Humphrey’s: a Martha’s Vineyard sandwich landmark


Argie and Bernice Humphreys started baking their famous bread on the Vineyard in the late 1930s. For more than 50 years, the Humphreys family worked out of the roadside bakery next to their home in West Tisbury. Today, the Humphreys’ granddaughter, Donna Diaz, and her husband Mike, run the show out of a small shop in Vineyard Haven and a seasonal location in Edgartown.

Originally, Humphrey’s was strictly a bakery, offering bread, pastries, pies, cookies, and other baked goods. Ms. Diaz remembers the first day sandwiches were added to the menu several years ago. “I made 30 sandwiches and afterward I was like, ‘oh my God, what are we doing?'” By the next summer they were churning out a whopping 700 sandwiches on their busiest day. It’s safe to say they’ve got it down now.

When the family homestead in West Tisbury was sold in 2007, Ms. Diaz admits it was “a shock.” After a hasty move, Humphrey’s was again open for business in the Woodland Marketplace in Tisbury.

The sandwich bread is still made in-house daily. And now that they are off and running, the Diaz’s hope to sell by the loaf again soon.

The sandwiches are, by most standards, enormous, some have a story behind them and for the most part they are rather simple, which Ms. Diaz believes adds to their allure.

What is now the Tree Hugger was once what a former vegetarian employee made herself for lunch. After trying it, Mr. and Mrs. Diaz decided it had to be on their menu. With your choice of bread, (French, oatmeal, sourdough, wheat, Bulkie roll, or a wrap), the Tree Hugger is packed with lettuce, tomatoes, onion, cucumber, pickles, sprouts, honey mustard, and choice of cheese.

A Cuban sandwich is what Mr. Diaz missed most about Tampa, Fla., when he moved to the Vineyard. So he found a way to bring his favorite sandwich here. On a trip to Tampa he apprenticed in a Cuban bakery to learn how to bake their traditional white bread, a necessity in making an authentic Cuban sandwich. This Latin American favorite is irresistible with pork, salami, ham, Swiss cheese, mustard, mayo, and pickles, pressed on the grill and served hot.

The Turkey Gobbler, also known as Thanksgiving in a sandwich, is made with turkey breast roasted in-house, cranberry sauce, and stuffing made with leftover sandwich bread and juices from that aforementioned home-cooked turkey.

The newest sandwich addition, The Californian, comes with turkey, avocado, tomato, chipotle dressing and provolone cheese.

There is always a soup of the day bubbling hot for you. Tuna, chicken, and egg salad are made fresh daily. There are plenty of options to build-your-own sandwiches with fixings such as lettuce, roasted peppers, tomatoes, onions, pickles, sprouts, mayo, mustard, honey mustard, bacon, avocado, oil & vinegar, hot peppers, and choice of cheese.

For the smaller appetites that might be overwhelmed by the regular serving, Humphrey’s offers “petite sandwiches”: your choice of chicken salad, tuna salad, ham, or turkey served with lettuce and tomato on French bread. During the quieter winter months look for specials such as meatloaf and roast beef melts.

For the early bird, Humphrey’s has bagels with cream cheese, a yogurt parfait served with fruit and granola, or perhaps a cappuccino, mango, strawberry, or banana smoothie. Breakfast sandwiches are also available. Fried eggs are served with your choice of bacon, sausage, or ham on a bagel, croissant, English muffin, or biscuit

Traces of Humphrey’s origins as a bakery live on with homemade cookies (the oatmeal-raisin are otherworldly), cinnamon buns, Danishes, donuts, etc.

Humphrey’s in Vineyard Haven is open seven days a week for breakfast and lunch from 5 am to 5 pm. Their Edgartown location is seasonal, open from mid-April to mid-October.