilled cheese. The menu he’s created will not be huge, but it will include delicious, thoughtful foods. Of course the menu he creates for Cafe Moxie will change with the season, and there will be daily specials which I’m sure will delight us.
Cafe Moxie is going to be opening its doors for the community seven days a week for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Now that’s ambitious! I love it – we could use more year round restaurants, especially in Vineyard Haven. How wonderful that the lights will be glowing nightly, lighting what can sometimes be a quiet Main Street.
So, what can we expect in terms of food? For breakfast there will be fresh made pastries, brioche French Toast with walnut butter, steel cut oats, a Moxie omelette with Island farm eggs, wilted spinach and Gruyere, homemade granola and more. Lunch will feature things like grilled ham and Gruyere cheese, Club Cafe Moxie, in-house roasted turkey breast, applewood smoked bacon, and local heirloom tomato.
Still hungry? Luckily we still have dinner to talk about, and there are some mouth-watering items to be sampled. The menu will feature items like in-house made gravlox, corn chowder with lobster, bouillabaisse, roasted rack of lamb, warm crisp duck confit, of course Coq au vin, and more.
After hearing a couple of those menu items, like the Club Cafe Moxie, yum fresh roasted turkey and the brioche French Toast, I bet you’re craving a little Cafe Moxie. No reason not to stop by and sample some of these delectable, fresh eats.
Chef wants to be creative during the off-season, offer some fun for his diners. He’s thinking about dinner and a show specials with the Capawock or the Vineyard Playhouse, and wine dinners. The Chef is a big fan of wine, a given since he was trained in France where wine is pretty much a food group. Though Cafe Moxie will be BYOB when it opens its doors, there will be beer and wine sold there soon. Chef Willy is really looking forward to choosing the beverages for Cafe Moxie.
What a year on MV for restaurants. 2012 has certainly brought about a change in the restaurant landscape here, and how wonderful to the addition of Cafe Moxie included. It will be nice to finally have it back. That corner has been mighty lonely, and I am glad to no longer be peering in wondering and hoping. Also, the fact that it’s going to be opened for three meals a day is fantastic. Hope you’re ready for another great place to grab a bite all year long! By the way, Cafe Moxie’s new neighbor is Midnight Farm. Main Street gets even more exciting with these two additions. Wonder what’s next?