Nantucket has been a playground for the rich and famous, families, couples and young
singles for many years. Nantucket offers many accessible beaches with free parking.
Nantucket also has shopping and dining. Food on Nantucket ranges from a quick slice at pizza place on the strip to fine dining at one of many sit down establishments. There are no chains or franchises on the island so each is an individual, one-of-a-kind joint with one exception. I eat at all of these places that I will talk about so this is NOT just a list of restaurants. First we will start with some breakfast. Here are the 10 best Nantucket restaurants you need to try:
Fog Island Café
Downtown on South Water Street is Fog Island Café. Fog Island serves breakfast and
lunch, and is actually a favorite of my oldest and youngest daughters. My oldest
daughter is a vegetarian and it meets her needs. They have been raised on more
natural and organic foods than is my choice. Fog Island serves a wholesome, nutritious
breakfast. I usually opt for an omelet with home fries and multi-grain toast. Black
beans can be substituted for home fries and egg whites are an option for whole eggs.
‘Wonder Bread’ is NOT an option here. There are many food choices but include
French toast, pancakes, oatmeal, fresh fruit, breakfast sandwiches on bread, English
muffin, biscuit or bagel. There are pancakes and sides of meat for carnivores like me.
In-town, Fog Island is a great breakfast but get there early because the line forms
quickly especially on the weekends.
My favorite breakfast place is The Downeyflake at 18 Sparks Avenue, across from the
fire station, near the Stop & Shop. The Downeyflake occupied that space that is now
Fog Island Café for many years. It moved but maintained its specialness as a true diner
serving breakfast and lunch. Nothing fancy here. Just a great breakfast or lunch with
all of your diner favorites. Additionally they make their own fresh donuts and pastries
each morning. There is usually a line in the morning just for these despite the fact that
there are at least four other bakeries on the island including the not to be missed
Nantucket Bake Shop. In the summer, there is a mix of the regular year-round crowd
and the summer visitors who want a hearty breakfast of eggs, home fries, pancakes or
French toast. They also have a great lunch menu with daily specials for dine in or take
Easy Street Cantina
Another breakfast option is Easy Street Cantina at the corner of Broad and Easy
Streets, just up from the Steamship Ferry Terminal. Easy Street Cantina serves
breakfast, lunch and dinner. It is the first place to get food as you get off the Steamship
or the last place to get food before you get on the Steamship to leave the island. Easy
Street is open early and closes late so is convenient in that way too. It has indoor and
outdoor seating as well as to go dining. I recommend the breakfast sandwiches before
you get on a morning ferry or to take to the beach. Though I put this in the breakfast
category, I most often go to Easy Street Cantina for ‘Wing Night’.
Brotherhood of Thieves
Next is lunch and dinner. Several but not all of these serve breakfast too. First in-Town
on Broad Street is Brotherhood of Thieves, otherwise known as The Brotherhood.
The Brotherhood has been around since 1972. It is a pub-type bar and restaurant, 2 ½
blocks from the Steamship terminal. It is also one of the most popular places for the
year-round crowd and the summer onslaught. The ambience is a large part of the
popularity but also serves good food and drink. The menu includes at least eight beers
on tap as well as at least six bottled beers. There are wines by the glass and more than
fifteen wines by the bottle. The spirits list consists of more than ten single malt
scotches, more than thirty bourbons and ryes, in addition to whiskeys, gins, rums and
cordials. As a bar, there is a variety of sandwiches, Buffalo wings, pot pie, fries and
many other options. I have to admit that I was impressed with the House-made Chorizo
Sliders with Manchego cheese, arugula, lemon aioli and piqullo-cranberry pepper jam.
This place is a must.
On Straight Wharf, near the Hy-Line Ferry, are Provisions at 3 Harbor Square and
Ōath Pizza at 44 Straight Wharf.
Provisions is a sandwich shop that has been a staple since 1973. It is a breakfast and
lunch establishment with breakfast sandwiches, pastries, lunch sandwiches and salads.
There are vegetarian and gluten-free options. Breads are quite hearty and very tasty.
The breads include whole wheat, herb, ciabatta and Portuguese. They are known best
for their lunch sandwiches. Sandwich choices include BLT (one of my favorites with
double bacon), smoked ham and Swiss, Italian, caprese, curried chicken salad (my
other favorite), Sicilian tuna, hummus and baked organic tofu to name some. Their
most popular sandwich seems to be the Turkey Terrific which is smoked turkey, stuffing,
cranberry sauce and mayo on Portuguese bread (I like this one too). This is definitely a
go-to place if you are heading off-island on the Hy-Line and want a good, easy meal to
eat on the boat.
