If Islanders look closely they discover that things relinquished during the winter months may be offset by different kinds of benefits. They are sometimes subtle - like a sense of stillness, or basic and more conspicuous - like bargains in local shops and restaurants. Many Island eateries offer specials in the off-season, and if you know where to go you can dine out on a burger or pizza, lobster or prime rib, for up to half the price of the same offering in summer. Following are some of the current dinner bargains in Oak Bluffs and Edgartown.
Offshore Ale on Kennebec Avenue in Oak Bluffs has been drawing crowds with their long-standing Monday night two-for-one entrees. You might have to wait for a table, but the crowded, everyone-knows-your-name pub atmosphere makes it fun. Offshore offers steak, seafood, burgers and brick oven specialty pizzas - all that and a giant barrel of peanuts to scoop up as you like. Says business manager Colleen McCarthy, "We see a lot of people we don't see out in the summer. It's a good community feel - a lot of table hopping."
Seasons Eatery & Pub
This Circuit Avenue restaurant in Oak Bluffs entices locals with mid-week specials, featuring different menu items discounted every day. They start off the week with half-price entrees on Monday. Tuesday is $5 Burger Night. On Wednesday, all pasta dishes are marked down to $12.95, and on Thursday you can satisfy a sushi craving and get a 25-percent discount. General manager Mike Santoro notes, "It helps people who are debating whether or not to eat out, to get off that fence and get out of the house."
Ocean View Restaurant
Facing Oak Bluffs Harbor on Chapman Avenue, this local gathering spot has reintroduced a popular midweek lobster special ($16.99, but subject to change) that was last offered eight years ago. They've also added a Saturday night prime rib special for $14.99. Both offerings include potato and salad bar. Says bartender Linda Hammond of the dining deals, "People are loving it. The first lobster night we ordered 40 lobsters and they were gone in an hour. Now we order enough lobsters and keep making more beef so that we don't run out."
Sharky's Cantinas, on Circuit Avenue in Oak Bluffs and Upper Main Street in Edgartown, have become off-season hot spots for locals, thanks to their reasonably priced food, extensive drink menus, and fun atmosphere. Owner J.B. Blau is appreciative of the local loyalty that has kept the restaurants and his staff busy year-round. He encourages people to join the Sharky's VIP program, only available for sign-up from November to May 1. With a Sharky's card, one can take advantage of year-round discounts, bonus points good towards future purchases, and notification of VIP-only specials. Mr. Blau conceived very creative marketing efforts including text messaging and email blasts announcing special offers, which members seem to enjoy. Says Mr. Blau of one of his motivations for offering the sporadic deals, "There's nothing worse for a restaurant than not turning product. We serve everything fresh."