The Oak Bluffs restaurant scene will see a shift next spring with a change in ownership and menu at Down Island, the popular farm-to-table restaurant that has operated under chef Scott Cummings for the past two summers.

Ben deForest, owner of the Red Cat, will buy the business and the equipment but not the building, Down Island owners confirmed. The sale price has not been disclosed. The change in ownership is pending approval of licenses by the town and state.

The new restaurant will be called The Cardboard Box, Mr. deForest told the Gazette by phone this week. 
While he is still developing his vision for the restaurant, the longtime Island chef said it will have elements of a steakhouse culture but will not strictly be a steakhouse.

He said he wants to create an establishment where everyone feels comfortable.

“We’re really going to take what I’m best at, which is farm to table and sea to table aspects of dining, and fusing that with some very classic traditions,” Mr. deForest said. “It will be true New England fare.” He continued:

“I want it to be a place where the guy walking down the street in July or August with a T-shirt over his shoulder and an ice cream in his hand can walk in and have a great bowl of chowder, and a draft beer, as well as a place that the discerning foodie will be able to come, and the place that the guy who may not be a foodie but has something to celebrate feels like coming out and having the best steak on Martha’s Vineyard, and a martini or a nice bottle of wine, or some of the traditional things that go along with that experience.”

He said the restaurant will feature a late night scene.

He will continue to operate the Red Cat, across Kennebec avenue from the entrance to the new venture.

Down Island was opened in 2016 by the Celestial Group, which also operates the nearby 20byNine whiskey bar and restaurant.

“Despite the fact that due to the crazy talent of our chef and staff we were collecting accolades, as a group we decided to step back from managing that concept and space to focus on 20byNine for now, and other concepts we have planned for Oak Bluffs in the future,” said Adam Jaime, a principle in the restaurant ownership group, which also includes Doug Abdelnour, Steve Ansara and David Gaffey.

“We had an incredible clientele and couldn’t have done so well without our local base. It really was an incredible two years of Down Island.”