Julia Celeste, Tina Miller, and Rachel Fox are the trifecta of brains and brawn behind the new Rosewater Market in Edgartown. On a sunny afternoon a few weeks before their opening last month, all three sat on the market’s front steps chatting and planning, talking about the merits of fancy peanut butter versus Teddy’s and idling over iced tea with a sense of calm that, one suspected, would not likely be sustainable through July, let alone into August.
This past January, Celeste’s parents bought the historic home at 20 South Summer Street, which was until recently the location of the clothing store Very Vineyard. With preservation in mind, construction began soon after.
“We wanted to make it look like it’s always been here,” said Celeste, who is overseeing the products for the market, which will include a range of everyday essentials such as eggs, milk, and local produce, as well as specialty products, novelty snacks, and an exclusive Rosewater coffee blend by Todd Christy at Chilmark Coffee Company. Both indoor and outdoor seating will be available for their selection of to-go foods.
The three women, who met in 2013 while working at various other Island eateries, are clear about their vision for the space: a neighborhood market where people can get their groceries, fixings for dinner, coffee, a newspaper, or a sandwich. The building served that purpose in the 1800s, said Celeste. “It feels like we’re bringing it home.”
Unpretentious and delicious comes naturally to Miller, whose first restaurant on the Island was the legendary Roadhouse in West Tisbury at the current location of State Road Restaurant. With thirty years of kitchen expertise on the Island, she said the idea of Rosewater is based on need. “There are so many people in downtown Edgartown. And not many places they can grab-and-go their lunch or dinner.” Her plan for the menu is simple; she has no interest in reinventing the wheel. “We just want to complement what’s already here. This is a community.”
Not wanting to tip her hand too much in advance of the opening, the women were coy on specific dishes though Miller hinted at “really good breakfast sandwiches” served on fresh-baked English muffins with homemade linguica.
Those English muffins, and all the other baked goods, are a specialty of Fox, the third of the triumvirate. She came to the Island by way of Los Angeles, where she baked at Gjelina and Gjusta, a pair of very hip and very successful venues in Venice. Lunch sandwiches will be available on homemade ciabatta, along with a rotating selection of fresh-pressed juices and homemade ice cream sandwiches and popsicles.
Perhaps most exciting to Edgartonians, who are used to watching their dining options dwindle through the fall, Rosewater plans to be open year round. “We all live here; this is home,” said Miller.
But first, they have to get through August. The women are resolutely nonchalant about opening “into the fire” in the midst of summer.
“We are just going to work with good people every day and make good food,” said Celeste, “I’m sure we’ll make mistakes. Everyone does.”