If you’ve visited Martha’s Vineyard, chances are you may have taken the drive to the cliffs at Aquinnah (Gay Head). This stellar, panoramic view is truly breathtaking.
However when there, it’s important to stop and take in the shops and the little eateries found at the cliffs. Here, you’ll find a treasure trove of goodies, including the latest addition Cliffhangers.
Cliffhangers is located where Dreamcatcher used to be. Now, you will find a truly inspiring menu for such a small place. Owners Theresa and Paul Manning, and their son Noah, are the proud new owners of this takeout hotspot.
They chose the name because they wanted some relaxed fun relaxed, that captures the spirit of a place people want to hang out in. After all, this is the Manning’s neighborhood. They live right down the street.
My son and I made the trek to Aquinnah on Cliffhangers’ opening day, the Friday of Memorial Day weekend. That first glimpse of the water, before you get to the cliffs, makes you forget the seemingly long drive, and reminds you how amazing it is up there.
The first thing I noticed about Cliffhangers was the fact that they serve breakfast. What a great idea. Head up to the cliffs for breakfast, while the world is still a little sleepy. Also, the crab cake with fried egg served over greens with chipotle aioli, sound particularly delicious.
Then, it was onto the lunch/dinner menu, which was chocked full of good options and not just a hot dog or lobster roll. The menu was inventive for what was considered a “snack shack.” Salads, paninis, clam cakes, fish tacos and more. Not to mention Theresa’s NE clam chowder
It was fun to be there opening day. I got to see some of the finishing touches, even Paul hanging beautiful planters!
I had to have the crab cake sandwich — house made rock crab (6.5 .oz – no skimping here), lettuce, chipotle aioli and house made coleslaw. Of course, there was a chowder added to that, and sadly I could not resist a side of spicy peanut noodles too. My son got the chicken fingers and fries, though I tried to push for fish tacos.
We were lucky to grab a great seat at a picnic table, that gave us an unobstructed view of the water. Sitting there together, while waiting for our food, watching the water, the boats off in the distance, soaking in the late Spring sun, I felt like I was on vacation for a bit. It was a break from the daily scenes of down-Island for me.
An added bonus was that the food from Cliffhangers was really good. My crab cake sandwich was so full of crab meat, and was perfectly prepared! I feel like I could eat it every day.
The chowder was really good too. I like the way Theresa uses some different flavors in it and that it’s not so heavy. Even my son liked it. It was his first time trying clam chowder in his four young years. That fact alone ensures me heading back up.
The spicy peanut noodles did not disappoint either. I actually couldn’t finish them, so I brought them home, finishing them right before I wrote this. A nice refresher for how good the food at Cliffhangers was.
Also, Anderson loved his chicken fingers and fries. This along with how good my food makes me think I need to come up more often. Grab some food, sit, relax, hang out – maybe invite some friends. The vibe up there is so relaxed – it’s a fun spot.
In the not too distant future, it’s Theresa and Paul’s hope to have some dinner specials and host local musicians during dinner hours to further create a fun environment to relax and enjoy. Also, it’s the least expensive way to get a meal and take in that view.
There will also be daily specials, gluten free options, and a selection of prepared foods to grab and go. I should also remind you that you can get ice cream there too!
Theresa has always loved cooking, and has catered on and off for the past 15 years with a friend at Quitsa Cuisine (catering). Her homemade clam chowder has been a crowd pleaser for decades, and when the opportunity came in January for her and her family to open a take-away place on the cliffs – the answer was simple – yes. They were not looking for this, but it fell into their laps. The previous owners, Gordon Perry and Dona Mazza were ready to retire.
Something interesting I learned about the cliffs from Theresa, is that you have to be a member of the Wampanoag tribe to have a business on the cliffs. Theresa’s husband, Paul, is a tribal member, and the Manning family actually used to have a restaurant by the lighthouse, called Manning’s. Though Paul was off-Island for a number of the years during this time, it is still an important part of his family’s history.
For Paul, having this business is nostalgic, and with Cliffhangers, they’re creating a new Manning legacy. This makes me like Cliffhangers even more!
Cliffhangers is open every day from 8:00 a.m. to sunset – weather permitting.
Author’s note: I have to give a shout out to my friend Scott Mullin who helped create the beautiful menu boards at Cliffhangers!
Cliffhangers is coming to Facebook soon. In the meantime, just drive on up to be delighted! And don’t forget to “Like” us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter, Linked In, Google+, Pinterest and Youtube.