Spring on the Island is more than a change of seasons. There are also a lot of changes seen in the Martha’s Vineyard restaurant world. Our first big one in Edgartown is that the Main Street Diner has new owners. It’s now the Edgartown Diner.
A new, eye catching sign hangs proudly on Main Street. Upon entering, you may not see a lot of changes when you walk through the door, but you will notice some big changes with the food. New owner/chef Ralston Francis and his fiancé, Mavis, are creating a diner menu that not only does the classics right, but also has some fun Southern twists.
Ralston, a soft spoken man, has quite the kitchen pedigree. Originally from Jamaica, he fell in love with cooking when he was really young. He started cooking when he 15 years old. When he was 17, he started coming back and forth from Jamaica to the states to work in kitchens.
Fast forward to 2011, where Raltson is working in the kitchen of Janine Falvo at her restaurant, Briza, in Atlanta, Georgia. Janine was featured on Top Chef, and really wowed the judges and the people of Atlanta with her creative cooking. Ralston loved working a kitchen that fostered creativity, and that’s what he hopes to bring to the Edgartown Diner.
Ralston has worked in the kitchen of the diner for many years. He wanted to do more with the food, but was not able to with the previous owners. Now that the kitchen is his own, things are a changing.
I say Southern charm because you’ll notice some dishes with Southern roots on the menu. Ralston is from Jamaica, and there are a lot of similarities between Jamaican and Southern cuisine. Of course, there you’ll find Ralston’s Jerk Chicken on the menu, but there is also a great selection of American diner classics.
You’ll also find two notable dishes for breakfast — Chicken and Waffles, and the Southern Benni. Ralston loves having some of his favorites along with the classics. I myself have never had Chicken and Waffles, and if there was ever a time, this was it.
Waffles and fried chicken for breakfast. Why not? The plate is simple, yet packs a punch. The softness of the waffle, the crunchiness of the chicken make a good pair. The sweetness of the syrup and the saltiness of the chicken’s seasoning do a little dance in your mouth. The dish is actually quite delicious.
I loved the mixed of the different flavors and textures. In addition to syrup, it comes with a side of white gravy, which is the traditional accouterment for this dish. However, I was a fan of smothering it in the sweet gooey real Maple Syrup. If you too have not tried Chicken and Waffles, this is your year.
The Southern Bennie is an awesome twist on the classic Eggs Benedict. I think this is going to be one of the dishes that people come back for. Forget the boring ole English Muffin, how about house made cornbread. Who needs Canadian Bacon when you can have house made fried chicken, poached eggs and gravy!
Also, on my list to try is Ralston’s Stuffed French Toast, which is a croissant filled with ricotta and a topping of your choice. Think white chocolate chips or raspberries, there’s a big list to choose from. I’ve seen all sorts of bread styles for French Toast but never a croissant. This Edgartown Diner dish features..
I have to mention that for us parents, this is going to become a favorite for the kiddos. Edgartown Diner features a Funny Face Pancake which is made to look like Mickey Mouse. What little one wouldn’t love that!
Be on the lookout for daily specials and theme nights. Ralston wants to bring a taste of the Caribbean to Martha’s Vineyard. I bet that these nights will feature some really amazing dishes unlike any other you’ll find on the Island.
Don’t forget that you can also satisfy your sweet tooth here. There will be a selection of classic desserts, some with a twist that will fill the dessert case. Ralston has a sweet tooth and really loves having a little fun with desserts. And because it is a diner, you can get milkshakes and frappes. Imagine after a hot day, pulling up to the counter and cooling of with a good ole classic shake?
In addition to a refreshing of the menu, the hours have changed. The diner didn’t used to open until 8:00 a.m., which is late for such a place. It now opens at 7:00 a.m. Right now, there’s just breakfast and lunch, but soon dinner will be offered as well (Memorial Day weekend).
Also, there are plans to offer a late night menu, 10:00 p.m. to 1:00 a.m. I remember the days of my youth heading to the diner and getting a plate of gravy fries as a perfect ending to a night of fun. Love that this will be offered for those enjoying Summer nights in Edgartown.
Like Local stuff? Edgartown Diner is serving local favorite, Chilmark Coffee. Ralston is working to bring in local favorites. The diner also features Rosewater Granola, and you can get FARM Institute eggs. When the farms are producing more, you’ll see even more local items featured on the menu.
Don’t have time to sit and take in the diner scene? Well, you can get all your goodies to go, whether you’re heading to the beach or the office.
One thing that is definitely staying — the Trivia Pursuit cards on the table, certain to get some fun conversation going! You can learn more about all the Edgartown Diner, on Facebook. And speaking of social media, don’t forget to “Like” us on Facebook, and follow us on Twitter, Linked In, Google+, Pinterest and Youtube.
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