After 15 years of providing New American cuisine to the people on Martha’s Vineyard, Slice of Life, an Oak Bluffs staple, is selling its business.
Owners Pete and Jen Smyth decided to move out of the space after their lease ends in January. After speaking with the building owners, who wanted to sell the building, the Smyths decided to sell their business with it.
Pete has been the longtime chef while Jen ran the front of house and baked goods. Smyth met Jen, who grew up on the Island, while working together at a restaurant near Boston. The two moved to the Island because two friends were thinking of opening a restaurant here. That plan fell through, but the Smyths decided to move here anyway.
Smyth said he loves crafting classic dishes, but always tries to put a new spin on it: “I try to make food that’s approachable for everybody, but food that’s not just the same thing.”
Smyth knew he wanted to be in the food industry when he was 15. He went to culinary school at 18, and has been making a living by making meals ever since. He says, “I’ve always wanted to own my own restaurant ever since I was a kid. I love this industry, I still love this industry. To me it’s just fun, it’s not the same thing everyday. Everyday’s a little different, you can create it any way you want.”
While he has fond memories of celebrities like Michael J. Fox, Meg Ryan, and Bill Murray complimenting his cooking, the best moments have been on Thanksgiving.
For the past several years, Smyth invites close to 30 family members, friends, staff, and other chefs to eat Thanksgiving dinner at the restaurant. Last week’s Thanksgiving was Smyth’s 10th at Slice of Life.
“It’s a different kind of cooking,” Smyth said. “I think it’s a lot more fun. It’s a good day.”
The hardest part about selling the restaurant is leaving the customers that have kept Slice of Life — and Smyth — going. “I know that they’re going to be here and now they’re not going to have it, and that’s the sad part,” Smyth said.
While the the Smyths are moving on to the next venture, the restaurant may continue in some form in the future. In a statement posted on their website, the Smyths have said, “We will be moving on to new adventures soon.” Without getting into specifics, Smyth said it will most certainly involve food.
There is no set date on when Slice of Life is closing, but Smyth says people should follow the restaurant’s website and social media for updates.
“I just wanted to thank everyone more or less for the loyal patronage,” he said. “Thanks for making it a great 15 years. I’m proud of my staff. I thank my wife and family for standing behind me.”