SECRETS OF PI — from A (antipasto) to Z (Zisola)

Sarah Leah Chase

Thursday, May 18th, marked to date the warmest day of the 2017 year on island and although still very much spring, there was a summery aura that made rosé wine aficionados (like me) feel as if it were okay to sip rosé at almost any hour of the day. Luckily, kindred oenophilic connoisseurs were behind the stove when I arrived at the Nantucket Culinary Center at four in the afternoon to attend a Wine-Festival-related seminar hosted by Evan Marley of Pi Pizzeria and Cory Bunnewith, a representative for wine importer Palm Bay International. As soon as I was seated at one of two long communal family tables, beckoning with tulip budvases and sumptuous oblong antipasto platters, my wine glass was filled with a pretty pale pink pour of Planeta Sicilian Rosé. Need you wonder if I was happy to be bACK on ACK?

In the Pink, Secrets of Pi Pizzeria, Nantucket, by Sarah Chase
Corey Bunnewith and Evan Marley


In the Pink, Secrets of Pi Pizzeria, Nantucket, by Sarah Chase


In the Pink, Secrets of Pi Pizzeria, Nantucket, by Sarah Chase


As we sipped and nibbled on briny green olives, marinated artichoke hearts, and fennel-laced salumi, Cory welcomed all by declaring: “All weekends should begin on Thursday.” No one in the room disagreed. Years ago, while engaged in cookbook research in Tuscany, I had learned that the practice of seasoning Tuscan sausages with fennel had started as a way to disguise the taste of bad Chianti, since fennel’s unique flavor was believed to have the power to transform companion flavors from insipid to sublime. While I have long been amused by this lore, I found that at this particular moment, Planeta’s fresh and fruity rosé, a 50/50 blend of Nero d’Avola and Syrah, splendidly complimented every single fennel and non-fennel morsel chef Greg Margolis, owner of Nantucket Culinary Center and the Corner Café, had so beautifully selected and arranged for our opening antipasti course. I especially swooned over the brilliant way in which Greg’s garnishing slices of salty and citrusy preserved lemons paired with a wine intentionally crafted “to represent all the feelings of a Sicilian summer.”

As equally compelling as the antipasti sprawl on our dining tables was the silent and fancy slicing and plating of tomatoes being diligently executed by Evan on the luminescent Brazilian quartz island that anchors the demo kitchen at the Culinary Center. Once it became Evan’s turn to take center stage, he explained that he had very strong feelings about the proper way to make the oh-so-popular and oh-so-often-bastardized Caprese salad, because he had gotten engaged to his wife Maria while vacationing on the island of Capri. The only glitch in this afternoon’s presentation was that he was not able to use local tomatoes, which would have been in May hot house ones from Bartlett’s Farm, because too much rain over recent weeks had slowed their ripening. Plan B was to use Kumato tomatoes purchased at the Stop & Shop, which Evan assured (and immediately convinced me) were the best-tasting off-season tomatoes one can employ.

In the Pink, Secrets of Pi Pizzeria, Nantucket, by Sarah Chase
Insalata Caprese


In the Pink, Secrets of Pi Pizzeria, Nantucket, by Sarah Chase
Insalata Caprese


The Italian insalata Caprese is in essence a very simple salad whose red, white, and green colors are meant to mirror those of the Italian flag by combining tomatoes with mozzarella cheese, basil, and olive oil. Evan’s rendition, however, ranks as absolutely the best Caprese I have ever devoured because of the attention he gives to every single component of the salad. Rather than mozzarella, Evans chooses to use the most adorable and delectable 2-ounce balls of rich and creamy Burrata cheese, handcrafted on-island by Elisabetta Hitchcock and marketed under the brand name of Gioia. In fact, Elisabetta was on hand to enlighten us on the history of Burrata — a relative newcomer in the world of Italian cheese since it has only been being made for about sixty years compared to mozzarella’s hundreds of years. As for the basil component, Evan does not merely strew slivered basil leaves over his salads. Instead he makes a very verdant, silky, and sublime blender pesto whose superiority rests on Evan’s firm belief that only young basil should be used when making pesto. In fact, Evan has island farmer Ray Owens cultivate basil on a plot specifically for Pi Pizzeria in order to ensure a steady supply of young basil for his restaurant’s copious basil needs. To finish the Caprese, Evan transfers the pesto to a squeeze bottle in order to squirt it artistically and generously over and around each tomato flower whose center is bursting with that lush nugget of freshly made Burrata. Truly extraordinary, especially when paired with the well-chilled and minerally pale yellow MadraRossa Fiano, a relatively unknown Sicilian white wine, Cory had selected as an accompaniment.


In the Pink, Secrets of Pi Pizzeria, Nantucket, by Sarah Chase

For most islanders, pizza is probably the first thing that comes to mind with the mention of Pi, so it was natural for Evan to segue from serving salads worthy of a standing ovation to sharing secrets of pizza making at Pi, even if he had to make do with using pizza stones in the Culinary Center’s electric-powered ovens and not his restaurant’s 900-degree wood-burning masterpiece. Not surprisingly, Evan harbors very strong opinions about what makes a proper pizza. He prefers small pizzas to large pizzas, taking his cues from pizza practices in Naples, where pizza is eaten whole with a knife and fork and never ever sliced. When it comes to tomato sauce, it should be made with San Marzano tomatoes, which are grown in the foothills around Mount Vesuvius in soil made fertile from volcanic ash deposits — a point cleverly echoed in our printed seminar menus boasting “volcanic combinations” as well as by the rich red wines — also grown in volcanic soils — chosen by Cory as pairings with the pizzas served to the group throughout the rest of the afternoon.


In the Pink, Secrets of Pi Pizzeria, Nantucket, by Sarah Chase
Tomato Sauce


Despite the innumerable ways in which pizzas are topped in the United States, beginning with the proper dough base is of the utmost importance to the philosophy of pizza making at Pi. Evan keeps it simple using only yeast, water, Italian “00” flour, salt, and just a touch of honey to feed the yeast, although the latter is never added in Italy. The dough is then mixed for 9 minutes and next subjected to a slow day-long rise in the refrigerator — a technique known in the professional pizza trade as a “retarded rise.” Should the patience necessary to making this type of dough strike those of us desiring to make pizza at home as a deterrent, fear not because Evan is happy to sell island DIYers ready-to-knead pizza dough rounds from the little specialty shop adjoining his restaurant. However, once you witness the absolute grace and expertise with which Evan kneads his dough, I wager that intimidation over making your own pizzas at home is likely to set in. Indeed, watching Evan masterfully transform a ball of pizza dough into a perfect round is an exquisite art form unto itself.

