With the summer season coming upon us, more and more restaurants are opening up their doors, shaking off the dust of the long winter break. As with this tradition, so comes another on the Island, what we like to call the “chef shuffle.”
Many beloved Island chefs find new creative endeavors for the season which can be very exciting for us foodies, and those who love to venture out to eat as often as possible.
Since it is so early in the season — and chef shuffle — a lot of what I am writing about is what I’ve heard on the street, so to say. Things are mentioned in passing or someone flat out tells me but says it could change. With that in mind, know that some of these chefs might end up somewhere different.
Something that surprised many Islanders this spring was that Chef Craig Decker from Alchemy made a move and left. He is now at the Island’s newest restaurant, Rockfish, located just down the street in Edgartown.
After almost two decades at Alchemy (line cook then chef), he brings his attention to quality and flavor, and that wow factor to Rockfish.
The Coogan Family, who own this hot new spot (also the Wharf in Edgartown), could not be more excited with having Craig as their chef. He has a reputation for amazing food and a great attitude.
Rockfish closed its doors for a bit and then reopened last Friday, with a whole new menu, which I think is going to please a lot of its guests.
Up-Island Chef & Restaurant Changes
The chef — now former chef — from the Harbor View Hotel, Nathan Gould, took a winter hiatus, and will be back on Martha’s Vineyard. However, he’s traded the hustle and bustle of downtown Edgartown for the Up-Island.
Nathan will be working in collaboration with executive chef Josh Aronie, who is now overseeing both the Beach Plum Restaurant and the Home Port up in Chilmark. Nate has a passion for local ingredients, and that is something the Beach Plum has been known for in recent years, so I can’t wait to see what this dynamic duo creates up in Menemsha!
Noteworthy — Beach Plum will be open as of the Thursday of Memorial Day weekend and the Homeport a week later.
Wondering where chef Chris Fischer (former Beach Plum chef) has gone? Well, he has a new cookbook out, The Beetlebung Farm Cookbook. He’s going to be out promoting that throughout the Summer, and I bet, maybe some private chef work.
The Harbor View Hotel’s Water Street and Henry’s has chef Caleb Lara in the kitchen again. Though only here for a short period a couple of years ago, chef Lara is back, and excited to continue working on the restaurants’ island-to-table focus on food. Hope to get a sneak peek at the new menus soon!
Caleb has a love for the food community in New England. Before coming back to the Harbor View, chef Lara had been at the Chatham Bars Inn in Chatham. Thanks Randi Baird for the amazing pic of chef Caleb Lara!
Word On The Street
Last year, Beetlebung in Oak Bluffs had a great small plates menu. I for one, and many other people I know, really loved the food. So, I was a little sad to hear that chef Jerry Marano was not returning.
Instead, he will be found at 20 By Nine, another favorite of mine, working with chef Scott Cummings. Not to sound redundant, but I look forward to seeing what these two do in that fabulous little kitchen in downtown OB which is opening April 23rd!
Wondering about Beetlebung? I hear that chef Danny Fingers, from Lucky Hank’s in Edgartown, is heading to Oak Bluffs to take over the kitchen there. It will be interesting to see what the menu looks like at Beetlebung. I think the recipes were all Jerry’s.
Sadly, I don’t know who is going to be the new chef at Lucky Hank’s, but I bet he/she will be amazing. I love that sweet little Edgartown spot.
The Barn, the new restaurant at the Bowling Center of Martha’s Vineyard, opening late spring/early summer, is in the process of finding its chef.
Now, this restaurant is going to be fun! A little bowling, a little eating, a cocktail if you so choose, the place for a family night, this place will serve many functions.
I know that one of the front runners for the job is chef many people love. Chef Paul Sardini is the frontrunner for this kitchen. He has cooked in some notable Island restaurants including Chesca’s, Mediterranean, Isola and Offshore Ale. We’ll have to see if he is the the one chosen. We’ll be sure to let you know.
Oh — now this is the one I am least sure about, but I have to share this. With Craig leaving Alchemy, I have heard that a chef who has worked along side the famous Mario Batali in one of his New York City restaurants, a chef named Gio, is coming to Alchemy.
If that’s the case, I imagine Alchemy might close for a bit and possibly open with a new menu. I’ll keep you posted. Whoever is in that kitchen, I hope to meet and write about him very soon. Some exciting stuff for those us who adore Alchemy.
As you can see, it’s going to be another exciting summer for dining here on Martha’s Vineyard, with plenty of chef shuffle in play. Please let me know if I missed anyone or maybe got a detail wrong. Stay tuned for a number of follow-up On Point blogs about these changes.
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