Change is in the summer air at Alchemy, the landmark bistro and bar on Main Street in Edgartown, as a new ownership group, led by Todd Dagres, takes over the year-round Martha’s Vineyard establishment founded by Scott & Charlotte Caskey in 1999. Dagres – who grew up in the restaurant business and has invested in restaurants helmed by Jody Adams, Lydia Shire and most recently, Mourad Lantou of Michelin Star Mourad in San Francisco – has long admired and frequented the gem that is Alchemy. Joining the team is classically trained Erin Clarke, a rising star chef talent with Michelin Star restaurant experience under her belt, who will elevate and revive the celebrated restaurant’s culinary program. The Caskeys will continue to manage the operations alongside longtime general manager, Jay Kuss, while beverage director Meaghan Hughes will continue delighting guests with her whimsical interpretations of classic cocktails.
“Alchemy is such a special and unique spot on The Island; it’s like being part of a supper club without the membership,” said Dagres. “This summer, we plan to make Alchemy an even better version of itself, expanding on the blueprint Scott and Charlotte have lovingly created with dynamic additions like Chef Erin that will bring locals and tourists alike an unforgettable experience.”
CHEF ERIN CLARKE
Every foodie should have Erin Clarke on their radar. Raised in Fairfax County, Virginia, in a household where food, love and family were deeply intertwined, cooking is a part of Erin’s DNA and her voyage into the world of food was impressive from the start.
After attending Paris’ L’Ecole Gregoire Ferrandi and receiving the highest level of culinary education from the famed institution, she apprenticed under Paris’ three-Michelin star chef Alain Passard of L’Arpège. She later moved back to the US to refine her skills under the mentorship of James Beard Award-winning Chef Fabio Trabocchi, beginning at his legendary restaurant Maestro in McLean, Virginia, and then following him to New York City where he opened Fiamma. Named “10 Hottest DC Chefs” by OpenTable in 2016, Erin joins the fold at Alchemy after spending over five years in our nation’s capital helming the five-star kitchens of Trabocchi’s Fiola and most recently Trabocchi’s chic Italian eatery, Casa Luca.
Cooking for a US President and receiving a “thank you” note from a Supreme Court Justice are amongst the 38-year-old chef’s many career highlights. Erin has also worked as a food and nutrition educator for kids and families at nonprofit organizations including the Food Bank of Charleston and the Children’s Aid Society. Being in the kitchen with kids is one of her most fulfilling moments to this day, and she plans to continue this mission.
Erin reinvigorates Alchemy’s culinary program as Executive Chef, blending her classic French training with soulful Italian traditions. She admires the beautiful, tranquil vibe that the Caskeys created. She will infuse an “effortless dining” feel that comes with a true Parisian bistro experience into Alchemy’s existing charm while using the finest locally-sourced ingredients. Highlights from her springtime opening menu include Yellowfin Tuna Crudo (fresh herbs, garbanzos, couscous – $18); Baked Lobster & Stuffed Shells (ricotta, bisque, piennolo tomatoes – $46); and Filet of Beef Tenderloin Primavera Style (sea urchin-quail egg raviolo, spring vegetables – $38). By the start of July, Clarke will roll out a summer-themed menu that captures the essential tastes of the season while spotlighting the neighboring water’s most desired treasures from the sea.
Created by Meaghan Hughes, this Edgartown jewel’s cocktail list has been lauded by Martha’s Vineyard magazine as “Best Cocktails on the Island” for the past three years running. Hughes’ creations will now be categorized in two sections: “Tried and True,” a nod to the restaurant’s history featuring cocktail recipes people have enjoyed over the past 20 years; and a revolving “Seasonal Inspired” section, featuring bold, on-trend cocktails made with local and seasonal ingredients.
Highlights from the refreshed spring cocktail menu include the prized Winning Bet made with lavender, lemon infused Deep Eddy vodka, lemon and agave ($14); The Pastime, a twist on an Old Fashioned made with Eagle Rare 10 Year Bourbon, housemade peach bitters, sage syrup, orange peel and an oversized ice cube ($14); and the Mizu Mule made with Mizu Lemongrass Sochu, housemade limoncello, Q ginger beer and citrus ($14). Alchemy also has debuted an all-new mocktail menu catered to those looking for a refreshing sip without the guilt.
On the wine side, highly-skilled wine advisor James McNealy has worked with Hughes to enhance the breadth and depth of the restaurant’s wine program nearly tripling the number of bottles with a high-quality and expertly curated selection rooted in offering unparalleled values. A collection of the high-end reserve wines will be housed in a beautiful new, custom-made wine storing cabinet which will be on display at the top of the stairs on the restaurant’s second floor. The wine program is designed to complement Chef Erin’s culinary style and the seasonality of its composition.
With three distinct concepts under one roof, Alchemy offers a setting for any mood or occasion – whether you prefer the bright and bustling environment of the first-floor bistro, an elegant dining room on the second floor or want to cozy up in front of a fireplace tucked away upstairs, there’s a seat for everyone’s liking. Under its new ownership, Alchemy has refreshed its façade, added bright aquatic-inspired artwork by celebrated Vineyard artist Terry Crimmen and installed a state-of-the-art sound system which will showcase curated playlists dictated by the restaurant’s various service periods.
Alchemy is open Thursday through Tuesday beginning at 5:30pm. Alchemy is located at 71 Main Street in Edgartown. For more information, please visit www.alchemyedgartown.com or follow Alchemy on Instagram at @AlchemyMV.
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