In the Pink, Secrets of Pi Pizzeria, Nantucket, by Sarah Chase
Kneading dough


Throughout the many years I have been a patron of Pi, I have almost always ordered the restaurant’s Great Italian pizza, with an occasional Margherita thrown in during summer visits. It never occurred to me to order the Rustica — a combination that Evan invented and heralds as Pi’s signature pizza. Suffice it to say, I am now a passionate convert! There is no red sauce in a Rustica, but rather a sauce made by melding chopped garlic, a few chile flakes, salt, and olive oil together for approximately 15 minutes in a cooler section of the wood-burning oven. At the same time, also in a cooler area of the oven, pancetta cut into lardons is rendered to crispy irresistibleness. The only brand of domestic pancetta Evan uses is sourced from Molinari in San Francisco, an old-school Italian delicatessen. Likewise the Stracchino cheese used exclusively in the Rustica pizza is of similar distinctive provenance and storied to boot. Stracchino is a cow’s milk cheese native to the Lombardy area of Italy and its name derives from the fact that the cows are tired or stressed when they produce the milk that goes into the making the acclaimed melting cheese. The reason the cows are tired is because they get sent away into the mountains to graze at the time of year when Italian tax collectors make their rounds and determine a farmer’s taxes based on how many heads of cattle are visible on the farm. The mountain grazing not only slyly lowers the tax rate but also produces a cheese with a wonderfully unique grassy flavor that is more complex than regular mozzarella. Stracchino from Italy can be prohibitively costly to import and Evan fortunately has found a supplier in the Midwest to meet his exacting standards.

In the Pink, Secrets of Pi Pizzeria, Nantucket, by Sarah Chase


In the Pink, Secrets of Pi Pizzeria, Nantucket, by Sarah Chase


Once the Rustica pizza emerges incredibly aromatically from the oven, with crust crisped, Stracchino bubbling, and pancetta crackling, it is topped with a mound of baby arugula lightly dressed with fruity olive oil. While Evan went on to make “molti pizzas” as promised on the menu, it was the Rustica that remained the most swoon-worthy for me as well as everyone else in attendance. Meanwhile, Cory busied himself filling our glasses with compatibly “volcanic” Sicilian red wines, a slightly chilled Planeta Etna Rosso and a voluptuous, show-stopping Zisola Nero d’Avola. Cory elaborated that the Nero d’Avola grapes that make up 100% of Zisola are grown as far south as you can go in Sicily in a microclimate cooled by sea breezes in the heat of the summer and then warmed by the same breezes in the depths of winter. I was quick to notice that Zisola is produced by the Mazzei family, Tuscan winemakers whose charming hamlet of Fonterutoli outside of Siena had served as a base for my husband’s and my Italian honeymoon twenty years ago. No wonder, Zisola for me personally was love at first and last Rustica-pizza-sated sip.


In the Pink, Secrets of Pi Pizzeria, Nantucket, by Sarah Chase


Sarah Leah Chase is a cookbook author, freelance food writer, and culinary consultant. She frequently teaches cooking classes at the Nantucket Culinary Center. Her latest cookbook, “New England Open House,” was published this past June. She invites fellow food lovers to follow her on Facebook and Instagram


Nantucket Prime – A New Steakhouse at the Jared Coffin House by Josh Gray

In the realm of fine cuisine on small resort islands, Nantucket is known to do pretty well for itself.

And as such, when a new eatery opens its doors on our small stretch of sand, residents and visitors expect a lot from new and seasoned restaurateurs alike. The owners and management of the steak house Nantucket Prime realize this and hope to bring a dining experience that patrons will appreciate and come to love. Situated inside the Jared Coffin House on upper Broad Street, the new restaurant revives a storied locale with hopes of opening in time for the impending Memorial Day weekend.

“We have met some amazing people already and are hoping to meet some more,” said Justin Ito-Adler, Prime’s General Manager. “One thing we are trying to figure out is what the people that live on Nantucket want in a restaurant. Though we will be serving a full dinner menu, we also want people to stop in for a drink or just to say hi. Those casual interactions have been incredibly valuable to us as we shape the direction of this restaurant.”

Ito-Adler, along with principal owner Matthew Sullivan (a Boston area restaurateur who currently co-owns Needham’s Blue on Highland), and Executive Chef Joshua Smith decided upon the long-vacant Nantucket Island Resorts property after searching available spaces on island and deciding it was just what they were looking for.

“We wanted to create a vibrant environment. The room has a great feel to it and the patio has such an amazing street presence,” said Ito-Adler. “We feel really lucky to be in a building with such an amazing history to it.”

Though it’s housed in a well-known, historic building, Ito-Adler was quick to point out that the group is looking to present a fresh feel.


“When you hear ‘steakhouse’ or ‘Nantucket’ the image is definitely an old-world feel with white glove type service. We want to create something that doesn’t feel stuffy,” he said. “We want people to laugh, to enjoy themselves and to have the experience that they want to have, not the experience that they feel they should be having. We have an amazing kitchen that wants to create dishes that excite palates, and an incredible front-of-the-house staff of naturally warm and friendly people.”

Hoping to accommodate an array of tastes, Nantucket Prime will offer nearly a dozen cuts of steak, a raw bar, fresh, in-season seafood from the waters around Nantucket, salads and appetizers. They will begin by serving lunch and dinner daily, with the possibility of expanding to a breakfast menu later in the season.

“We will likely open in phases to make sure that we are putting out the food and giving the service that we want to,” said Ito-Adler, emphasizing a focus on quality.

The spaces open to patrons will include the main dining room (accessible from the front entrance of the hotel), featuring a six seat bar, and the outdoor dining patio that has a bar with seating for up to a dozen.

Management had hoped to have opened in time for the Nantucket Wine Festival, but after being delayed by unforeseen circumstances, they now expect to have regular hours the Memorial holiday weekend of May 23rd, excepting a possible, private, special pre-fixe dinner during Wine Fest.

New to Nantucket in varying degrees, Ito-Adler said he and his colleagues are just about ready to open after several months of planning and careful preparation.

“All of us are overjoyed to have the opportunity to work here,” he said. “Over the past few weeks we have already had such amazing experiences and met such amazing people. We are looking forward to meeting the rest of the island, and contributing what we can to an already flourishing Nantucket restaurant community.”
For reservations, visit or call 508.228.2117.

Nantucket Book Festival News 3.5.14

The 2014 Nantucket Book Festival, June 20-22, has announced a partial line-up of authors who will participate in this year’s festival.

Alice Hoffman : Author of novels, young adult novels, and children’s books, best known for Practical Magic (1995). Latest novel The Dovekeepers (2011). Alice also wrote the screenplay for Independence Day (1983) 

Jodi Picoult: Author of 20 books, the latest being The Storyteller (2013)

Katrina Kenison: Author of literary memoir and nonfiction. Her latest book isMagical Journey: An Apprenticeship in Contentment , (2013)

Daniel Menaker: Writer and fiction editor at The New Yorker. His latest book is My Mistake – A Memoir. (2013)

Ben Mezrich: Ben is best know for Bringing Down the House: The Inside Story of Six MIT Students Who Took Vegas for Millions(2008)

Kevin Powers: Best known for his first novel The Yellow Birds, for which he won numerous awards including finalist for the National Book Award in fiction.

Dani Shapiro: Author of five novels and magazien writer for the New Yorker and others. Her best selling memoirs were Slow Motion and Devotion, and her latest book, Still Writing (2013).

George Pelecanos: A writer of detective fiction and television, and a film and television producer. His Lates book was The Double (2013).

