What’s NEW for 2013?

by: Katherine Berman, Marianne R. Stanton & Joshua H. Balling

TOPPER’S AT THE WAUWINET, with Kyle Zachary as executive chef, is celebrating its 25th anniversary this summer. Raise a toast to Topper’s with Woody 25, the 10-year-old single-malt whisky distilled at Triple Eight distillery, bottled from Topper’s own barrel, and named for the iconic Woody wagon parked outside the hotel. Or, enjoy chocolate-covered strawberries, a selection of cheeses, half a dozen oysters, caviar and a bottle of champagne as a pre-dinner terrace treat with the restaurant’s new “Sunset Package.”

Easy Street Bar and Grill on Broad Street, now under new management, plans to offer an extended brunch with cuisine influenced by the New Or- leans roots of chef John Calon, a 14- year veteran of the Big Easy. Owner and general manager Amanda Wagner said the goal is to inject new life back into the location with Cajun dishes like grillades and grits and fried green tomatoes, as well as live acoustic music in the late afternoon and evening entertainment.

“We are serving late-night tapas until 12:30 a.m., so if people get hungry, they’ll have a place to go. We are also making sure it’s kid-friendly throughout the day,” she said.

Island Kitchen has taken over the former Hen House space in the mid-is- land, purchased this spring by a consortium that includes Marshall Thompson of Jetties and the old Even Keel and Patrick Ridge, formerly chef at Le Languedoc, and a serious talent in the kitchen. Ridge plans to open in late May with casual, cutting-edge cuisine with the help of Ropewalk alumni Ron and Patty Oldham, lending experience in both the kitchen and front of house, respectively.

“We want to serve the best American food you can buy to do great spins on New England classics, shopping mostly locally and regionally,” said Ridge, whose menu on a clipboard will reflect weekly changes utilizing island produce.

At press time Ridge was focused on renovating the space to make it more open, eliminating the booths in the back of the restaurant and installing one horseshoe-shaped banquette that would allow for flexibility in seating. Since Ridge left the Languedoc he has been a private chef in Chicago where he completed his business degree.
For the first time this year, Fifty-Six Union will serve brunch on Sundays from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. Owner Wendy Jannelle is excited to expand on the possibilities of the restaurant’s ever- improving outdoor space.

“The afternoon light is so perfect out there,” she said. “We have brunch and lunch food, like the Fifty-Six Burger, Eggs Florentine and breakfast burritos.”

The Miacomet Golf Club is now offering Sunday brunch as well. With dishes like the “Burger That Saved Your Life” and the “Breakfast Bomb,” the menu promises to be the perfect anti- dote to last call at The Chicken Box. New assistant general manager Allison McConnell is excited about the restaurant’s cool, lounge-y feel, away from the downtown hubbub.

“Sometimes you just want to park, roll in, and go to the beach,” she said.

Hoping to grab a quick breakfast fix before the morning boat? Check out Wicked Island Bakery, which opened n March on Orange Street in the former Daily Breads location, and whose break- fast specialties are already giving the usual fast-food breakfast-sandwich places a run for their money.

Owners Ben – formerly of 21 Federal, Mark-Et and Petticoat Row Bakery – and Heather Woodbury bring years of expertise in the culinary world to their new venture and are touting Cabot’s Vermont butter as an integral component of their signature pastries.
Wicked’s “Toad in the Hole” features local farm eggs with house-made sausage in a butter pastry. According to Heather, the breakfast sandwiches have been selling out daily, so get there early.

Woodbury’s baguettes are the closest this island has seen to crusty, artisanal loaves since Liz Holland’s Daily Breads vacated this space three years ago. The ovens are also baking Holland’s Struan, and Woodbury’s own brioche, whole wheat, Portuguese and a delicious white- wheat bread called the Nantucket Loaf.

