Around the table

S&S Kitchenette is an eclectic home away from home and a cozy gathering space.

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Walking into S&S Kitchenette on Main Street in Vineyard Haven is a little like walking into someone’s eclectic, fun, cozy home. This isn’t by accident. Owner Spring Sheldon had a vision. “I collect things. I like having fun things to look at, and I’m also a big vintage person. Actually, this place is just an extension of my home,” Sheldon chuckled. “I want people to feel like they’re in someone’s home — a home that is vibrant, safe, comfortable, and warm.”

The walls are painted a rich dark green, there are plants everywhere, and as Sheldon implied, a number of interesting things to look at (aside from the delicious treats at the counter). There is a large glass swan hanging out on a windowsill, pottery, paper mushrooms swinging in the front window, a ceramic bunny head, a variety of paintings and art, and vintage furniture. Two mismatching loveseats sit against the back wall, covered with cool wallpaper, and a long dining table, with at least 20 chairs, running right down the center of the space. Homestyle dining.

Sheldon started coming to the Vineyard more than 30 years ago in the summer. “I’m an Aquinnah girl,” she said. “My grandfather built a house there, and I’ve been coming here since I was a kid.”

As with many stories, the creation of S&S Kitchenette is a winding and layered tale. Sheldon trained in Boston, and worked in a number of restaurants. “Being a chef is exhausting in all aspects — mentally, physically, and emotionally — and I felt like it had become unsustainable. I was falling out of love with food, and I needed a break,” Sheldon said.

Sheldon transitioned to catering work, and found it much more sustainable. When a friend from the Island asked if she’d help her with some catering work, she hopped on board: “It felt like I’d always been here. I fell in with a great group of people, and I love the farm scene here. The access to fresh food and fish is really special. Being here reignited my passion for food.”

Sheldon started her own catering business on the Island, and that business is still going strong. The opportunity to open a physical space seemed to fall into her lap. Mad Martha’s used to hold the space S&S is currently in, and Sheldon had been renting their kitchen for her catering business. “Finding kitchen space on the Island is like finding a unicorn,” Sheldon laughed. “When Mad Martha’s decided to move out of the space, they asked if I’d be interested.” The rest is history.

S&S has been open for about two years now. Aside from offering full catering services, it also serves lunch Wednesdays through Saturdays, 11 am to 3 pm, sells coffee and baked goods — all made in-house fresh every day — and dinner on Thursday and Friday nights. “I like to mix up the menu and offer new things,” Sheldon said. “Our menu is seasonal, but sometimes it’s also based on what we feel like making. I want to keep the menu fresh, exciting, and relevant. I want to challenge myself with new dishes.”

Each week S&S changes up its menu. I visited on a Thursday, which happened to be Ramen Night. I couldn’t help picturing the customers all enjoying their ramen together while sitting at one big table. It made me smile. “On Friday nights, we have dinner and music. This week, Willy Mason and Lexie Roth will be playing,” Sheldon said.

The space is also used for special events and private parties. “I think of this place as a community space,” Sheldon said. “I want people to use it.” Though Sheldon closes for the season on Christmas Eve, the space will be utilized by other folks for various community events in the off-season. “We’ve used this space to hold meetings, and coming up, Gina Citarella and Nina Krane of Moony Dinner Parties will be holding Monday night pop-up dinner parties. It’s a really nice gathering space,” Sheldon said.

If that weren’t enough, S&S offers a soup CSA, which starts in November and runs for about eight weeks. People pay to be part of the CSA, and each week pick up a fresh quart of yummy soup. On Thursdays, fresh homemade sourdough bread is available. On Fridays, S&S offers homemade bagels, and on Saturdays, fresh challah bread can be purchased — regular and chocolate chip. To add to the mix, a variety of fun merchandise is available to purchase as well.

“We carry stocking stuffers, edible treats, spices, and candles that look like Swiss cheese,” Sheldon said. And I ask you, what kind of cool house wouldn’t have candles that look like Swiss cheese?

S&S, 48 Main St., Vineyard Haven, is open until Christmas Eve, and will reopen in the spring. In the meantime, Sheldon is still offering catering services. Reservations are suggested, but walk-ins are more than welcome.