As stores and restaurants shut their doors for the season, we year-round residents are constantly on the search for a spot to grab a coffee, have lunch, and relax. One great spot — and a favorite of mine this season — is Behind the Bookstore on Main Street in Edgartown. Behind the Bookstore created a buzz this summer with its menu offerings, fantastic coffee, and contemplative space.
In the kitchen you’ll find cook Elana Carlson, and Christian Walter, the farmer seduced by all things baking. As I stood in a corner of the tiny kitchen watching Ms. Carlson caramelize carrots in a cast iron pan, I sensed that Mr. Walter was checking on his fruit pies, and I realized how important a good kitchen “dance” is. These two have worked together in the same space for barely a season, yet they waltz around each other with ease.
Mr. Walter brings over an apple hand pie fresh from the oven. Buttery, flaky crust enveloped the perfectly spiced apple butter. I could taste a hint of salt in the dough as well, an ideal balance.
Mr. Walter is one of the founders of Slip Away Farm on Chappy. Last winter, he developed an interest in the baking arts after building a stone-fire oven for pizzas. He fell hard for what happens when flour and butter come together, and thankfully for us, his treats can be found daily at Behind the Bookstore.
His current favorites to bake are croissants, brioche, and pies. You can find brioche French toast on Behind the Bookstore’s Sunday menu, as well as yeast and cake doughnuts. For every other day, the Bookstore’s case is filled with freshly baked pies, a sweet coffeecake, buttery scones, and more.
But it’s not all sweet at this cozy nook in Edgartown. Ms. Carlson, a Boston native, is creating some delicious dishes that are served all day for breakfast and lunch. This is her second season on-Island. Before living among us, she freelanced as an online food writer. Now she spends her days creating the perfect grain bowl or the quintessential breakfast sandwich. The menu includes shakshuka baked eggs & grilled sourdough ($12), oat porridge with stewed apples & hazelnuts ($6), kale salad with roasted squash, almonds, and Parmesan ($10), and more.
In essence, Behind the Bookstore is a coffee shop. But in reality, it’s more than that. Sure, you can get a gorgeous pour-over cup of freshly ground, carefully sourced coffee. But it’s also a space where you can go to relax, catch up on your reading, and bask in the off-season silence. The Bookstore offers indoor seating during the chillier days, as well as outdoor seating for those warmer mornings.
Behind the Bookstore is open daily, 7 am to 3 pm, at 46 Main Street, Edgartown. For more information, call 774-549-9123 or visit btbmv.com.