ReMain Taps Ventuno, Pip & Anchor Teams To Run The Corner Table
Jason Graziadei •
Some familiar island faces will be taking the torch from Greg and Joy Margolis to reopen The Corner Table and Nantucket Culinary Center this spring.
ReMain Ventures on Thursday named the new tenant to run the downtown establishments: a group calling itself “Un Altro” will take over the cafe and culinary center, led by Taylor Oliver and Andrea Solimeo of Ventuno and Via Mare, in partnership with Chris Sleeper and Mayumi Hattori of Pip & Anchor, and Asher Smith, formerly of Smith Solute.
The establishments will keep the names Corner Table and Nantucket Culinary Center, and the plan is for the cafe to reopen by the annual Daffodil Festival in late April, with the Culinary Center and first floor pop-ups progressively coming online over the subsequent months.
“Our number one goal is to provide continuity to the Nantucket community,” said Cecil Barron Jensen, executive director of ReMain Ventures. “We are thrilled that this team not only understands the importance of the Corner Table within the fabric of the community, but also has the experience, the skills and the vision to jump right in and open its doors to provide us with a place to gather, to eat and to feel at home in the downtown."
Un Altro, which is Italian for “another one,” will be led Oliver, Solimeo, and Smith, who will handle day-to-day operations. Sleeper and Hattori will take the lead on education, community events, and pop-ups, while also advising on local food sourcing and developing a ‘Pip Stop’ market to create more opportunities to connect food growers, makers, buyers and eaters.
“The Corner Table Cafe has brought life to the downtown community for the last seven years,” said Solimeo. “It offers a place of repose, collaboration and connection. The Margolis’ legacy, plus the ongoing vision and commitment of ReMain Ventures, forged a path. We now have an incredible opportunity to innovate and enrich, while honoring an institution that has been so meaningful to so many in our community—my own kids included. We are so excited for the evolution of the cafe.”
Greg and Joy Margolis, who founded The Corner Table and Nantucket Culinary Center and ran them for the past seven years, will be involved in the transition to the new business operators as they prepare to reopen the doors.
The downstairs cafe will continue to operate as a year-round, all-day gathering spot offering coffee, prepared sandwiches, salads and snacks with a local, sustainability focus.
“Nantucket is our home, and we have an obvious affinity for this little stretch of Federal Street,” said Oliver. “The Culinary Center won’t just be about education, but also about connection and belonging. We’ll highlight and mobilize local talent, use our resources for social good and establish deeper connections to those with shared values across the culinary, food and hospitality worlds. We’d like to be a beating heart for Nantucket, circulating vitality throughout the island to build a more resilient, connected and thriving community.”
The partnership with Pip & Anchor will allow the team to host a regular series of pop-up opportunities for customers to purchase a mix of groceries and produce, prepared foods and makers' goods, including locally grown food. The real estate where the small grocery store and market is located at 14 Amelia Drive is also owned by ReMain Ventures, which acquired it from Annye Camara in March 2021.
“Pip & Anchor is a mission-driven project committed to being part of a stronger, more equitable food system that nourishes our local economy and community,” said Chris Sleeper. “We share so many values with Dre, Taylor and their teams, especially a love of hospitality—this is the common thread running through this project and our work at Pip. We’re excited to join forces and continue to make local food more accessible to our community.”
How did the partnership between the owners of Ventuno and Pip & Anchor come about?
“Literally walking by and in line at the Corner Table,” Sleeper said with a laugh. “Sort of those ‘imagine if’ convos. We’ve always been friends with those guys. We then had coffees which turned into meetings, which seemed to turn into the sort of conversations we wish for ourselves and others to have in that space for many years to come. Our mission and vision for hospitality and growth in this community align in the same way it aligns with Remain. Pip was built inside the walls of 22 federal while we were under construction. Greg would always give Mayumi and me some quiet corner to have a Zoom meeting in. And we’ve always found ourselves in Ventuno, Via or feeding our staff Gemelle after work.”
The new partners have known each other for years working in the island's restaurant industry. “We’ve just always been in each others’ realms professionally, Taylor was somm at Straight Wharf when Mayumi was the cdc (chef de cuisine), Mayumi has helped out at Ventuno for Strolls in years past, Sleeper has filled in as floor manager and somm roles in the offseason when we needed help,” Solimeo said “We’ve always just liked working together.”
The inclusion of Asher Smith on the leadership team will add an individual who has managed teams, projects and organizations all over the world, according to ReMain.
Following the Margolis' announcement that they would be stepping away from The Corner Table and the Nantucket Culinary Center last year, ReMain announced a formal request for proposals (RFP) process seeking a new tenant to carry on their vision for the downtown property.
"We received 10 amazing responses from candidates with a wide variety of skills and experiences," Barron Jensen said. "The majority were local community members but we did have some applicants from off island. It’s a tribute to Joy and Greg that we had so much interest in the opportunity to take over operations at 22 Federal."
ReMain Ventures is a branch of Wendy and Eric Schmidt’s ReMain Nantucket, the organization that has acquired a growing portfolio of real estate around the island that it has filled with local businesses including the Born and Bread bakery on Centre Street, Pip & Anchor, Mitchell’s Book Corner, the Nantucket Community Music Center and the Nantucket Community School at 56 Centre Street. Most recently, ReMain Ventures acquired 5 Amelia Drive, the former Keepers Restaurant space, which it intends to create a "business incubator" and commissary kitchen, with the goal of improving local and regional food systems on Nantucket and across the Northeast.