If you were wondering what became of the building on Main Street in Vineyard Haven where Mad Martha’s used to be, wonder no more because Chef Spring Sheldon has reinvented the space as a cozy gathering spot, a catering hub, and a place to purchase provisions and local crafts and goods. It’s now S&S Kitchenette. The Times paid a visit to the eclectic space last week to check in with Sheldon.
“I’ve been in the catering business for about five years now, doing small and large parties and as a private chef for small dinner parties and weddings,” Sheldon explained. “We were working out of the kitchen downstairs and when Mad Martha’s moved, they offered me the space and I took it, thinking let’s figure out something cool to do here.”
Sheldon said she’d always wanted an event space, and the long dining tables made from reclaimed wood, which are set so invitingly, stand ready for a gathering. The place is filled with cozy antique furnishings, glassware, and small and large pieces picked up at sales and second hand shops over the years. Sheldon even has author Dorothy West’s old, wood burning kitchen stove.
“I did sort of a big push last spring when we were opening,” she says. “I picked up some things at antique and vintage shops around New England. I wanted the vibe to feel like you were coming over to my house for dinner.”
Though catering is the main event right now, Sheldon said after the wedding season she’ll be ready to contemplate what the fall will look like. Whatever goes on the schedule, it will be focused around food and that long communal table made from 400-year-old wood. S&S Kitchenette can seat 30 people and has the capacity for 50. She currently offers themed takeout options on Wednesdays, such as ramen night, pho night, or Indian-themed entrees. They host popup dinners with guest chefs, cooking classes, karaoke nights, and paint and wine night. Sheldon is also thinking about adding high tea to the schedule this fall. You can visit the website (sskitchenette.com) or Instagram (instagram.com/sskitchenettemv) to find out what’s happening.
Sheldon admits that her plate is pretty full these days. She still has the El Gato food truck to run, besides catering and S&S Kitchenette. “Yeah, it’s a lot,” she says with a laugh. “I have an amazing staff who has really outdone themselves this year and have made my life a lot easier.”
Sheldon says she wants to have a space where people can gather, and she’s open to sharing the space with the community to host dinner parties, wedding showers, birthday parties, office gatherings and other events.
Sheldon, now 40, grew up coming to the Island every summer and has lived here full time for around 10 years. She trained at Boston University’s gastronomy program and spent time there working with catering Chef Kevin Carter.
“I fell in love with catering and came down here after getting tired of city life and wanting to be here at the place that felt like home,” Sheldon says.
Exhausted from the busy summer season, Sheldon said she’ll take some time to relax a bit once she gets through the wedding season.
“It’s still early and people are still trying to recover,” Sheldon said about the shoulder season beginning. “I’m considering doing lunch … I’d love to have hot soups for lunch. I also would love to be open to some other projects.”
With three businesses going at the same time, Sheldon says it’s been challenging, but that she’s learned a lot this past summer.
“I hope we can keep it going and keep hosting people and keep doing cool events here,” she says. “We’ve got some really fun things coming up.”