Good food, not hard alcohol, attracts customers


To the Editor:

I am deeply concerned about the possibility of having hard alcohol in the restaurants, inns, and hotels in Tisbury. I work with young people, and have six grandchildren who all live on Martha’s Vineyard, and I have a passionate, heartfelt interest in their well-being.

Is serving hard alcohol in restaurants going to magically increase the economic well-being of the town of Tisbury?

  • The business area of Vineyard Haven stretches from Crane Appliance to the west to Wind’s Up to the east. So if you have numerous rental spaces, you are bound to have some empty storefronts.
  • Hard alcohol is going to be served with a meal. How many drinks are customers allowed to have? At this time there are no regulations in place!
  • If the vote passes to sell hard alcohol in the restaurants, they will have to hire a mixologist (bartender), and provide a place to store all the bottles so they will be easily accessed, and a mixing area (bar). After they have invested in this expensive process, it seems likely that it will only be a matter of time before they will be back pressuring the town to vote for bars and package stores.
  • Do you think the restaurant owners have future plans, and this is just one step in the process of getting to bars and package stores? “The slippery-slope folks believe that will be the end of town … just hoping to offer cocktails right now!”
  • Seven years ago, when the issue of selling alcohol in restaurants in Tisbury came up, the proponents begged to have beer and wine, and swore that they would not come back later and ask for hard alcohol. The formula for success in the restaurant business is good food at fair prices. Now five years have gone by, and some of the same people are back again, asking for hard alcohol.

What is the definition of the economic well-being of a town? When we are promoting and developing our town, it is in the best interests of the residents and business community to focus on core strengths and long-term sustainability.

What are Tisbury’s core strengths? Tisbury is the main harbor and gateway to our Island. We will soon have the Martha’s Vineyard Museum and its maritime-heritage exhibits. Tisbury has many attractions: the harbor, the Shenandoah and Alabama programs for young people, visiting boats, the sailing and windsurfing programs, the Vineyard Playhouse, art galleries, the amphitheater, historic churches, Tashmoo Pond, the overlook and the Waterworks, the designated historic district of Williams Street, Memorial Park, Owen Park, and the Bandstand, a Cultural District walkway around the town and harbor, the Lagoon, fishing and shellfishing, the Shellfish Hatchery, traditional wooden boatbuilding, artisans in stained glass, wrought iron, bronze and copper, and lots more.

I feel that we, the residents of Tisbury, need to emphasize real solutions for our town if we want to have a vibrant economy. We must continue building on the profound, authentic, and long-lasting vision of our unique culture that will further enrich the sustainable values of our beautiful town.

Pamela Benjamin
Vineyard Haven