Ōath Pizza is not a chain as far as I can tell but is part of a group of eight restaurants
owned by its owners. Ōath is right next to the Hy-Line Ferry boarding platform. It is a
thin crust pizza that is baked to order in about five minutes. There are seven signature
pizzas with Spicy Mother Clucker being my favorite. One can order a classic cheese,
classic pepperoni or classic sausage. Of course there is a vegetarian option.
Additionally there are the ‘Selfie’s. This is your choice of toppings on a pizza made to
order. Like many others, I LOVE PIZZA. This is my favorite pizza on the island but
hate that it is only open during the tourist season. Ōath reports using artisanal and
sustainably-sourced products. This is pizza that I could eat almost weekly year round.
LoLa Burger is at 1 Sparks Avenue, at the Sparks Avenue, Orange Street, Old South
Road, Milestone Road Rotary. This is a specialty burger place with other options. It has
indoor seating, seating on the porch and picnic table seating out front. I usually sit out
front at a picnic table so that I can people watch. LoLa burger is a bit pricey but I like it.
I usually get a classic burger with onion, Swiss cheese, Applewood bacon and barbecue
sauce with simple fries. In addition to lettuce and tomato, other possible toppings
include four other cheeses, Kim Chi, Avocado, Fried Egg and least five different sauces.
Their specialty burgers include a Falafel burger, Lamb burger, The Lola Burger with
Foie Gras sauce, Korean Pork burger and Tuna burger. If a burger is not on your radar
that day, sushi is also an option.
B-ACK Yard BBQ
At 20 Straight Wharf, the lower part of Main Street, is B-ACK Yard BBQ. The B-ACK is
a play on the Nantucket airport call letters ACK. I will preface this by saying that I am
from Kansas City so grilling and barbecue is in my blood. I almost never go to Kansas
City without eating barbecue. I have eaten at up to six barbecue joints in Kansas City
during the Thanksgiving holiday. B-ACK Yard BBQ is the only barbecue place on the
island and a relatively newcomer. It seems to be quite popular and is frequently
packed. It has a good selection of beers and wines and has a full bar. It also has a
good selection of sides.
Someone obviously did their homework because it has the right atmosphere and the
right selection of meats and we all know that a barbecue place is about the meats.
B-ACK Yard has kielbasa in place of the usual sausage but it is pretty good. They have
pork ribs, pork shoulder and chicken. To my surprise they have what I consider the
mandatory brisket and burnt ends. It was pretty good and I would consider eating there
again. It is not quite my taste like Kansas City barbecue. Again, it seems to be pretty
busy almost every evening in the summer.
Kitty Murtagh’s, at 4 West Creek Road, is the “authentic” Irish Pub & Restaurant on
the island. There is a good-sized Irish population on the island and I have never been
to Ireland so I have to take their word for it. One thing for sure, I like Kitty’s. I actually
go there for the food as opposed to the drinking. The menu includes burgers, ribs,
seafood chowder and wings. They also have chicken pie, steak & potato pie, seafood
pie and Shepherd’s Pie (my favorite dish at Kitty’s). Their Guinness Battered Fish &
Chips is quite good too. The menu also includes sausage & chips, Bangers & Mash,
Fry Up with black and white pudding, grilled swordfish, hanger steak and roasted prime
rib. Kitty’s is open year round and despite is being a pub, it is also frequented by
families with children. There is a pool table if you are just interested in hanging out with
friends and having a pint. Sports are always on their television monitors.
The Thai House
Lastly is The Thai House. This Asian restaurant is operated by an Asian
family and serves a variety of Asian cuisine. It is at 118 Old South Road, near the
airport. It has a long menu so almost everyone should be able to find something that
they like. They have soups, curries, sushi, Thai noodles and fried rice. I usually get
what I call my Asian junk food. This is usually pork fried rice, chicken tenders, beef
teriyaki, fried pork dumplings and beef and broccoli. They do not have my last favorite,
boneless spare ribs. I have also had there Pad Thai and liked it. One can eat in but
Thai House is usually done as take out. They do not deliver but if you call in your order,
it is usually ready within 20 minutes. Thai House is close to where I live so it is on my
usual rotation because I like the food and the 20-minute turn-around.
This is by no means a definitive list of Nantucket restaurants or even a complete list of
the places that I eat at regularly or have eaten at least once. Nantucket is a great place
to visit with a great selection of food. I did not even mention any of the seafood places
because I am not much of a fish eater.