Tisbury’s business landscape is set to blossom with new ventures

The ownership of Morrice Florist is one of the many changes in Tisbury. From left: Jes Brown, Kim O' Callaghan, and Emily Coulter. — Photo by Ralph Stewart

Several Tisbury business owners are taking spring’s theme of renewal to heart, with plans to launch new or revamped enterprises in old familiar places. These include a new coffee shop featuring crepes and a take-out restaurant offering barbecue in the future. In conversations this week, business owners described their plans to The Times.

Tisbury Fella’s

At 20 Union Street, the former Mad Martha’s Homemade Ice Cream shop will undergo a transformation into a take-out eatery, operated by Fella and Jane Cecilio, owners of a well-known, longtime Island catering company and Fella’s Take Out in West Tisbury.

Although they have already begun work in the building, eager would-be patrons will have to wait a while, Ms. Cecilio told The Times in a phone call Tuesday.

We had hoped to be in by the end of June, but realized it won’t be feasible, so we won’t take over the lease until January,” she said. “We’ll continue to work on the building and plan to open the doors next March or April.”

Ms. Cecilio said the new Fella’s in Vineyard Haven will be open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The menu will include breakfast sandwiches, muffins, sandwiches, soups, and salads, and burgers. Although primarily a take-out operation, there will be dining space for about 18 people.

We’re not going to do pizza, because there is plenty of that in Vineyard Haven,” Ms. Cecilio said, “but we hope to do barbeque dinners, at least in July and August, with chicken, ribs, cornbread, and coleslaw.”

As a compromise for those who may miss their old ice cream spot, she added, We’re going to devote a corner of the store to gelato.” The traditional Italian style ice cream is made with milk, cream, various sugars, and flavorings.

Ms. Cecilio said she and her husband are looking forward to their new venture. “We’re disappointed about missing the summer, but it’s better to start off right,” she said.

Nat’s Nook

After almost four years, the smell of coffee will be wafting once again from the space that housed the former coffeehouse, Che’s Lounge. Natalie Grewal plans to open Nat’s Nook, an eatery with a focus on coffee and crepes, on June 9, in the cul-de-sac off Main Street across the street from Bunch of Grapes.

The menu will include sweet crepes, with fillings such as local jams and fresh fruits, and savory crepes, with fillings such as chicken, turkey, ham, and vegetable varieties. There will also be crepe and ciabatta sandwich options, bagels, baked goods, muffins and cookies, Ms. Grewal said.

As for coffee, Ms. Grewal said she is “dabbling” with choices from Chilmark Coffee Company and Rao’s Coffee Roasting Company in Amherst, and Kicking Horse Coffee, a company on the west coast of Canada not far from where she grew up. Ice tea and chai also will be served. Patrons can choose to sip and sit indoors or at outside tables, as well.

Ms. Grewal said her business partner, Andy Kahl of Chilmark, who does custom carpeting and property caretaking, has been a huge help in the construction work to open the shop.

Morrice Florist

Morrice Florist, the longtime family-owned floral business at 149 State Road, recently changed hands. Emily Coulter, an Island wedding planner for 10 years, bought the business on March 31 from Kim O’Callaghan, whose grandfather, James F. Morrice, started the shop in 1940. Ms. O’Callaghan still owns the building and will continue working there through June. Both spoke with The Times about the new arrangement, in a phone call on Monday.

“Kim is staying on for three months to help get me through Easter, Mother’s Day, and June weddings,” Ms. Coulter said.

She has the artistic part down, and when it comes to learning about the business side, I’m the queen of frugal,” Ms. O’Callaghan added. She said although she is not sure about what she will do next, she recently earned a master’s degree in education after attending classes off-Island every other weekend for two years.

Ms. Coulter, who is now working as a full-time floral arranger, said she learned the art on her own. She plans to be the shop’s in-house wedding floral adviser/designer, and of course maintain its regular business of selling flowers, with more inventory bought from local growers. Ms. Coulter said she will also try to cater to landscapers’ needs and offer them a discount.

As a new addition, Ms. Coulter said she is planting flowers in back of the shop where Mr. Morrice’s old greenhouse used to be. “We want to create a garden where customers could bring their lunch, to sit on benches outside to enjoy,” she explained.

Café Moxie update

For those wondering about Café Moxie at 48 Main Street, which closed over the winter, Main Street business people are buzzing with news that Mad Martha’s, which has left its spot on Union Street, is planning a move into the vacant restaurant space.

Owner Mike Ryan said in a phone conversation this week that a sale is pending, but he would not confirm the buyer or talk about Mad Martha’s. Mr. Ryan put the restaurant on the market for $1.25 million on February 1. He said at the time his decision was prompted by a job opportunity in California.

We’re getting closer, but the deal is not finalized,” Mr. Ryan told The Times in phone call Monday. “I don’t want to say anything until everything is signed, but it’s very promising, and there will be more news later.”

Café Moxie was rebuilt after a fire destroyed it on July 4, 2008. It reopened in October 2012.

Other news on the street

Currently there is no plan for use of the Capawock Theatre, which has been closed all winter, nor are there events scheduled this summer, according to Benjamin “Buzzy” Hall, whose family owns the theater. He told The Times in a phone call yesterday that work is being done on the inside, and to “stay tuned for more developments.”

In February, Tisbury selectmen approved a public amusement license for the Capawock, so it could be used as a venue for other types of performances in addition to movies.