Eating a cheap meal out on the Vineyard can be a challenge, but with the second annual restaurant week scheduled to start on Saturday, Islanders and visitors alike will have the chance to dine out and still hang on to most of their weekly paycheck.
A long list of restaurants that includes the Sweet Life Café in Oak Bluffs, Chesca’s in Edgartown, Lambert’s Cove Inn in West Tisbury, Zephrus in Vineyard Haven and many more will be serving prix-fixe lunches and dinners from June 20 to June 24.
With more than 20 eating establishments signed up to wine and dine customers, restaurant owners are hoping the designated week will draw in those who may not normally go out to eat.
“Dining out is a wonderful experience on the Vineyard,” Nancy Gardella, executive director of the Martha’s Vineyard Chamber of Commerce, said in an interview earlier this week. “You’ll find amazing options where you can wear T-shirts and flip-flops, or dress up and do something romantic.”
Options include a three-course dinner at l’étoile in Edgartown for $42 per person that includes a choice of summer gazpacho, softshell crab, oysters, and white chocolate and kirsch mousse parfait. In Oak Bluffs, Offshore Ale’s $35 fixed-price dinner includes a mixed raw bar, lobster and shrimp alfredo, and five-layer chocolate cake.
“It’s something that’s cost effective, but still indicative of local tastes, local flavors and who we are,” said Troy Price, the chef at Lure Grill in Katama. Another draw he says is the publicity it gives the restaurant, adding: “We sometimes find our biggest challenge is to get people to know that we exist at all.”
Mr. Price said Lure Grill decided to participate in restaurant week again after seeing increased reservations and receiving good comments about the food last year. With Father’s Day on Sunday, expectations are high.
Restaurant week was a concept developed by a group of media partners who saw the success of restaurant weeks in other major destinations. After a soft opening last year, good food and drink is only one incentive for locals and visitors to try new restaurants.
“We saw the negative impact of the economy on the local restaurants,” Ms. Gardella said. “They’re a critical piece of Martha’s Vineyard and we wanted to give them a boost at the beginning of the season to showcase themselves.”
J.B. Blau at Sharky’s Cantina said they participate in restaurant week because of its benefits to the Island community. “Restaurant week is every week at Sharky’s, but we try to kick it up a notch,” Mr. Blau said in an interview this week. “It’s something fun that can only help the Island, and clearly we should continue doing it to keep getting people to the Vineyard.”
Instead of offering a tasting menu for $35 for one person, Sharky’s is offering it for two people. Mr. Blau said the tasting menu offered a variety of options to draw people out of their comfort eating zones, not to mention the “out of control dessert” to top off the meal.
“We hope [restaurant week] reminds our community of the variety, and how fortunate we are to live and eat here,” Ms. Gardella said. The biggest challenge this week, she says, is deciding where to eat.
Martha’s Vineyard Restaurant Week runs from June 20 to June 24. For more information and a list of participating restaurants, visit marthasvineyardrestaurantweek.com.