Discovering lunchtime at Little House Cafe

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Curry chicken salad atop the French lentil salad. — Photo by Marnely Murray

After five years of living on Island and writing about food, there are few restaurants on this little patch of land that I haven’t been to. Still, some I have not found the time to visit. When a new friend of mine raved about the Little House Cafe in Vineyard Haven, I knew I had to check it out. She wasn’t the first to mention this restaurant, with both real life and online friends urging me to discover their offerings. Finally, I did!

As you walk into Little House Cafe, you instantly feel at home — and that’s not a play on words. As the name suggests, this restaurant is quite small, but cozy. Settling into a table next to the roaring fire, I instantly knew I had found a new favorite. Little House has been serving high quality food since July 2010. That was my first summer on the Island, so now I feel even more connected to this quaint spot.

Little House Cafe is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, as well as a Taco Thursday from 4:30 to 8:30 pm. I had a chance to taste their lunch menu specialties as well as some homemade desserts. Since everyone raves about the tacos, that was my first order of business. Crispy Fish Tacos served on corn tortillas with salsa fresca, creamy avocado, and crunchy shaved cabbage, what more can you ask for? You are served two large tacos, stuffed to the high heavens with fillings. A squeeze of fresh lime brightens the entire meal.

Another house favorite, and my friend’s usual lunch at Little House Cafe, is the combo of the French Lentil Salad topped with Curried Mango Chicken Salad. They are two different salads on the menu, but by popular demand have become one as a combo offering. I had a bite of this, and if you think the combination sounds weird, let me tell you it’s far from weird! It’s quite delicious actually — the earthy lentils are tossed with raisins, red pepper, carrots, and walnuts, while the chicken salad is bursting with sweet red grapes and pecans. To round out the meal, fresh feta cheese croutons are served alongside, and everything comes together with a maple balsamic vinaigrette that’s good enough to drink by the liter.

End your meal with one of their housemade desserts, like the ginger cake ($9.50) with fresh fruit and whipped cream, served drizzled in a sweet berry sauce. When I ordered this, our waitress mentioned they might still be in the oven, but to my surprise they had just come out, so I was served a freshly baked, warm ginger cake. Spiced heaven. Another must-not-miss dessert is their strawberry shortcake ($9.50), one that if you have during the cold winter months will make you relive those warm summer days. Unlike other shortcakes, this one is served on a warm almond biscuit, adding a hint of nuttiness to the dessert.

Little House Cafe is also known for their offerings for vegetarian, dairy free, and gluten-free diets — make sure to ask about them. It’s also the perfect spot to grab a coffee and freshly baked scone in the morning before work — they open at 7:30 am every day except Sundays.

It’s lovely to discover new-to-me restaurants, and Little House Cafe will soon become a favorite. Soon, I’ll be checking out their dinner menu as well as that Taco Thursday night.

For more information or reservations, visit littlehousemv.com or call 508-687-9794.