Ben Fountain: Fiction writer, winner of PEN/Heningway award for Brief Encounters with Che Guevara: Stories and many others 

As in past Nantucket Book Festivals, there will be a variety of free events throughout the weekend, featuring speakers and panels of wonderful writers from all aspects of literature.

Highlights will include:
~ The opening night presentation of the PEN/Faulkner writing contest winner at the Unitarian Church, Friday evening June 20th.
~ Sunday afternoon wrap party and pig roast at Cisco Brewers with the authors and the Nantucket Book Partners’ author autograph mobile. 
~ The popular Authors in Bars will return in 2014.

More to come as we get it.

Nantucket’s “Wash-Ashores”

Editor’s note: The demographics of Nantucket have changed considerably since I arrived here for the first time in 1969. This spring, I attended a lecture at the Nantucket Historical Association’s Food For Thought Series at which Peter Morrison presented his analysis of the changes. I was so impressed at the clarity and importance of his work that I asked him if he could adapt the presentation for Mahon About Town. Here is the first in a series of graphical snapshots of a changing Nantucket.


Nantucket’s “Wash-Ashores”


One becomes a Nantucketer either through the lottery of birth or by choice. It’s a distinction with particular relevance for Nantucket, which attracts so many seasonal residents and temporary workers each year. This annual conveyor belt of people carries a select few whose fond attachments will eventually trigger a decision to make Nantucket their home.

How is this demographic amalgam remaking our community? The 2010 Census provides numerous insights into Nantucket’s changing demography. In this issue and those to follow, I’ll highlight how Nantucket’s Wash-Ashores are transforming our community.

This week’s focus: Nantucketers’ off-island origins. Nantucket is evolving into an immigrant entry port. The Island is very much a microcosm of demographic changes underway nationally.

Census 2010 counted 10,172 full-time Nantucket residents – persons who claim Nantucket as their “usual place of residence.” By the Census Bureau’s most recent (2008) measure, 15% of us are foreign-born, nearly double the 8% in 2000 (see chart 1 above – “More Foreign-Born Nantucketers”).

Islanders hailing from Caribbean and Central American origins account for about one in 10 of Nantucket’s foreign-born residents. Topping the list: roughly 400 Jamaicans and 400 Costa Ricans. Others include the 150 Eastern Europeans (mostly Bulgarians), plus about a dozen Nantucketers from each of the following origins: Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, New Zealand, South Africa, and Vietnam.

Most foreign-born newcomers settling on Nantucket are not (yet) citizens, but their decision to put down roots here as a resident signals a clear intent.

Peter A. Morrison tracks demographic trends nationwide and here on Nantucket. Retired from RAND Corporation in California, he has been regular seasonal visitor since 1985 and settled on Nantucket in 2005. Peter serves on Nantucket’s Finance Committee and Energy Study Committee and as a director of the Nantucket Shellfish Association.

Nantucket’s Ethnic Mosaic

Nantucket’s Ethnic Mosaic

Peter Morrison

Nantucket’s full-time residents (those claiming Nantucket as their “usual place of residence”) numbered 10,172 as of April 2010–just a few hundred more than lived here in 2000. The vast majority of that increase reflects the arrival of hundreds of persons of Hispanic origin who’ve settled here in the past decade, broadening the racial and ethnic mosaic that characterizes our resident population. Here are some details (see chart below):

~ Nantucket’s full-time resident population includes 959 persons of Hispanic descent, more than quadruple the number a decade earlier.

~ Asian full-time residents number 118, double the number in 2000.

~ The number of African-Americans appears to be slightly lower, partly because more African-Americans report themselves under multiracial racial categories rather than exclusively African-American.

~ Indeed that multiracial category emerges as a more prominent one among youthful Nantucketers.

The student body in Nantucket’s public school system reflects the Island’s expanding Hispanic population. Hispanics’ share of NPS enrollments has risen from barely 3% in 2000 to an all-time high of around 13% (see chart).

Nantucket’s future is creeping in on tiny feet!

Peter A. Morrison tracks demographic trends nationwide and here on Nantucket. Retired from RAND Corporation in California, he has been regular seasonal visitor since 1985 and settled on Nantucket in 2005. Peter serves on Nantucket’s Finance Committee and Energy Study Committee and as a director of the Nantucket Shellfish Association.

2012 Nantucket Film Festival Program


“Brave” is the Opening Day Film; this year’s Sundance Grand Jury Prize winner “Beasts of the Southern Wild” is the Opening Night Film, “Sleepwalk with Me” is the Centerpiece film, and “Your Sister’s Sister” is the Closing Night Film.

Rory Kennedy will receive the award for Special Achievement in Documentary Storytelling for “Ethel”.

Lucy Alibar and Behn Zeitlin (“Beasts of the Southern Wild”) will receive the New Voices in Screenwriting Award.

Nancy Meyers will receive the 2012 Screenwriters Tribute Award, and longtime friend and collaborator Diane Keaton will present.

Festival passes are currently on sale on the Festival website, with individual tickets on sale on May 24.

2012 Screenwriters Tribute Award

Nancy Meyers’ first screenplay was “Private Benjamin”, starring Goldie Hawn, which earned Meyers a Writers Guild of America Award for Best Comedy and an Academy Award; nomination for Best Original Screenplay.

Meyers made her debut as a director in 1998 with the Disney classic “The Parent Trap”.

Meyers filmography includes:
~ “Irreconcilable Differences” (writer)
~ “Baby Boom” (writer)
~ “Father of the Bride” and “Father of the Bride II” (writer)
~ “Something’s Gotta Give” (writer, director, and producer)
~ “The Holiday” (writer, director, and producer)
~ “It’s Complicated” (writer, director, and producer)

Diane Keaton won the Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture-Musical or Comedy for “Something’s Gotta Give”, and was nominated for an Academy Award for her role as Erica Barry in the film.

“It’s Complicated” starred Meryl Streep, Alec Baldwin, and Steve Martin, earning Golden Globe nominations for Best Actress, Best Screenplay, and Best Picture.

Past Nantucket Film Festival Screenwriters Tribute honorees include Paul Haggis, Barry Levinson, Harold Ramis, Judd Apatow, Robert Benton, Alexander Payne & Jim Taylor, Steve Martin, Charlie Kauffman, Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, James Schamus, Walter Bernstein, Paul Schrader, Jay Presson Allen, and Ring Lardner, Jr.

Other Awards

Rory Kennedy will receive the Special Achievement in Documentary Storytelling for her “Ethel”. The film is a personal portrait of her mother Ethel Kennedy’s political awakening, the life she shared with Robert F. Kennedy, and the years following his death when she raised their 11 children on her own. Ethel Kennedy will be will joining her daughter Rory at the Festival.

“Beasts of a Southern Wild” writer Lucy Alibar and writer/director Behn Zeitlin will receive the New Voices in Screenwriting Award. As Zeitlin’s directorial debut, their film took audiences by surprise at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, and was sought after by many distributors before landing at Fox Searchlight Pictures. The film is set for a June 27th release.



Director/Producer: Alison Klayman; Producer: Adam Schlesinger

Ai Weiwei is China’s most famous international artist, and its most outspoken domestic critic. Against a backdrop of strict censorship and an unresponsive legal system, Ai expresses himself and organizes people through art and social media, blurring the boundaries of art and politics. With unprecedented access to the artist, Ai Weiwei: Never Sorry provides a nuanced exploration of contemporary China and one of its most compelling public figures.


