Farm Neck Café: Photo by Susan Safford
A view from the bar at the Farm Neck Café at The Farm Neck Golf Club in Oak Bluffs. Photos by Susan Safford

The Farm Neck Café, country club dining

By Tony Omer - June 22, 2006

The Farm Neck Café is just off the first tee at the Farm Neck Golf Club. It is far from being a diamond in the rough, even though it is a diamond in the rough. It is one of those delightful places that you want to keep to yourself. A place that you really don't want to talk about because you think it might lose its charm if too many people know about it.

It's perhaps a little out of the way, off County Road in Oak Bluffs just beyond the Tradewinds airfield/dog park, but it has plenty of parking.

It doesn't have a water view, but there aren't many places with such a beautiful view and plenty of windows to show it off. We had dinner at sunset, with the yellow finches still at the bird feeder just outside and only a memory of golfers on the tee, a full moon rising over the distant driving range and the darkening greens of grass and trees, the sky an iridescent blue with a few early celestial lights shining. We had reservations and no wait.

Swordfish from Farm Neck Café: Photo by Susan Safford
A serving of fresh Atlantic swordfish topped with sweet potato slivers, one of many delicious menu offerings.

The interior has a simple elegance. Above the bar, mounted on the wall is an old wooden framed kayak and what looks like a handmade orchard ladder. Perhaps the ladder is used to retrieve the kayak? There must be a story there, but other than a few potted plants there is little other ornamentation. The tables for the most part are spacious, and there is plenty of room between them. Nothing about the multiple dining areas feels rushed or cramped. We felt like we had reached a safe haven after a long day.

The wait staff is gracious and efficient. It is a credit to the management style that many of the staff have been there for years and that the new ones were indistinguishable from the old. Islander Mia Rebello is the dining room manager and function coordinator. Ms. Rebello has been with the restaurant since 1993. She said that she "couldn't ask for a better staff."

Food and beverage manager Larry Kiely broke away from his computer long enough to talk with pride about the restaurant. He explained that they are definitely open to the public and that the clientele is about 50 percent club members and 50 percent non-members.

Mr. Kiely introduced me to the chef Drew Egy. Chef Egy said that he focuses on keeping the menu "user friendly, and approachable." He said he likes to keep his dishes "clean, and simple, not overloaded with spices." It is a winning tactic he has learned over many years in the food business. Michael Thomas is the day chef and kitchen manager. He oversees the breakfast and lunch shifts.

Dinner is served from 6 to 9 pm every day but Monday. During most of the season there is music provided by John Alaimo and Michael Tinus on Sundays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays. The menu is has a broad range of items including wonderful seafood appetizers. Each is prepared with sauces and or compliments of other tasty items. The bread was served with a delicious olive topinod. Farm Neck is noted for its salads and they are sizable. There are pastas and casual fare including burgers, chicken, ribs, and fish and chips. The Café dinners are priced from $21.95 to $31.95 and include baked cod and crab Newberg, salmon, lobster, swordfish, duck, lamb, steaks and prime rib, which had a delicious peppery rub. The dinners are served with a house salad, fresh vegetable, and potato or rice. The dessert list is small but sweet. There is a moderately priced wine list and beer is served.

The Farm Neck Café is particularly well known for its breakfasts and lunches. Breakfast is served Monday through Saturday, 8 to 10:30 am. Prices range from cold cereals at $2.25, a dollar more for fresh fruit, to $8.95 for a roasted garlic and fresh mozzarella omelet - with plenty to choose from in-between. The lunch menu is big, with 10 starters, among them, chowder, chili, fruit, and crab cakes. There are eight salads, a grill section, wraps, and sandwiches. No item is more than $12.95. Sunday brunch is a popular change of pace from 7 am to 3 pm. The brunch menu is a combination of items from the breakfast and lunch menus and is priced from $6.25 to $12.95.

The Farm Neck Café is open to the public seven days a week for breakfast and lunch. Dinner is served from 6 to 9 pm every day but Monday. Sunday Brunch is served from 7 am to 3 pm offering both breakfast and lunch items. The restaurant encourages parties and special events and there is plenty of parking.