Copper Wok restaurant almost set to sizzle

Photo by Janet Hefler

Work is sizzling along on the new Copper Wok restaurant on Vineyard Haven’s Main Street, owner JB Blau told The Times this week.

“Look for it to open in a month with ‘ber’ in it,” he said with a grin in an interview on site on Monday afternoon. “We’re shooting for sometime in late October to early November.”

Although Mr. Blau doesn’t have an opening date set yet, he said the project is down to the final details. Construction is done in the restaurant’s interior and it is currently being sanded, stained, and painted.

“The whole project was custom designed and built, so it took a lot longer than we thought,” he explained. “It was a big undertaking, but I wanted to do it right from the start.”

Mr. Blau is also the owner of the popular Sharky’s Mexican restaurants in Oak Bluffs and Edgartown and Martha’s Vineyard Chowder Company in Oak Bluffs.

“I learned my lesson at Sharky’s in Oak Bluffs,” he said. “It took eight years to get everything right, because we did the work in stages.”

Last February Mr. Blau announced he made an agreement with Mansion House owners Susan and Sherm Goldstein to operate a restaurant in the space formerly occupied by Zephrus restaurant. He said the new restaurant, Copper Wok, would feature mostly traditional Chinese food, as well as familiar dishes from Thailand, Viet Nam, and Japan, complemented by an extensive selection of beer, wine, and saki.

Mr. Blau originally planned to open the restaurant in April. “It became a project of love,” he said of the several month delay, adding with a laugh, “A little too much of it.”

“We’ve redone every surface, the floors, walls, and ceiling,” he told The Times, as the sound of sanders whined in the background. “There were no problems: the town has been great, the inspectors great, but the scope of the project went up six or seven times since March.”

Although the restaurant’s delayed opening meant missing the busy summer tourist season, Mr. Blau said that was not important to him. He sees the Copper Wok as more of a year-round restaurant that will offer Islanders the opportunity to enjoy Chinese and other Asian food locally.

For the many Islanders who have been asking about and anxiously awaiting the restaurant’s opening, Mr. Blau promises the Copper Wok will be open and ready to offer them alternatives to traditional Thanksgiving and Christmas fare.

Chef Alex Nagi, a business partner with Mr. Blau in the Martha’s Vineyard Chowder Company, is also a partner in Copper Wok, where he will be the head chef.