Writer/Director: Olivia Silver; Producers: Julien Favre, Thomas Silenn, Jai Stefan, Jeremy Bailer; Cast: John Hawkes, Ryan Simpkins, Kendall Toole, Ty Simpkins

Winner of the Crystal Bear for best feature film in the Berlin International Film Festival’s Generation competition, Arcadia is a coming-of-age story set in a cross-country landscape. Twelve-year-old Greta embarks on a 3,000-mile journey in a dented station wagon. Greta’s father insists that her mother will soon join them, but between stops at fast food joints, shoddy motels, and a poor substitute for the Grand Canyon, Greta realizes that not everything is as it seems.


Director Benh Zeitlin Produced by Michael Gottwald, Dan Janvey & Josh Penn. Executive Produced by Philipp Engelhorn, Paul Mezey, Michael Raisler. Cast: Quvenzhane Wallis and Dwight Henry

In a forgotten but defiant bayou community cut off from the rest of the world by a sprawling levee, a six-year-old girl exists on the brink of orphanhood. Buoyed by her childish optimism and extraordinary imagination, she believes that the natural world is in balance with the universe until a fierce storm changes her reality. Desperate to repair the structure of her world in order to save her ailing father and sinking home, this tiny hero must learn to survive unstoppable catastrophes of epic proportions.

Directors: Mark Andrews, Brenda Chapman; Co-Director: Steve Purcell; Producer: Katherine Sarafian; Story by: Brenda Chapman; Screenplay by: Mark Andrews, Steve Purcell and Brenda Chapman & Irene Mecchi; Story Supervisor: Brian Larsen; Cast: Kelly Macdonald, Billy Connolly, Emma Thompson, Julie Walters, Robbie Coltrane, Kevin McKidd, Craig Ferguson

Set in the rugged and mysterious Highlands of Scotland, Brave follows the heroic journey of Merida, a skilled archer and headstrong daughter of royalty. Determined to change her fate, Merida defies an age-old custom sacred to the uproarious lords of the land, unleashing chaos in the kingdom. When an eccentric Witch grants Merida an ill-fated wish, the ensuing peril forces Merida to discover the meaning of true bravery in order to undo a beastly curse before it’s too late.


Director/Producer: Katie Dellamaggiore; Producers: Brian Schulz, Nelson Dellamaggiore
A squat concrete building on an inner-city block, Brooklyn’s I.S. 318 doesn’t look like much from the outside, but inside something special is happening: Hundreds of students learn to play the complex game of chess. Despite student poverty and budget cuts, the school boasts the best junior high chess program in the nation. Brooklyn Castle follows five teens over one school year as they face challenges both on and off the chessboard.


Director: Kevin Mazur; Producers: Tricia Nolan, Kevin Mazur, Jeff Vespa

Renowned celebrity photographer Kevin Mazur provides an all-access pass to life behind the velvet rope and in front of the camera. Candid interviews with Jennifer Aniston, Sarah Jessica Parker, Jennifer Lopez, Elton John, and many other stars reveal the blurred lines of privacy, pliable journalism, celebrity, and fame. At once sobering and entertaining, $ellebrity examines an obsession run rampant and conveys what it feels like to be consumed.


Writer: Mike O’Malley; Director: Peter Askin; Producer: Will Battersby; Cast: Adelaide Clemens, Tom Lipinksi, Valerie Harper, Tammy Blanchard

“Welcome to your engagement encounter,” booms Father Henry at the start of a Pre-Cana retreat-the mandatory course for couples looking to be married by the Catholic church. Among the participants are skeptical Dom and eager bride-to-be Deb. If it means not paying for another venue for the wedding Dom can bear a weekend of icebreakers, workbooks, and sleeping bags. Certainty proves that love, faith, and being 27 are not always compatible.


Writer: Mark Monroe; Director/Producer: Jeff Orlowski; Producers: Paula DuPre Pesmen, Jerry Aronson

With a team of young adventurers in tow, photographer James Balog travels across the brutal Arctic, risking his career and well-being in pursuit of the biggest story facing humanity. Deploying time-lapse cameras, Balog records the world’s changing glaciers. It takes him years to see the fruits of his labor-a set of hauntingly beautiful videos that capture ancient mountains of ice in motion as they disappear at a breathtaking rate.


Writer/Director: Vincent Paronnaud, Marjane Satrapi; Producer: Hengameh Panahi; Cast: Mathieu Amalric, Edouard Baer, Maria De Medeiros, Golshifteh Farahani, Eric Caravaca, Chiara Mastroianni, Jamel Debbouze, Isabella Rossellini

Teheran, 1958. Finding no instrument worthy to replace his broken violin, a renowned musician looses himself into melancholic yet joyous dreams that take him back to his youth. As the pieces of the puzzle gradually fit together, the poignant secret of his life comes to light, and the wonderful love story that inspired his genius and his music is revealed. Based on the poignant story of the Marjane Satrapi’s great-uncle, Chicken with Plums is a mesmerizing and exotic tale of love, music, and inspiration.


Director/Producer: Heidi Ewing, Rachel Grady; Producer Craig Atkinson

Detroit was the birthplace of the middle class, an industrial utopia where anyone who worked hard enough could experience the “American dream.” Today, Detroit is on the brink of bankruptcy while the entire country watches to see if this storied metropolis has the courage, creativity and grit to reinvent itself rather than implode. Detropia is a cinematic tapestry of a city and its people-who refuse to leave the building even as the flames are rising.


Producer/Director: Matthew Heineman, Susan Froemke

Escape Fire examines the powerful forces maintaining the status quo of a broken healthcare system-a system designed for quick fixes rather than prevention, for profit-driven care rather than patient-driven care. This eye-opening documentary interweaves the dramatic personal arcs of patients and physicians with the stories of leaders battling to transform the system. And it reminds us that the answers to our crisis are at hand and offers potential solutions, or “escape fires,” to fix it.


Writer: Mark Bailey; Director/Producer: Rory Kennedy; Producers: Jack Youngelson

Ethel relates the remarkable story of Ethel Kennedy, told by those who know her best: her family. The film is a personal portrait of her political awakening, the life she shared with Robert F. Kennedy, and the years following his death when she raised their 11 children on her own. Intimate, funny, and deeply moving, Ethel offers a rare look inside a political dynasty strengthened by compassion and wisdom forged from both hardship and triumph.

Writer/Director: Jenny Deller; Producer: Kristin Fairweather; Cast: Perla Haney-Jardine, Amy Madigan, Lili Taylor, William Sadler, Marin Ireland, Anubhav Jain

When 13-year-old Lauduree’s single mom runs off to California, Lauduree decides to manage on her own in her rural home. But her grandmother Greta, a caustic nurse, has other plans. Thrust together, the two women must learn to trust each other. Featuring an outstanding performance by newcomer Perla Haney-Jardine, Future Weather is a compelling coming-of-age drama that explores the sorrow of saying goodbye to what we love.


