Whether you’re eating in, grilling out or picnicking, a stop at Shepherd’s Provisions in Tisbury will significantly expand your dining options. The shop, open just since last fall, has already earned a loyal following for its carry-out crab cakes, beef shepherd’s pie and roasted chicken salads.

Former Island restaurateurs Kira and John Shepherd, who owned Ipanema in Vineyard Haven and have worked at other Island eateries over the years, opened Shepherd’s Provisions last September after a three-week summer try-out “to sort of figure everything out,” Kira told the Vine.

Retail catering makes for a better work-life balance than restaurant work, she added. “John was always in restaurants when our children were little, and they wouldn’t see him Thursday through Sunday.” Now that the couple’s two boys are teens, “I need Dad around for backup sometimes,” she laughed.

So different is Shepherd’s from a restaurant that there is not even a menu. The “grab and go” cooler always has a variety of roast chicken salad, Kira said, and customers can usually count on finding the couple’s popular beef and mushroom shepherd’s pie, turkey chili and lump crab cakes.

The crab cakes are one of John’s specialties, with a high proportion of crab meat that requires careful handling. In the shop, they come in packages of four two-ounce cakes, but the Shepherds will take special orders for bite-size appetizer cakes or burger-size dinner cakes. Or you can follow John’s recipe which he generously shared with the Vine, and make your own. The crabcakes would be great as either a starter with a light green salad, or as a main with crushed potatoes and sautéed spinach.

This Memorial Day weekend, if you’re thinking of spreading out on a picnic blanket instead of eating in, pick up some of Shepherd’s housemade pickles and preserves or something from their variety of sweet and savory treats such as biscotti, coconut haystacks, chocolate-covered marshmallows, macaroons, cheese straws, Sriracha maple almonds, and lighter-than-air crackers. Pimiento cheese is another Shepherd’s specialty. John comes from Georgia, where the tangy cheese blend is a well-known regional dish.

To round out your summer cooking kit, you can also get a box of flaky Maldon sea salt, a bottle of aromatic truffle seasoning, a variety of oils and vinegars, and Italian 00 flour for pasta and pizza.

And stand by for more prepared items from John this summer—vegetarian dishes, salads, kimchi and more.

“We just keep adding things,” Kira said. “The busier we get, the more variety we can make.”


Recipe for John Shepherd's Crab Cakes.