It’s great to have places we can go to year-round to keep our restaurant love going when it’s freezing outside. We’re not sitting on the beach with umbrellas in our drinks, but we can almost imagine it when we dunk the waffle fries into the house-made ranch dip at Mo’s Lunch at the Portuguese American Club. Their order in and order online options keep everyone at the restaurant busy.
Known for huge sandwiches that you can enjoy for a few days, on-point salads, onion rings that could fill a Thanksgiving turkey platter, and baked goods by Korilee Connelly, Mo’s Lunch is the brainchild of Maura Martin and Austin Racine. The dynamic dining duo have known each other for years, and their collaboration this time around has really come into its own. We asked the folks behind Mo’s counter a few questions about the food and their favorites.
How long have you been at the P.A. Club?
We had our first pop-up dinner at the PA Club on Nov. 10, 2020. We opened full-time as Mo’s Lunch on June 4, 2021.
After working together at other Island restaurants, what’s it like to do this one for yourselves?
Really satisfying, honestly! We’ve both got quite a bit of experience at the helm of a restaurant, so we are really comfortable and it just feels good to be doing our thing.
How did you end up at the P.A. Club?
The lovely board of directors invited us to do take-out dinners in the midst of the pandemic. I think they were looking for a little financial boost and also to breathe a bit of life back into the club.
How did you come up with the menu? I mean, those onion rings, the polenta fries, the Italian subs, where did it all come from?
We really love sandwiches. Pretty much as simple as that! And there really wasn’t anywhere to get a really good, big, (sort of N.Y.), deli-style sandwich on the Island.
What are your personal favorites on the menu and why?
We both happen to really like to eat the roasted turkey. But not exactly as it comes on the menu … with special sauce, red onions, and fresh jalapeños on sourdough, grilled. With swiss, if we have it. (And we’d be happy to make it for anyone so they, too, can know the joy of that combo.)
Are you two good friends besides working together? Does it ever get in the way of your friendship?
We are good friends! We’ve pretty much been best buds for 20 years now and surprisingly we get along really well at work. It certainly helps that we share the same goals and values.
How many hours a week do you usually work?
We average around 75 at the restaurant.
What do you each like to cook at home?
Big salads and pasta for Maura.
Simple comfort foods and live fire cooking for Austin.
What is the most popular thing on the menu?
The Leo burger! Runner up is the Italian.
Do you make your own bread? How many loaves a week?
Yes! Six to 12 loaves of sourdough a day, depending on what we’ve run for specials. With the Italian loaves, we get three subs per loaf and we do about 36 to 48 loaves per day.
What do you have planned for this summer? Anything new?
LOTS OF BIG SANDWICHES. Probably another pig roast. Nothin’ new per se. Anyone can feel free to shout out a fun sub special they’d like to share!
If you had to recommend one thing on the menu, what would you pick?
If you’re looking for a bite at the bar, we’d maybe recommend one of the snack plates, like our bluefish pâté. It comes with pieces of grilled sourdough and housemade pickled veggies, too. Can’t make a bad decision, really. The tuna melt is always a solid choice!
Mo’s Lunch at the P.A. Club, 137 Vineyard Ave., Oak Bluffs. 508-687-9744; moslunch.com. Open Tuesday through Friday, 11 am to 7:30 pm, and Saturday, 11 am to 3 pm.