Writer: Mark Jude Poirier; Director: Christopher Neil; Producers: Daniela Taplin Lundberg, Eric Kopeloff, Shannon Lail; Cast: Graham Phillips, David Duchovny, Vera Farmiga, Ty Burrell, Justin Kirk, Keri Russell

At 15, grounded and intelligent Ellis leaves his flaky mother and the only father figure he has, Goat Man, in the foothills of Tucson to attend his father’s alma mater, an East Coast prep school. As Ellis reconnects with his estranged father, he finds his life out West thrown into stark contrast. Based on a novel by Mark Jude Poirier, Goats wittily reverses the standard coming-of-age formula in an honest portrayal of life with awkward moments and unresolved endings.


Writer: Sarah Koskoff; Director: Todd Luiso; Producers: Mary Jane Skalski, Hans Ritter; Cast: Melanie Lynskey, Blythe Danner, Christopher Abbott, John Rubinstein, Julie White, Dan Futterman

Divorced, demoralized Amy’s prospects seem unpromising when she must move back in with her parents at age 35. As Amy’s patience with the situation dwindles, a bold 19-year-old ignites her last bit of passion. Fresh and original, Hello I Must Be Going is a modern, unconventional love story infused with sex, humor, and compassion-everything Amy needs to get on with her life.


Writer/Director/Producer: Eugene Jarecki;Producers: Melinda Shopsin, Sam Cullman, Christopher St. John

Over more than 40 years, the “war on drugs” has resulted in 45 million arrests, making the United States the world’s largest jailer. Yet drugs are cheaper, purer, and more available today than ever before. The House I Live In captures heart-wrenching stories from people at all levels – the dealer, the grieving mother, the narcotics officer, the inmate. Their stories combine to pose urgent questions: What caused the war? What perpetuates it? And what can be done to stop it?

Writers/Directors: Eric Toledano, Olivier Nakache; Producers: Nicolas Duval-Adassovsky, Laurent Zeitoun, Yann Zenou; Cast: Francois Cluzet, Omar Sy

Surprisingly funny and full of heart, The Intouchables tells the true story of an unlikely friendship between two men from radically different backgrounds. Fresh out of jail, Driss applies for a job as a caretaker to paraplegic aristocrat Philippe, hoping to get rejected and continue receiving welfare. But Philippe hires him. With standout performances by Francois Cluzet and Omar Sy (who won a Cesar for Best Actor for the role), The Intouchables was a box-office phenomenon in France.


Writer: Charles Olivier; Producers/Directors: Laura Brownson, Beth Levison

Three-time felon, one-time Tony Award winner Lemon Andersen is a pioneering poet whose words speak for a generation. When he lands back in the projects, living with thirteen family members and desperate for a way out, he turns to the only things he has left-his pen and his story. An inspiring and beautifully crafted documentary, Lemon follows one man’s harrowing attempt to bring his life to the stage while battling demons from his past.


Writer/Director/Producer: Josh Radnor; Producer: Brice del Farra, Claude Del Farra, Jesse Hara, Lauren Munsch; Cast: Josh Radnor, Elizabeth Olsen, Richard Jenkins, Allison Janney

When 35-year-old Jesse is invited to speak at the retirement dinner for his favorite professor, he’s glad to leave his uninspiring job and broken heart behind and escape New York for a few days. Jesse believes his best days are over, and once he’s on campus, college nostalgia hits him hard-although not as hard as the beautiful Zibby, a precocious theater student.

Director/Producer: Beth Murphy; Producer: Sean Flynn
Filmed over four years, The List is a poignant portrait of a modern-day Oskar Schindler who sets out to redeem a nation that has largely betrayed its Iraqi allies. Leading reconstruction teams in Iraq, Kirk Johnson discovers that many Iraqi colleagues are targeted as enemy collaborators and hunted by radical militias. Bound by moral responsibility and a sense of honor, and frustrated by a U.S. government bureaucracy that fails to protect them, Johnson takes matters on his own hands. Presented in collaboration with Facing History with Ourselves.


Director/Cinematographer: Matthew Akers; Producers: Jeff Dupre, Maro Chermayeff
Marina Abramovic: The Artist Is Present follows glamorous art-world icon Marina Abramovic as she prepares for a major retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art. The show would be a milestone for any artist, but for Marina it is also a chance to legitimize performance art. With unprecedented access, this documentary takes a mesmerizing cinematic journey into the world of radical performance and offers an intimate portrait of a magnetic woman who draws no distinction between life and art.

Writer/Director: Ry Russo-Young; Writer: Lena Dunham; Producers: Jonathan Schwartz, Andrea Sperling, Alicia Van Couvering; Cast: Olivia Thirlby, John Krasinski, Rosemarie DeWitt, India Ennenga, Justin Kirk, Dylan McDermott

Nobody Walks follows Martine as she enters the seemingly idyllic life of an open-minded family with two kids and a relaxed Southern California vibe. Martine’s arrival sparks a surge of energy that awakens suppressed impulses in family members and forces them to confront their own fears and desires. Exquisitely orchestrated, the film links characters in an intricate dance of lust, denial, and deception.


Director: Alex Kurtzman; Writers: Alex Kurtzman & Roberto Orci & Jody Lambert; Producers: Roberto Orci, Bobby Cohen, Clayton Townsend; Cast: Chris Pine, Elizabeth Banks, Olivia Wilde, Michael Hall D’Addario, Philip Baker Hall, Mark Duplass and Michelle Pfeiffer.

Inspired by true events, People Like Us, is a drama/comedy about family. Sam is called home where he must put his father’s estate in order and reconnect with his estranged family. In the course of fulfilling his father’s last wishes, Sam uncovers a startling secret that turns his entire world upside down: He has a 30-year-old sister Frankie whom he never knew about. As their relationship develops, Sam is forced to rethink everything he thought he knew about his family-and re-examine his own life choices in the process.


Writer/Director/Producer: Walter Matteson; Writers: Josh Alexander, Matthew Prinzing; Producers: Josh Alexander, Daniel J. Chalfen

When thirty women ages 67 to 84 descend on Fall River, Massachusetts to compete in the 30th edition of the Ms. Senior Sweetheart Pageant, hilarity and heartbreak ensue. Under the doting attention of pageant founder Lenny “Low Price” Kaplan, the women share intimate experiences, discover newfound passions, and stir lifelong insecurities that challenge misconceptions about aging. Executive produced by Sarah Jessica Parker, Pretty Old is a profound look at what it truly means to age beautifully.


Director/Producer: Lauren Greenfield; Producer: Danielle Renfrew Behrens

With the epic dimensions of a Shakespearean tragedy, The Queen of Versailles follows billionaires Jackie and David’s rags-to-riches story to uncover the virtues and flaws of the American dream. The film opens on the triumphant construction of the country’s biggest house, a sprawling, 90,000-square-foot mansion inspired by Versailles. But then the economic crisis brings progress to a halt and plays out over the next two years in a riveting film fraught with delusion, denial, and self-effacing humor.


