Vineyard Haven becomes burger heaven

Waterside Market’s 2-for-1 burger night will keep you coming back.

Didn't have enough short rib in the poutine? The Mr. Bowen combines short rib with a burger, but adds balsamic onion jam and baby spinach. You'll need that fork. — George Brennan

You had me at burger night. But when you said 2-for-1 burger night, I got a tingle down my spine and my heart skipped a beat.

After several aborted attempts to get to Waterside Market in Vineyard Haven for this Friday night special, my wife and I finally made it there last Friday. What a gift to the year-round Island community to have the option of either casual dining of Waterside on the first floor or the elegant fine dining of La Soffitta on the second floor on a Friday night.

On this particular Friday night, perhaps one of the most bitterly cold of the winter thus far, we might have been better off with the coziness upstairs, but we were on a mission to try out this extraordinary BOGO deal at Waterside.

First of all, the menu is staggering. There are 15 — yes, 15 — burgers to choose from on the menu. We should have done some research before we went. Instead, we took our time, sipped some red wine, and ordered appetizers.

We started with a Wedge Salad ($15), which is that classic blend of iceberg lettuce cut into quarters, drizzled with blue cheese dressing with crumbled crisp bacon, tomatoes, and red onion. It was delicious with the exception of the bacon, which was a tad too crisp, so I avoided it. (I avoided bacon. There’s a sentence I never thought I’d write.)

We also warmed up our palettes with Short Rib Poutine ($15) as we continued to peruse the burger options. The poutine could have been a meal all in itself. I was a little worried about ordering this because of an experience in another restaurant that shall not be named. I’m happy to report that Waterside’s poutine has erased that memory. I couldn’t stop eating it.

By now we had ordered our burgers, and I knew I needed to save room, but the poutine was so mouthwatering I kept eating. The short rib was tender and flavorful, the french fries were crisp on the outside and tender on the inside, and the gravy was a perfectly seasoned accompaniment. It was a symphony of flavors, and renewed my feeling that poutine is the best thing to come out of Canada since hockey and Dan Aykroyd.

The burgers at Waterside are made using locally sourced organic, grass-fed Grey Barn Farm beef. With so many on the menu, we had a difficult time deciding. Truth be told, we turned to Mike, our server for the evening, for help. Mike said his favorite is the Mr. Bowen ($22), which is the signature burger, topped with melted brie, balsamic onion jam, baby spinach, shredded short rib, and gravy. (Hmmm, I’ve already used that symphony of flavors line.) Let’s just say these flavors blended together as well as Brady and Edelman on the football field, each one complementing the other. The burger was so big, my wife had to use a knife and fork to eat it.

We really didn’t need more fries after the poutine, but my wife ordered the truffle fries (additional $2), and they were spectacular — crisp and garlic-y on the outside, there was no need for any condiments to enjoy them.

I went with the Brickhouse ($21), which is again made with their signature beef topped with housemade whiskey BBQ pulled pork, coleslaw, fried onion strings, and pickle chips. Somehow I was able to open wide enough to bite into this monstrous burger. I settled for the regular fries, but truth be told, I ended up stealing truffle fries from my wife’s plate. (I’m going to get a reputation as a french fry bandit. And, funny aside, there was a retired Island police chief sitting behind us.)

As I wrote earlier, there are many options on the menu, including a Classic ($16) cheese burger, if that’s your thing. Even vegetarians need not despair. There’s a Sweet Potato Quinoa Burger ($15).

Me? I’m going back to try the PittsBurger ($18), which features a fried egg. And I know I won’t have to twist my wife’s arm to go back and try Billy’s Chili Burger ($19).


Waterside Market is located at 82 Main St., Vineyard Haven. The 2-for-1 burger special is offered every Friday night in the off-season through May 1 between 5 and 8:30 pm. The deal is also good for take-out.