The Campground Café, located inside the Methodist Church House at the Oak Bluffs Campground, is a place that offers not only a remarkably welcoming atmosphere but an enticing menu as well. The café began dishing out food about three years ago, following a kitchen renovation, but the church has been offering meals and a setting for community gatherings to all since the 1800s. Pastor Richard Rego stresses the importance of the church’s café, and says, “There is no other greater way to get all members of a community involved and feeling a part of it than to break bread together, sharing meals and ideas across the table. Our hope is to continue to engage the community and to enhance the visitor’s experience of the Island.”
Rose Kaszuba, a Chicago native and chef for 25 years, first began attending the café’s community dinners last September in an effort to socialize and meet new people. Soon after, Ms. Kaszuba was drawn to contribute to the café’s expanding program, due in large part to her propensity to be of service to the community and her deep respect for Pastor Rego. She recognized an opportunity for a venue that could introduce locals to the various cuisines available on the Island, while providing an outlet for Islanders to come together. Fast-forward seven months, and Ms. Kaszuba is now the executive chef at the Campground Café and the culinary mastermind behind the cafe’s weekly offerings of international fare that they call World Cuisine Saturdays.
The World Cuisine Saturdays series began its season on Saturday, April 4, and will offer a range of world cuisine every Saturday until October, each week featuring a guest chef that specializes in preparing the food of choice. To date, the café has hosted three different cuisine nights: Polish, Italian, and Brazilian.
This past Saturday, the guest chef was Jucimar Perim, a Brazilian native, who is occasionally in the kitchen at the Brazilian restaurant Sophia’s in Edgartown. Ms. Perim decided on dishes that would accentuate the spiciness and the eclectic taste that is so distinct in Brazilian cooking. Her menu included a choice of chicken stroganoff and/or spiced pork with orange glaze, salad, the widely favorite Brazilian cheese bread, and flan for dessert.
Approximately 50 people turned out to sample Ms. Perim’s plates, many perhaps trying Brazilian food for the first time, just as Ms. Kaszuba had intended. While Brazilian music played throughout the café, second servings and laughter were abundant.
The next World Cuisine event will be this upcoming Saturday, April 25, at 6 pm, and admission is $15. The guest chef will be Brenda Piland, director of Clothes to Go (a free Island program providing clothes to those in need), and she will be offering a taste of the American South, complete with fried chicken and waffles, peach compote, collard greens, potato and beet salad, and butter cake for dessert. Iced coffee, the not-to-be-missed lemonade, and iced tea, all freshly brewed by Ms. Kaszuba, will be served as refreshments.
The café also offers a crab cake dinner every Wednesday until October, where guests can enjoy two “family recipe” crab cakes, a vegetable, herb focaccia, citrus coleslaw, tangy tartar sauce, and a drink for $17.95, available for eat-in or takeout. Additionally, the café will host a Mother’s Day Tea on Sunday, May 3 at 2 pm, a week before Mother’s Day to accommodate the fact that many people eat out on Mother’s Day for brunch or dinner. The special occasion will feature the Church’s finest golden vintage china, the men serving will be outfitted in suits and the women will be wearing fancy hats. The guests will be serenaded by Pastor Rego, who will be singing Frank Sinatra, accompanied by a violinist, pianist, and trumpeter.
The café offers a 10% senior discount for those 65 and older, a 10% discount to Island Club Card holders, and their own loyalty card (purchase 5 full price suppers and the sixth supper is half price). Volunteer and receive a $15 gift card as well as enjoying the meal free of charge. Discounts cannot be combined.
For more information on continuous programs and upcoming events, follow the Campground Café’on Facebook or give the café a call at 508-693-1608.