The Barn Bowl and Bistro
This Week: Where are you from, Zach?
Zach Wilson: I’m from Block Island, originally. So just traded up for a larger island, you know?
TW: Where is that, exactly?
ZW: It’s just off the coast of Rhode Island. Maybe 40 or 50 miles on a boat, so it’s very close. Pretty similar situation as here, just a little smaller. The year round population is about a thousand… So if you think winters are bad out here, you’re in for something else if you go out to Block Island.
TW: When did you move out to the Vineyard?
ZW: Just before the 4th of July. My girlfriend and I had been trying to make it out since around Memorial Day, but we couldn’t find housing. When we did, everything came through at the last second. We ended up coming out here, finding jobs the next day. Loving life out here now though, we’re glad everything worked out.
TW: Yeah, some aren’t so lucky as far as housing goes… where did you guys end up?
ZW: We’re out in Chilmark. It’s a little bit of a drive to work, but it’s nice because we’re both in the service industry: we both come and hang down here for the day with all the people, but then when we want some quiet time, we just go home. It’s nice and peaceful out there, so we’ve got the best of both sides of the island.
TW: First summer out here?
ZW: It is!
TW: How do you like it so far?
ZW: I love it! I’ve been doing a lot of exploring since I’ve gotten here: beaches, all that good stuff. So much nature out here, so many trails to hike. And the local population here is so down to earth, it’s refreshing. Everywhere I go, people are just so welcome and inviting. I couldn’t ask for any more than that.
TW: Do you do the whole tourism trade thing? Like, where do you spend your winters?
ZW: Generally, yes. The past three winters, I’ve been up in Mount Snow, Vermont working at the Summit bar up there doing similar stuff. But my girlfriend and I are considering staying out here for the winter this time, just because I’m in a couple year-round positions and she’d be able to find one here, too. It’d be nice to pursue our hobbies a little bit and take a break from the pace of the whole service industry deal. We’ll see how it goes.
TW: Well, that’s what’s nice about the Barn–it’s a year round place that’s consistently local.
ZW: Yeah, with the bowling leagues going on and a local crowd that keeps coming in the off-season. And it’s definitely a family atmosphere here: the management here is great, we all hang out after work. It’s a real team, so that makes it function a lot easier too.
TW: Yeah, it’ll stay busy in here during the off-season, that’s for sure.
ZW: I was talking to one of the owners here, and he told me that this is one of the only restaurants on the island that was built specifically for the other nine months of the year. Obviously, we want a good summer and it’s helpful, but the template of the restaurant was to cater to the months of the year when the tourists aren’t around and the locals are out again.
TW: And it definitely helps that you’ve got a new chef with a killer new menu. What you like the most?
ZW: I’m a big fan of the burgers, honestly. I’m Irish, so I’m a meat and potatoes kind of guy. I had the Jerk Burger for dinner last night–it’s awesome. But the dumplings on the app menu are great too. They taste great but the presentation is beautiful, you can’t ask for much more than that. What I like most though is the range of options we’ve got on here. There’s something for whatever kind of mood I’m in.
TW: How about your draft list back there? What do you like?
ZW: I’m a wheaty guy, so I like the Stony Creek Sun Juice or the Blue Moon. But every once in a while if I’m eating dinner I’ll go with one of the IPA’s–in which case I’ll go with the Baxter IPA from Maine. Just because I like exploring local brews. That’s one of the great parts of living out here in the Northeast–Vermont especially–there’s just so many good breweries to experience.
TW: Well, Vermont… what’s your Heady Topper story?
ZW: Oh, I had my first Heady Topper just this past winter. My girlfriend and I went to Stowe on vacation for a five-day trip, and Prohibition Pig is one of the places that sells it–you have to be within like, twenty miles of the brewery for them to sell it, I guess. It was delicious, definitely lives up to its reputation. Wouldn’t advise having more than two of them though. I was definitely feeling a little buzz after just one of them!