Backyard Tacos in Edgartown has a casual style. The patio area is decorated somewhere between ramshackle and charming, with mismatched chairs, a collection of mirrors and decorative lights. The owners are brothers Zared and Evan Shai. Zared calls it a surf shack vibe.

In the small kitchen nearly everything is within arms reach, from the balls of tortilla dough resting above the cast iron press to the fillings, homemade sauces and startlingly purple coleslaw.

Zared spends the off-season in Los Angeles, Calif. working in the film business, but he wanted something to do between editing gigs. At the urging of his sister, Megan Brown, he opened the Smooth Moves juice bar last year. When the space next door became available, he decided to expand, and create a taco restaurant. He called on his brother Evan, who had been working in restaurants around the Island, for help.

Backyard patio completes the scene with a casual vibe that is open late. — Mark Lovewell

Business flows in the Shai blood. Megan Brown owns and operates Megan’s Jewelry and Dresses, a clothing store across the street from Backyard Tacos. Their father Raphael Shai is a jeweler and their mother Nancy Shai owns Vineyard Jewelry and Body Art Jewelry in Oak Bluffs.

The Shais have been coming to the Vineyard from Connecticut since the boys were young. With the taco shop, Zared wanted to offer food and drinks to the late night crowd, though once they get their feet under them, the Shais hope to serve breakfast, lunch and dinner.

“We did buy a whole box of eggs and then ended up just cooking them for ourselves,” Zared said.

The brothers take challenges as they come, and are adaptable to change. When a batch of sweet potatoes intended for taco filling came out too soft, they mixed the potatoes with the tortilla dough and made sweet potato tortillas. Then they tried juicing beets to add to the tortilla dough.

“It helps having the juice bar next door,” said Evan.

Evan Shai at the grill with sous chef Joshua Stephenson. — Mark Lovewell

Evan is a fan of spice and has been experimenting by infusing jalapeno into various dishes. So far the spicy margaritas are the most successful.

So far the biggest point of contention between the brothers is over one of the favorite taco fillings, the brisket, which often cooks for a full day before it’s ready to serve.

“I yell at my brother because he keeps asking me nonstop if it’s ready and I keep telling him no,” Evan said. “It sits for a while.”

It’s a gamble what will be on the menu on any given day. Though the main fillings will remain, it’s a toss up if there will be infused tortillas or plain (either way, they will be homemade), or if a new item will appear created by some visiting family member. Their cousin Yonaton from Israel recently contributed mushroom tacos and a creamy coconut custard dessert with a strawberry sauce.

“He was here visiting and basically threw a little of his own flair at the place,” Zared said.

The Shais plan to stay open as late as they can into the off-season, but Zared will come and go between film jobs and Evan wants to go skiing in the winter.

“We can do a brother ski trip,” said Zared.

“Either way it’s going to be a me ski trip,” answered Evan.

Backyard Tacos is located at 33 Winter street, Edgartown. Hours currently are 2 p.m. to 12 a.m. Call 774-549-6944.

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