Josh Aronie started his career at the Home Port restaurant in Menemsha, where he parlayed his job as a window washer into a gig as a prep cook. Three decades of restaurant experience later, he is returning to the restaurant this year as the chef.
“This is where I had my first job,” Mr. Aronie, now 44, told the Gazette this week, “I was young.”
Restaurant owners Sarah and Robert Nixon, who own the Menemsha and Beach Plum Inns, have also hired a new manager, Karl Alterman from Florida, to manage the Home Port. The restaurant hopes to open for the season around Memorial Day weekend.
Mr. Aronie, whose 32 years of cooking experience includes working both front and back of the house jobs at a dozen different Island restaurants, will head the kitchen at the popular seasonal spot known for serving seafood with a side of sunset views.
Most recently, Mr. Aronie ran The Food Truck, which closed for the season on May 2. Three days later he was in the Home Port kitchen setting up for his new, but familiar, endeavour.
Twelve-year old Mr. Aronie washed windows at the Home Port for one day before asking the management if there was anything else he could do. “So that’s how I became a prep cook,” he said. “And I didn’t know what a prep cook was but that’s how I started my career as a cook.”
Mr. Aronie said the menu for this upcoming season has not yet been finalized. Customers will recognize the return of old favorites but also notice some changes--not with the food itself, but rather the cooking method.
“We’re going to cook more things in pans instead of broiling them,” he said. “I think pans can cook fish better.”
There will also be plenty of fried seafood. “Fish, scallops and calamari, that type of stuff,” said Mr. Aronie. He added that there will be more composed dishes, “rather than having one or two options for sides” and that the chowder served will be his own recipe.
There was some discussion about discontinuing a few familiar offerings. “We contemplated not having baked stuffed lobster on the menu, but that wasn’t going to fly. People seem to like baked stuffed lobster and there’s a lot of people who will want things from the old menu,” he said. “It’s been an interesting process.”
On Thursday, Mr. Aronie was back in the kitchen at the Home Port, his fourth day at his new job. “Right now, I’m just sitting here and it’s so nice up here. I’m looking out the window, watching the fish jump and it’s pretty cool,” he said.