Lola Burger was slated to re-open at the old Rotary location in mid-May, a year and a half after it closed its doors on the Strip, and six months after the ill-fated Roadhouse at the Rotary closed. Marco Coelho and his team at Lola 41 and Pazzo have completely re- done the inside of the space to create a casual island vibe with a palette of grays and a driftwood-topped bar. Lola Burger will offer over half a dozen different types of burgers including grass- fed organic beef, yellowfin tuna, harissa-spiced lamb burgers, turkey burgers, veggie patties and the eponymous Lola Burger with onion compote, aged cheddar and fois gras sauce on an oversized English muffin. Those who relied on The Rotary’s lobster roll will not be disappointed with chef Robert Boslow’s elevated rendition of the New England staple – a side of truffle fries is highly recommended.
Annye’s Whole Foods this season is introducing its “Cooler Club.”

“Folks can drop off their coolers and we will stock them with whatever they want,” chef Chris Morris said. “We can pack up sandwiches, chips, soda, beer and wine, and we can have the coolers sitting out curbside if they want to just grab them on the way to the beach.” Annye’s will even wash the coolers be- tween uses.

Over the winter, Morris and owner Annye Camara worked together to expand their island-farm retail offerings, and even converted a portion of the store’s Amelia Drive property into a pepper, chili and herb garden. Morris’ house-cured pancetta, duck breast prosciutto and cured pork cheek (guanciale) with cranberry ginger pear chutney — all made at Annye’s – are the antidote to just about any serious meat craving.
At Bartlett’s Ocean View Farm, chef Neil Patrick Hudson’s new “Cryovac program” – introduced this winter – is the perfect fix for home-cooked dinners on the fly.

“I overheard two ladies speaking about how it was hard to come home from work and make dinner for the family,” Hudson said.
His solution? With a pot of boiling water and a stir, prep time for pre- cooked dishes like braised short ribs, pork shanks, chicken gumbo and sides of vegetables shrinks from four hours to 10 minutes. Hudson hopes to expand his line of vacuum-packed dishes with the availability of Bartlett’s seasonal produce.

The Brotherhood of Thieves has renamed and rebranded the upstairs of that restaurant as Arty’s, an upscale wine bar named after the late Arty Krause, who founded The Brotherhood and was the originator of the curly fries served there. The space with its hand- some cherry bar was extensively refurbished over the winter to reflect the sophisticated mode of the menu. Arty’s will offer lighter contemporary fare with vegetarian options, as well as premium wines, artisan spirits and craft beers. “Arty’s is geared to those who appreciate drinking quality over quantity,” said co-owner E.J. Harvey, who singled out the menu’s basket of bacon-caramel popcorn with peanuts, oysters with crème fraîche and four champagnes available by the glass as must-trys.

Just a few blocks over, Orla and Michael LaScola of American Seasons have partnered with chef Tom Berry, for- merly of the Great Harbor Yacht Club, on The Proprietors Bar & Table at 9 India St., longtime home of DeMarco. The building has been gutted and completely remodeled by Ron Winters’ crew over the winter, and an addition was built on the back of the building. As of press time this was very much still a construction site, with an opening scheduled for June.

The new venture will bring an international spin to island-grown produce and locally-caught fish. The Proprietors’ menu plays on the idea of sailors returning to Nantucket with recipes from faraway lands.

“It is going to be very Nantucket, locally-inspired food,” Orla said. “It will have a Basque-influenced style of cooking with clean flavors. Where Michael is focused on nose-to–tail cooking, Tom is more focused on grains, vegetables and fish.”

Downtown diners seeking family- friendly fare will find a new look at The Rose & Crown on South Water Street. “The idea behind it is to be almost al fresco, similar to what you’d have on Newbury Street in Boston,” said general manager Debba Pitcock. “In nice weather, the doors will be open, the windows will be open, our main doors will be open ... in theory the whole front of the building is wide open.”

The Rose and Crown has revamped its eclectic pub menu as well, with almost all the menu items made from scratch.

“We just put in a new draft system with 12 lines of new beers. We’ll have kind of a beer-garden feel, so we can switch beers out as the season moves along. We’re going to do more live music in the afternoons and evenings in season with all local bands,” Pitcock added.

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