Homecoming: Chef Colin Bixby Returning To Nantucket To Lead Sconset Cafe

Jason Graziadei •

Sconset cafe
Photo by @SconsetAndBeyond

For chef Colin Bixby, the summer of 2023 will not only be a homecoming, but also the realization of a long-held dream.

Bixby, a Nantucket native who grew up on the island, will be returning home to run The Sconset Cafe, the beloved seasonal restaurant located at 8 Main Street at the Sconset rotary. The property has been owned by his family since 1983.

Chef Colin Bixby

“I am very excited to be taking over the kitchen at The Sconset Cafe this summer,” Bixby told the Current this week. “The cafe has been a staple amongst the Siasconset community for more than 40 years and it’s one that I know many of the local and summer residents really enjoy. I think when people come to the cafe, they come to enjoy the elegant dining experience in a charmingly unique setting that mirrors the vibe of the town of Sconset itself. I don’t plan to change much.”

After traveling the country and the world to pursue his culinary career, Bixby had the unexpected opportunity to come back to Nantucket to run the cafe after its previous leaseholder and proprietor - chef Alex Ulgenalp - informed the family he would not be renewing the lease.

After a brief period of uncertainty over the future of The Sconset Cafe, chef Bixby decided it was his time to take the torch and continue the restaurant’s 40-year run.

“It is true that there wasn’t much time between when my family was informed the previous tenant would not be returning this season and when restaurants traditionally open for the season,” Bixby said. “However, it’s also true that I have always had a dream to return home to Nantucket and run a restaurant out of the cafe. Alex was a great tenant, a talented chef and a member of the Sconset community. There certainly were/are a lot of pieces that need to fit into place to be able to make opening this season a possibility. I’ve been very grateful for Alex’s support in this transition. I know I speak for my whole family when I say we wish him the best of luck in his future endeavors.”

Bixby said customers will still be able to view the kitchen while their dishes are being prepared, and he intends to keep The Sconset Cafe’s BYOB policy while making only a few changes to the menu. He emphasized that he still needs to finish completing the necessary permits and inspections with the town’s licensing agencies, but if all goes according to plan, The Sconset Cafe will be open by the second week of July through the end of August for 2023. The restaurant will have two seatings per night at 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. with some takeout orders in between, and the last pick-up at 9:45 p.m.

“It's been a bit of a whirlwind, but also incredibly exciting,” Bixby said.

Bixby got his start in the culinary world during his time at Nantucket High School when he joined Bob Buccino’s culinary arts program. Through those classes he made connections with local restaurateurs Seth and Angela Raynor, and later worked at their establishments on Federal Street: The Boarding House and The Pearl.

“They were incredible mentors and excellent restaurateurs who taught me so much about the proper way to run a kitchen and restaurant,” Bixby said. “They also helped guide me towards receiving a scholarship to the New England Culinary Institute, or NECI, in Vermont.”

After he graduated, Bixby went on to work in restaurants in California, New York City, Vietnam and Italy. Most recently, he had the opportunity to work as a private chef for a family that allowed him to travel the world cooking for their family and friends. The family has been very supportive of his decision to return home and take over The Sconset Cafe, Bixby said.

As for what people can expect when the doors of The Sconset Cafe (hopefully) reopen in July?

“Customers can expect to share in my dream becoming a reality while dining on delicious food, served up in a cozy cafe that is nestled right in the heart of 'Sconset,” Bixby said.

Loading Ad
Loading Ad
Loading Ad

Current News