Writer/Director/Producer: Rodrigo Cortes; Producer: Adrian Guerra; Cast: Cillian Murphy, Sigourney Weaver, Robert De Niro, Elizabeth Olsen

Dr. Margaret Matheson (a superb Sigourney Weaver) has made a career of exposing paranormal hoaxes, but when psychic Simon Silver (played magnetically by Robert De Niro) announces that he is coming out of retirement after 30 years, she is reluctant to confront him. Matheson’s young colleague, however, becomes obsessed with investigating Silver. Thick with a mystery backed up by incredible performances, Red Lights takes the audience on a thrilling ride.


Writer: Christopher D. Ford; Director: Jake Schreier; Producers: Galt Niederhoffer, Sam Bisbbee, Jackie Kelman Bisbee, lance Acord; Cast: Frank Langella, Susan Sarandon, James Marsden, Liv Tyler, Peter Sarsgaard, Jeremy Sisto, Jeremy Strong

In the near future, aging curmudgeon and retired jewel thief Frank lives a solitary life until his son installs a caretaker robot against his wishes. At first, Frank stubbornly rejects the new arrival, but soon he realizes the robot has the ability to pull off highly calculated heists and a most unusual criminal duo is formed. Smart and heartfelt, Robot and Frank is ultimately a poignant story about family, friendship, and technology.


Writer/Director/Producer: Malik Bendjelloul; Producer: Simon Chinn

A bootleg recording by an artist known as Rodriguez found its way to apartheid South Africa, where it became the anthem of the white resistance. Rumors circulated about Rodriguez, including a bizarre tale of on-stage suicide. Two South African fans decide to track down the real Rodriguez. Featuring Rodriguez’s soulful melodies, Searching for Sugar Man is a heartwarming portrait of the greatest ’70s rock icon who never was.


Director/Producer: Caveh Zahedi

Caveh Zahedi is commissioned by a Middle Eastern Biennial to make a film on the theme of art as a subversive act. Told that he can do whatever he wants except make fun of the sheik who rules the country and finances the Biennial, he decides to do just that. In The Sheik and I, Zahedi turns his camera on the Biennial itself and gleefully presses every culturally sensitive button he can find with both hilarious and unsettling consequences.


Writer/Director: Mike Birbiglia; Writer: Ira Glass, Joe Birbiglia, Seth Barrish; Producer: Ira Glass, Jacob Jaffke; Cast: Mike Barbiglia, Lauren Ambrose, Kevin Barnett.

Highly autobiographical and wildly funny, Sleepwalk With Me follows a self-deprecating bartender as he juggles a burgeoning career as a stand-up comedian, a too-serious relationship with his girlfriend, Abby, and a severe sleepwalking disorder that causes him to act out his dreams. In this startling debut, Mike Birbiglia takes his successful one-man-show to the screen with wit, charm, and poignancy.


Writer/Director: Nancy Meyers; Producer: Bruce A Block; Cast: Diane Keaton, Jack Nicholson, Amanda Peet, Keanu Reeves

Diane Keaton shines in a role in this heartfelt comedy penned by the recipient of this year’s NFF Screenwriters Tribute, Nancy Meyers. Keaton plays Erica, a divorced New York playwright who arrives at her beach house to find her young daughter, Marin, cavorting with Harry, a perennial playboy whose libido belies his age. After Harry develops chest pains, Erica reluctantly nurses him back to health-and gives him romantic heart pangs.


Writer/Director/Producer: Sarah Polley; Producer: Susan Cavan; Cast: Michelle Williams, Seth Rogen, Luke Kirby, Sarah Silverman

An intelligent, perceptive take on marriage, Take this Waltz leads the audience, laughing, through an examination of the effect of long-term relationships on love, sex, and self-image. Margot and Lou have been happily married for five years, but their steady domestic life shatters when Margot meets Daniel, a captivating neighbor. At a crossroads, Margot will have to choose between the comfort of her marriage and the mystery of a new relationship.


Writer/Director: Lawrence Blume; Writer: Judy Blume; Producers: Lawrence Blume, Judy Blume, Mark Ordesky, Ileen Maisel, Lawrence Elman; Cast: Willa Holland, Amy Jo Johnson, Cynthia Stevenson, Tatanka Means, Elise Eberle, Russell Means

Forced by her grieving mother to move to Los Alamos, New Mexico, Davey feels lost. Then Davey meets Wolf, a mysterious NativeAmerican climber, and their intense relationship brings her back from the edge. Tiger Eyes marks the first major motion picture adaptation of the work of author Judy Blume, renowned chronicler of the charged emotional private lives of teens.


Director/Producer: Joe Berlinger; Producer: Jon Kamen, Justin Wilkes

Upon release in 1986, Paul Simon’s historic Graceland album was met with political crossfire: Simon was accused of breaking the U.N. cultural boycott of South Africa designed to end apartheid. On the album’s 25th anniversary,Simon reunites with the band and embarks on an exploration of its turbulent birth. Featuring interviews with musical legends and anti-apartheid activists, Under African Skies discusses both a singular artistic achievement and the role of the artist in society.


Writer/Director: Daniel Auteuil; Producer: Alain Sarde; Cast: Jane-Pierre Daroussin, Sabine Azema, and Kad Merad

Daniel Auteuil makes his directorial debut with this sun-soaked tale of a working-class widower raising six girls at the start of World War I. When the eldest daughter becomes pregnant after a brief affair with a wealthy young pilot, her father is torn between his sense of honor and his devotion to her. Beautifully capturing the bucolic charm of the South of France, The Well Digger’s Daughter features a star turn by the luminous Astrid Berges-Frisbey and an impressively fleshed-out performance by Auteuil.


Writer/Director: Lynn Shelton; Producer: Steven Schardt; Cast: Emily Blunt, Mark Duplass, Rosemarie DeWitt, Mike Birbiglia

With raw, funny, and emotional performances from an all-star cast, Your Sister’s Sister explores the complexities of relationships with remarkable humor, sensitivity, and warmth. When Iris offers her family’s cabin to a grieving Jack, she doesn’t know that her sister, Hannah, is already there, struggling with a broken heart. After the initial awkwardness, the pair bonds over a bottle of tequila, which leads first to hilariously embarrassing sex, and then to serious consequences when Iris unexpectedly shows up the next morning.



Writer/Director/Producer: Jean-Marc Vallee; Producers: Pierre Even, Marie-Claude Poulin, Jean-Yves Robin, Nicolas Coppermann, Vanessa Fourgeaud; Cast: Vanessa Paradis, Kevin Parent, Helene Florent, Evelyne Brochu, Marin Gerrier

Nominated for an astonishing 13 Genie Awards, Cafe de Flore is a love story about people separated by time and place but connected in profound and mysterious ways: Jacqueline, a young mother to a son with Down’s syndrome in 1960s Paris, and Antoine, a recently-divorced, successful deejay in present-day Montreal. A richly satisfying, crowd-pleasing balancing act, Cafe de Flore blends love and humor, redefining compassion in places where it is seldom encountered.


Writer/Director: Denis Villeneuve; Writer: Waljdi Mouawad; Cast: Lubna Azabal, Melissa Desormeaux-Poulin, Maxim Gaudette

When their mother’s will implores twins Jeanne and Simon to deliver letters to the father they thought was dead and a brother they never knew existed, the siblings travel to the Middle East to reconstruct their family’s hidden history. During the journey, they discover the tragic fate of an exceptional woman. Adapted from a Wajdi Mouawad play, director Denis Villeneuve’s Oscar-nominated drama Incendies flashes back to intense scenes set during Lebanon’s civil war in the 1970s.


