Sharky’s takes bigger bite of Martha’s Vineyard dining

Sharky's expands its Oak Bluffs restaurant and opens a new venture, the Martha's Vineyard Chowder Company. — Photo by Ralph Stewart

Sharky’s Cantina is expanding its Oak Bluffs operations. The new venture, Martha’s Vineyard Chowder Company, is scheduled to open this week, serving fish, shellfish, and featuring the chowder that won first place in Christmas in the Edgartown chowder contest last December, according to owner J.B. Blau.

Mr. Blau said he received about 500 applications for restaurant staff, and has hired 20 people.

“It’s a pretty local crew,” Mr. Blau said. “Most people have grown up here.

The new restaurant is at 9 Oak Bluffs Avenue, in the space where the Ocean Club was. The location is on the ground floor of a building that has been at the center of the Martha’s Vineyard Commission’s regulatory process. Building owners Mark and Mike Wallace have applied for permission to open a function hall and event venue in the second-floor space that most recently housed an arcade.

At the same time, Mr. Blau plans to expand his signature Sharky’s Circuit Avenue restaurant. The new dining area is across the “arcade” entrance from Circuit Avenue to the Martha’s Vineyard Campmeeting Association campground, in the building where the restaurant’s retail merchandise store was once located. The patio dining area is enclosed by walls on all four sides.

Mr. Blau said Sharky’s will hire six more staffers when it adds the new courtyard dining area and private dining room late in July. The expansion will add about 25 seats to the restaurant.

“For seven years we’ve been strapped for room in the summer, “Mr. Blau said. “We turn away maybe 15-30 tables a night. We’ll be able to accommodate groups of 8 to 10.”