Edibles

The wicked bean burrito should should not be taken lightly. It is "wicked good." Photos by Susan Safford

Newes from America, it's all good

By Tony Omer - May 18, 2006

"Good Newes from New England," published by Edward Winslow, a passenger on the Mayflower, in London in 1624, was a report covering events in the new world. All the news at that time was not good in spite of the name. Englishman John Underhill, a military commander in the American colonies wrote an account of the war with the Pequots in 1638 called "Newes from America," certainly not good news for the Pequots. Today's Newes from America is an intimate, colonial style pub beneath the Kelley House Inn in Edgartown and the news from there is all good, especially on those still-cool spring days when setting near the fireplace with a plate full of good grub can turn your day around. It has a relaxed, low key, fun atmosphere, and a terrific staff. One is as likely to run into an old friend as to oversee a friendly joust between sailors just off their sloops, a small business lunch, or a family out for a good time, kids and all. There is usually a game on one of the three or four televisions, but it is not intrusive.

Edgartown's Newes from America has two comfortable bars open in the summer, one in the off-season.

A 1992 renovation project at the Kelley House's restaurant, Zachariah's, by the owners, The First Winthrop Corp., was to have created a restaurant similar to their Nantucket eatery, The Brotherhood of Thieves. But when the building's original 1742 brick walls and log ceiling joists were uncovered the plan was scrapped and the early cellar-like style was retained. A second bar was added in 1998. Doug Korell, who along with his wife, Jackie, runs his own popular catering business, Lobster Tales, and the Katama General Store, has worked behind the bar since 1992. He said that the Newes is a great place to work. He likes to hear customers laughing and looks forward to the many repeat customers who return at predictable times every year. He said that the staff, both up front and in the kitchen, are a good team that has been together for many years and fun to work with. Their professionalism and love of their work makes the Newes what it is, according to Mr. Korell.

The Newes is open year-round with a varied menu of solid choices at year-round good prices. Their Headlines range from a wonderful Onion Soup with four cheeses and garlic toast, and New England clam chowder to their Caesar salad to which you may add grilled chicken or salmon, to their Hot Newes Wings and my favorite, the Bag of Onions, crispy beer batter fried onions. Their entrées, the Hot Off the Press section of the menu, include BBQ Ribs, French dip shaved roast beef, a wonderful fish and chips, the Big Burger, one of the best hamburgers on the Island, Grilled Eggplant sandwich, a wonderful Reuben, and their unparalleled Wicked Bean Burrito, which in my experience few finish. It is filled, or rather stuffed, with refried beans, salsa, lettuce, black olives, sour cream, and either beef or chicken.

Take your wooden nickels if you're offered.

Some patrons come just for the wide selection of beer on tap, mostly American. Their house beer is Light Newes. There are porters, ales, hefeweizen, stouts, and lagers. Their rack of beers is an easy way to try out a variety if you have trouble deciding which to order. There are also helpful suggestions on the menu about what the staff likes to drink with each food item. Beer drinkers receive a wooden nickel for each short draught and two nickels for every tall beer, a popular souvenir. You can redeem 100 nickels and get a mug, 350 gets you a Newes hat and T-shirt, 500 an inscribed glass which is yours to use at the pub, 1,000 a brass plaque on your bar stool. Groups often pool their nickels. Pub manager Joanne Hoffey said that the Newes goes through a remarkable 50,000 wooden nickels a year.

There is often a wait to get a table in the summer, but there's still time to try out the Newes before the rush. Chances are good that after you've tried the fare there you won't mind a short wait when you go back this summer.