Writer: Ken Scott; Director: Jean-Francois Pouliot; Producers: Luc Vandal, Roger Frappier; Cast: David Boutin, Lucie Laurier, Raymond Bouchard, Dominic Michon-Dagenais, Guy-Daniel Tremblay

Residents of St. Marie-La-Mauderne are promised a new factory that would give the tiny fishing village a much-needed boost, provided they lure a doctor to take up full-time residency on the island. When a young physician from Montreal is forced to spend a month in the village, the townsfolk go overboard to persuade him to take the job, although their devious methods may backfire. A refreshing comedy, Seducing Dr. Lewis is one of the most popular Quebec films of all time.


Writer/Director: Ken Scott; Writer: Martin Petit; Producer: Andre Rouleau; Cast: Patrick Huard, Julie LeBreton, Antoine Bertrand

Middle-aged David discovers that when he was donating sperm to make ends meet, the clinic experienced a processing error. As a result, he fathered 533 children, and now 142 of them are suing the clinic to learn the identity of their donor. Curiosity leads David to meet his progeny anonymously, changing his life forever. A lighthearted comedy, Starbuck was the audience favorite at the Toronto International Film Festival and Quebec’s number one box office earner last year.

For further information on the 2012 Nantucket Film Festival, please visit

The Boarding House: A Grande Dame Dons Gold Lamé

By Marie-Claire Rochat

The Boarding House opens tonight for its 20th season. Prepare to be wowed.

There’s a new chef in the kitchen (Stephen Maucarelle, formerly of Minneapolis’s Victory 44, will take the helm) and some new paint on the walls of the dining room. If you’re thinking that doesn’t sound like a big deal, get ready for a surprise: while the fresh new take on the cuisine of this beloved corner eatery will delight your palette, the fresh paint will awe your eyes.

For the last month, Latvian-transplant and 15-year resident of Nantucket, Evita Caune, has been elbow-deep in plaster. Drawing on a centuries-old art form used first by the ancient Egyptians and later by the great architects of the High Renaissance, this gloriously rich and textured finish is created by applying thin layers of buttery plaster with a trowel, then burnishing the surface to create a smooth and seamless finish. It’s hard work, admitted Caune recently, as we stood in the middle of the dining room – she, weary after a day with trowel in hand – and I, stunned by the reflection the lighting cast on the glossy, Burnt Sienna-colored walls. The effect, even without the tables, chairs, proper lighting and waiters’ stations in place, is truly extraordinary. Different seating “zones” have been created through the interplay of different finishes: there is an embossed stencil over a banquette which is bathed in soft, candle-like light and, in the “owner’s corner,” a silver and gold leaf design romances diners. The whole effect is warm and inviting and cozy and intimate – and fantastically chic, too.

For the artist, the opportunity to showcase her talent in the main dining room of this popular restaurant is sweet reward after years of supplementing her decorative painting career with house painting. For Boarding House owners Seth and Angela Raynor, the chance to re-decorate the dining room of the “firstborn” in their mini restaurant-empire (which includes The Pearl and Corazon del Mar), became a necessity after a major disaster last summer.

When the ultra-cool, 475-gallon, salt-water fish tank on the floor above the Boarding House dining room ruptured last July, the room was destroyed in a matter of hours. Insulation was coming down in clumps, recalled Seth, and it didn’t take long before the floor was buckling and the electrical wires were corroding. Island-based Arena Construction worked miracles and The Boarding House was serving diners 12 days later. It was the quick fix they needed, but the dining room lacked the aesthetic the Raynor’s wanted. They knew that they would re-do the space when the restaurant closed for the season.

The result of that re-do is stunning. Inspired by trips to Burgundy and Montreal over the fall and winter, the design was very much a collaborative effort between owners and artist, explained Angela.

Seth and Angela are thrilled with the result and are quite sure that Boarding House devotees and first-timers alike will be share that feeling when they walk down the stairs from the bar for the first time. Cheers to a very good year!

Photos after this message.

Marie-Claire Rochat is a Nantucket-based writer, public relations consultant and real estate agent. Favorite topics to write about are design, art, fashion, food – and people who have an interesting story to tell. Hobbies include running, skiing and poking around New York or Boston whenever possible, as well as spending time with two busy children, Mia and Stefan. Her new column will be a regular feature in Mahon about Town.

Cru Oyster Bar


The Cru Oyster Bar will open this May at the end of Straight Wharf in the former location of The Ropewalk, with Jane Stoddard, Carlos Hidalgo and Erin Zircher as owners.

The idea for the three to collaborate and open Cru evolved from a shared vision to create something new and unique on the island by combining their different experiences and strengths.

I sat down with Jane and Carlos recently to find out more. My first question was what kind of a restaurant would Cru be. Their answer: “fresh and pristine seafood with a new take on New England classics, an upscale clam shack, gorgeous and casual.” The Cru press release calls it “casually elegant cuisine in a visually stunning waterfront location overlooking Nantucket harbor.”

As one of the few island waterfront locations, Jane and Carlos want to complement rather than compete with other waterfront restaurants, and will offer something new without redundancy. Cru will cultivate a lively nighttime bar scene, with Saturday and Sunday brunch.

Jane explained. “We were initially drawn to the name for the French meaning “raw”, and with our desire to have a strong wine program, the wine connotations of “premier” quality also spoke to us. The wine reference to “first growth” was also appealing because it’s our first project together. The play on the word ‘crew’ has also been fun to watch evolve.”


Erin, Jane, and Carlos

Jane Stoddard initially moved to Nantucket to work with Grace Grossman, and eventually took a job with Juice Guys Care, the non-profit arm of Nantucket Nectars, where she played an integral role in essential island fundraisers such as the Ozone Surf Classic, Iron Teams Relay, and Circus Flora.

After Juice Guys, Jane served as the development director for the Nantucket Boys & Girls Club for more than three years, responsible for public relations, fundraising, event planning and promoting the benefits that the club provided to the island.

From 2008-2011, Jane worked with Angela and Seth Raynor as the general manager and director of operations for the Boarding House, Pearl, and Corazon del Mar.

Carlos Hidalgo had frequently visited Nantucket for many years, moving here in the spring 2010 to work as the manager of The Boarding House and The Pearl, which he did through the end of 2011.

Before he came to the island and at the age of 24, Carlos owned and ran the multiple award-winning Bomboa in Boston from 1999 to 2006. Some of the awards Bomboa received included the Wine Spectator “Award of Excellence” from 2000-2005, Food and Wine’s Top 10 New Chefs in 2001, and Bon Appetit’s Best Latin Restaurant in the Country 2001. People Magazine named it Boston’s “sizzling dinner spot to go and to be seen” in 2001, and the Food Network named it Best Cocktails in America in 2000.

The wine director and sommelier will be Jenny Benzie, also formerly at The Pearl. Jenny is the owner of Pour Sip Savor, “an assemblage of sommelier services in Palm Beach, Nantucket and Beyond”, with a “free wine tasting guide so you can sip like a pro.” Pour Sip Savor also offers social tastings, corporate wine events, wine brand ambassadors, wine cellar and collection management, wine program development, service hospitality training, and a wine newsletter. Jenny is based in Palm Beach in the off-season.

