The Heart and Soul of Sconset

Scoset Cafe
By Tori Eversmann

It’s almost impossible to write something innovative about Nantucket that hasn’t already been covered: fog rolling in “on little cat feet¹,” the sweet fragrance of privet hedge that belies a sense of order and privacy, cobblestone streets and shelled driveways, the grey-shingle house aesthetic, an unparalleled and violent whaling history, the beautiful sandy beaches…the list is long. This scrappy island’s reputation precedes itself in many permutations. However, one cherished location is not often in the spotlight. Siasconset or ‘Sconset as it became known locally when it was a tiny fishing village as early as the late seventeenth century, seven miles out from town.


Sconset: spend a year, a season, or a dazzling summer day and you’ll soon know why

Nowhere else in America is there a community quite like ‘Sconset. Beautifully preserved as a seasonal retreat overlooking the Atlantic at Nantucket’s east end, ‘Sconset’s sea breezes, slightly cooler temps than in town and absence of mosquitoes make it an ideal place of relaxation and enjoyment. ‘Sconset has its own following; spend a year, a season, or a dazzling summer day and you’ll soon know why. Because of the seasonality of Nantucket, especially ‘Sconset which all but shuts down in the winter, operating a successful eatery must have its own set of challenges. But chef-proprietor Alex Ulgenalp of the Sconset Café cracked the code.

Our Sconset Favorites

Sconset Café is an impressive contribution to the island’s saturated dining scene. It’s an intimate, open kitchen restaurant honest with its preparation of food. My foodie family and I ate dinner there Tuesday – an annual tradition – and the meals did not hesitate to impress with their structure and flavor. My husband relished the savory braised short rib with its creamy cheese grits. The tuna tartare is my daughter’s favorite, arriving with Asian guacamole, wakame salad, srirachi aioli, and wonton chip.. Chef Alex crafts a smart, elegant peanut crusted halibut with a sublime curry sauce that I would order over and over again. Our friends devoured the chicken tikka tacos served with garlic naan. Laid-back yet sophisticated, they offer two seatings at 6pm and 8pm – no credit cards accepted. They score big points for being BYOB so don’t forget to pick up a bottle of wine next store at The Bookstore to enjoy with your meal…and the best part – whether you bring in one bottle or fifteen, the price to imbibe is only $3 per person.

View slide show below to experience Eversmann favorites