Good Taste: New name, new home for Menemsha Cafe: Now Saltwater Cafe

Good Taste: New name, new home for Menemsha Cafe: Now Saltwater Cafe

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Josh Aronie recently opened Saltwater Cafe, in Saltwater Restaurant, with his wife Angela. — Photo by Ralph Stewart

After much anticipation and no shortage of rumors, Josh and Angela Aronie have finally reopened the Menemsha Café, now called the Saltwater Cafe, located in Saltwater Restaurant in the Tisbury Marketplace.

The Menemsha Café closed in mid-December after three years, when the Aronies couldn’t reach a reasonable rental agreement with the owner of the building. “We miss Menemsha,” said Mr. Aronie. “But we had to leave, for financial and emotional reasons.”

On the day it closed Joe DaSilva, chef of Saltwater Restaurant and former chef at Lambert’s Cove Inn, visited the café and asked Mr. Aronie to consider moving his business to Saltwater. Though they were keeping their options open, the Aronie’s were pretty sure they had found a new home and restaurant in Vermont.

In March, Mr. Aronie got a call from Daniele Dominick, owner of the Scottish Bakehouse in Vineyard Haven. “The space came to my attention over the winter, and I quickly realized what a great idea it was and thought it could be perfect for Josh,” said Ms. Dominick. And she was right. “How could you not want to be here if you can be?” Mr. Aronie asked, indicating the dining room’s sweeping views of the lagoon.

Saltwater’s roomy dining room is in sharp contrast to Menemsha’s cozy one-room setup, nevertheless, Mr. Aronie and his crew looked right at home behind the bakery case full of familiar goodies, such as lemon scones and chocolate chip cookies. They have installed an ordering counter and small kitchen in the café area, but they also have access to the restaurant’s larger kitchen, which will enable them to expand their baked goods. To help with that, the Aronies have hired Sally Roach, who is currently executive chef at The Stanley Hotel in Colorado (movie buffs, it’s where “The Shining” was filmed). Ms. Roach arrives next week when she will incorporate her own recipes with Mrs. Aronie’s.

As for sharing the larger kitchen with Mr. DaSilva, Mr. Aronie expects to figure it out as they go. “We’re going to evolve together,” he said. This is not the first time the two will work in a restaurant together. Mr. Aronie was the general manager at Zephrus Restaurant while Mr. DaSilva was the head chef. The partnership appeared to be off to a good start; on opening day on Wednesday, May 9, they could be seen chatting and joking about borrowed onions.

Fans of Menemsha Café will be pleased to see familiar things on the menu such as the breakfast burrito ($7), falafel wrap ($10.95), and tarragon chicken salad ($9.95). One enthusiastic customer was delighted to find the Menemsha Cheesesteak ($12.95) still on the menu.

Mr. Aronie has expanded with new goodies as well, such as Huevos Rancheros: two local eggs with pico de gallo, poblano-tomatillo sauce, pinto beans, and tortillas ($9.75); and the Farmer’s Plate with three local eggs, local veggies, local cheese, local meat, and homemade Hollandaise ($13.95). New lunch items include a hot chicken sandwich ($9.95) and a fish sandwich made with local fish (when available), spicy tartar sauce, arugula, pickled onions, and tomato on a bulkie roll ($10.95).

Diners order at the café counter and can take their food to go or stay and eat in the gorgeous dining room. Saltwater Café will be open year round. Summer hours are 6:30 am to 2 pm daily. Check them out on Facebook or call 508-684-8365. Prices are subject to change.

Noteworthy

Have you heard of Pain D’Avignon’s bread of the month club? They will ship freshly baked European style breads to doorsteps nationwide. Choose from a three-month ($150), six-month ($275), and 12-month option ($500) then sit back and wait for your caramelized onion and rosemary focaccia buns, chewy boiled bagels, and cranberry-pecan rustic loafs. Visit the Cape Cod bakery online at paindavignon.com or call 508-778-8588 for details.