Editors, Vineyard Gazette:

As restaurant owners, operators and food professionals, our number one concern is always the safety of our guests. A key component is safe drinking water and we have our water tested regularly in accordance with local, county and state regulations.

Like many places on the Vineyard, our water comes from our private wells. Last week water samples taken from outside spigots at each of our restaurants tested positive for bacteria.

At both establishments, we had a third round of samples taken prior to treating our wells. This time the samples were taken from four separate inside faucet locations. All these samples came back clean.

Nonetheless, the original failed tests activated our emergency response plans. We closed, chlorinated our wells, flushed our systems and submitted two sets of post-treatment water samples. All those samples came back clean. On Tuesday, the state cleared both of our restaurants to reopen.

The quality of our water was our first concern and we took every action necessary to comply with our emergency response plans. We were, however, puzzled by the identical failed tests on two private wells five miles apart. We were informed by several professionals that failed tests are common, even when the water is fine and that our original failed results were most likely caused by an error in the testing process, somewhere between sample collection and the lab.

Because the closings were sudden, we could not have pulled it off without our amazing staff. Thanks to all of them for their constant spirit and dedication. We also want to thank our guests, especially those with reservations we could not honor. Your understanding and concern was much appreciated. Finally, our friends in the restaurant community were as supportive and generous as always. Thank you for reaching out to help in the middle of a busy weekend.

There are many people to thank. Here are just a few by name: John Clark, Glenn Provost, Judy and Frank LoRusso, Ned Allen and family, Kaila Binney and family, Gina from Art Cliff Diner, Craig, Anthony and Charlotte from Alchemy, Stacy and Joe from Saltwater, Jennifer and Joel from The Chilmark Store, Dan and Nonnie from 7a Foods, and the vendors who did their best to take back what they could so food didn’t go to waste.

While Chilmark Tavern is now closed for the season, State Road has reopened. We look forward to seeing everyone soon.

Jenna Petersiel, Chilmark Tavern
Mary and Jackson Kenworth, State Road