Imagine a 50-seat shack on the Martha’s Vineyard coastline filled with mismatched tables and chairs, 50s-style signs and artwork and a diverse mix of folks from all over the east coast. I was so feeling all of this at the Art Cliff Diner that my husband and I dined there three mornings in a row.
Perhaps it was the music – loud echoes of moody female rock singers. Or maybe it was the big, bright dahlias on the plastic table clothes. (I’m a sucker for dahlias.) I think it could have also been the rhythm or flow of the words on the menu – “Fresh Ricotta & Pear Crepes with Warm Maple Syrup”… I don’t know about you, but fresh + crepes + warm + syrup = poetry to me.
On my first visit, the scallion potato pancakes with apple butter and sour cream lured me in. My photos aren’t perfect, but you get the idea. I loved the savory (potato, scallion) with the sweet (apple, sugar, butter).
I begged them to jar-up their apple butter, but no luck. They do jar their homemade berry jam which I had in their sour cream jam-filled muffins on my second visit there. More bakers should stuff jam into homemade muffins. Everyone should stuff homemade jam into everything.
The wait was long for those who stumbled in after 8:30 AM. We were early risers, since we were sleeping at a motel that was only a stone’s throw from the ferry. We never felt rushed to move on by either the servers or the throngs of would-be customers on the porch. We felt at home and I guess that’s why we returned each morning, to our makeshift family.
Despite loving the poetry, I didn’t get the ricotta crepes, but did have the more simple lemon and sugar crepe on my last visit there. There’s nothing quite yummier than lemon and sugar, with a sifting of powdered sugar on top.
Specials change daily; please do pay a visit next time you’re on the island.
The Art Cliff Diner is located at 39 Beach Rd, Vineyard Haven, Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, 0256; 508-693-1224.
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