The evening winds down. Ray Ewing

Imagine the best dinner party you’ve ever been to: a beautiful room and table set with vintage dishes, candles flickering, the food made with local ingredients and served family-style, the conversation flowing into the night. Now imagine that in Vineyard Haven. Welcome to Moony Dinner Parties, a pop-up dinner experience from Gina Citarella and Nina Krane. Every Tuesday, Gina and Nina welcome diners to their version of a dinner party in the S&S Kitchenette space at 48 Main street. (You can make reservations by messaging them on Instagram @moonydinnerparty.) Using ingredients sourced from the Island is the fundamental idea behind each week’s menu.

“If it’s growing and it’s good, we will serve it. But we don’t want to promise you something and then have to buy it from off-Island,” Gina says. Gina, who does most of the cooking, describes the cuisine as “Italian-leaning meets new California.” Nina, who runs the front of the house and makes desserts, notes that these are dishes they cook for friends on their nights off.

The menu isn’t posted beforehand to allow them flexibility in the menu planning, but dishes are served à la carte, and diners can always choose from five options: a salad, a seafood dish, a meat dish, a vegetable dish and a dessert. The generous portions are meant to be shared, and they come right out to the table as soon as the kitchen has prepared them, making the experience feel even more like a dinner party than a restaurant meal.

Baked Tisbury oysters with herb and chili butters. Ray Ewing

A menu in late April featured a snack plate (marinated olives, whipped Mermaid Farm feta + leeks and focaccia, $18); baked Tisbury oysters (with herb + chili butters, $22); meatballs + rice (with North Tabor Farm pork and Mermaid Farm beef, $39); broccoli rabe (with chickpeas, spring onions, Parmesan and lemon oil, $19); Caesar salad (with North Tabor Farm kale, miso dressing and crispy shiitakes, $19); and Basque cheesecake (with rhubarb compote,$17).

The communal seating makes sense for both the physical space as well as Gina and Nina’s vision of how the dinners will work. “With a communal table, it feels like you’re eating in a home,” Nina says. “Our amazing team of servers keeps it all running,” Gina says. The service is relaxed yet efficient.

A chocolate "nemesis" cake with a special birthday candle. Ray Ewing

Gina and Nina met in 2020 while working at Seaweed’s wine bar and restaurant in Oak Bluffs and have been working together ever since. (Seaweed’s closed in 2022.) They have been in hospitality for over a decade and have also worked in the natural wine industry.

The idea for the pop-up came from wanting to feed locals during the off-season. “It’s nice to feed people who grow the food,” Gina says. “The people who fish and raise the meat can’t sit down during the summer, but off-season they can sit and eat.”

Meatballs (made with North Tabor Farm pork and Mermaid Farm beef) and rice. Ray Ewing

Their approach when sourcing from Island farms is simple. “We start with, ‘What do you have?’” Gina says. The spring months can be challenging given the limited growing season, but Gina and Nina continue to create inventive menus despite the limitations. In April and May, they relied on Beetlebung Farm for herbs, Mermaid Farm for dairy, Allen Farm for lamb, as well as North Tabor Farm and Blackwater Farm for other ingredients. With warmer weather coming, they’ll be reaching out to even more Island farmers and fishermen.

Gina is looking forward to tomato season and to using more local seafood this summer, especially black sea bass and sea scallops. “What most people don’t realize is that the seasonal aspect of seafood is mostly due to fish and shellfish laws rather than the season of the actual seafood,” she says. Nina is excited for more fruit options for desserts during the summer months.

Celebrating what is grown, harvested or created on the Island is often reserved for home kitchens or friends who cook. With Moony Dinners, Gina and Nina are inviting us all over to join in the celebration.


Laura Holmes Haddad is a regular contributor to The Vine.


Moony Dinner Parties

48 Main Street, Vineyard Haven 
 (S&S Kitchenette space)

Reservations suggested and taken via Instagram messaging only; walk-ins accepted; credit cards accepted.

Instagram: @moonydinnerparty

Dinners will be happening every Tuesday in May, as well as Tuesday, June 4, and Tuesday, June 25 from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.

Any changes, as well as July and August dinner dates, will be posted on Instagram @moonydinnerparty. They are also available for private events.