Carlos wants the place to feel like an old yacht with driftwood, mahogany, brass and teak. The physical layout will remain basically the same, but with most of the furnishings changing.

The first room will feature a larger bar than in the past, a raw bar, and communal tables.

The middle room will showcase the broad wine selection, and will include a fireplace and new bathrooms.

The actual bar in the “back bar” will be slightly smaller than last year, with two U-shaped banquettes filling the space on the left when you walk into the room.

Susan Stacy and Jim Gauthier from Boston’s design firm of Gauthier Stacy are the designers for the project – Stacy was the interior designer of the Great Harbor Yacht Club. BPC Architecture is the on-island architect team. The renovation work is being done by Jay Hanley’s Blue Star Construction.


Erin Zircher, chef de cuisine for 8 years at The Boarding House, is Cru’s executive chef, and as a partner in the restaurant, is excited to be opening her own place. Jane describes Erin’s style as “Mediterranean combined with a French bistro palette, with a fresh take on New England classics”.

A graduate of the New England Culinary Institute, Erin’s culinary skills have been featured in the Wine Spectator, Zagat’s, Fodor’s, Rachel Ray, Nantucket Today, The Cooking Channel and

The Cru menu will highlight fresh local produce and pristine seafood. Signature dishes will include local summer flounder meunière and a Provencal-inspired seafood stew with Nantucket striped bass, saffron and Pernod.

To give you a feel for what the menu is likely to include, other items expected to be offered, subject to change of course, are:
~ A large selection of oysters featuring at least 12 varieties from east and west coasts
~ Seafood towers of oysters, clams, shrimp and other seasonal seafood
~ New England clam chowder with house-made oyster crackers
~ Local lobster rolls served either warmed and buttered or chilled with herb mayo on house-made brioche rolls
~ Cape Cod mussels steamed with Muscadet and lemon thyme, served with hand-cut frites
~ Native grilled lobster with spicy sausages, Chatham littlenecks, local potatoes and sweet corn salsa verde
~ Black angus sirloin with roasted fingerling potatoes, Pumpkin Pond Farm arugula and béarnaise.

The wine list will be broad in varietals, countries and price points, with a substantial champagne list to compliment the seafood focus. And, of course, there will be hand-crafted speciality cocktails.


Cru should be open by May 10, in time for the Nantucket Wine Festival, and will close in mid-October, then open again for Stroll. The restaurant will serve lunch, dinner and weekend brunch, and will be open all afternoon serving most items on the menu, including takeout, from 11am to 11pm.


Nantucket Restaurant News 3.21.12

Bartlett’s Farm has applied for an annual license to sell wine and beer for off-site consumption.

I contacted John Bartlett to get an idea of what he’s planning out there:

We will offer wine and beer as an additional offering and are not removing
any products to make room for them.

We have approximately 7,500 square feet
of total retail area in the farm stand. We will dedicate approximately 90 square
feet of existing retail space for the sale of wine and malt beverages for
off-site consumption.

Exactly what we’ll carry is still in the works, but we want to have a nice small selection of domestic and imported wines and beers that complement the food we’re growing and cooking. We’re thinking around 12 whites, 12 reds, and a couple of sparkling in a median price range.

Our focus will be more on the wine, but there are some great craft beers out
there that people love with food so we want to serve that customer as well. We’d love to carry Cisco products.

I see this as an extension of our
existing business and also a service to our customers. My staff is really
enthusiastic about me moving forward with this and I’m working closely with
my Head Chef, Neil Hudson to put it all together.

If the Selectmen approve the license, the application will then go to the State for approval. I hope to have the license in hand by June 1st.

Co-owners Chris Morris and Michelle St. Martin, formerly of Arno’s at 41 Main, have applied to the Board of Selectmen to operate The Pit Stop year round at the Trading Post on Nobadeer Farm Road.

Michelle and Chris plan to offer “family style barbeque, southern fried chicken and all the fixin’s available by take-out or ready to go items in the hot box. Bulk delivery and on site catering is also available. Breakfast sandwiches will be served daily in the hot box starting at 7 am.”

Expected to open in April, The Pit Stop will be open daily from 7 am to 8 pm, closed on Sundays.

The Trading Post is still serving takeout Thai food on weekends, presumably until The Pit Stop takes over.

Tess Anderson, owner of The Hub, has applied to the Selectmen to provide take-out light food and beverages at The Hub, including coffee, cappucinno, lattés, muffins and light pastries, cookies and fruit. All else will remain the same at The Hub.

Pazzo has applied to the Selectmen for an entertainment license for live instrumental music (guitar, saxophone, and keyboard) and a vocalist, as well as a dj.

Wendy Hudson of Bookworks to Run Mitchell’s Book Corner

ReMain, a part of The Schmidt Family Foundation and owner of the building that is home to Mitchell’s Book Corner, has announced the formation of Nantucket Book Partners by Wendy Hudson, the owner of Bookworks on Broad Street for 18 years. and one of the organizers of Nantucket’s first Book Festival this June 15th-17th. Nantucket Book Partners will run both Mitchell’s Book Corner and Bookworks as full-service, year-round bookstores.

“At ReMain, we like to incubate new endeavors that inspire and support the next generation in a changing marketplace, and we also want to support downtown’s key institutions to help ensure they are in place for the long term,” said Wendy Schmidt, founder of ReMain and president of The Schmidt Family Foundation. “Since we purchased Mitchell’s in 2008, the bookselling business has seen unprecedented market shifts in the explosive popularity of e-readers and the success of online giants like Independent booksellers in every market are working overtime to develop sustainable business models for their stores. Here on Nantucket, we are exceptionally fortunate to have two independent bookstores, and now, for them to combine forces while maintaining their individual characters is a realistic approach for successfully engaging this industry-wide challenge.”

Mary Jennings had been running Mitchell’s since the retirement of Mimi Beman four years ago. Mitchell’s was founded in 1968 by Henry “Mitch” Mitchell and Mary Allen Havemeyer and later run by their daughter Mimi Beman, who passed away in 2010.

“I truly believe that collaboration rather than competition is the best course for the island’s bookstores,” Wendy said. “Mitchell’s Book Corner and Bookworks will each retain their own unique personalities, but by functioning cooperatively we’ll be able to strengthen both entities and offer even more for the island’s readers.”

“The idea is to retain the best parts of each beloved store while expanding what we offer through less duplication and more cooperation. One web site, one events and offsite program, one point of sale system (sharing customer loyalty, gift card, and inventory information), yet two unique destinations that enhance downtown Nantucket. We plan to launch activities and outreach upstairs at Mitchell’s, operate with employee profit-sharing, create a volunteer program, and figure out many other ways to involve the community. Fun stuff.”

“This industry is in flux, but it has great potential if we approach it creatively in this special place. Embracing technology and listening to our customers will be the keys to success. We invite everyone to help us invent the next chapter for the stores, so please watch for new about a customer survey, dates for focus groups, and other invitations for feedback.”