Written By: Joshua Bradford Gray | Photography By: Kit Noble

Lemon Press reopens with a brand new look, feel and flavor on Main Street.

What began as a small grab-and-go eatery on Centre Street four years ago, Lemon Press has now morphed into a trendy new restaurant on Main Street, featuring fresh, health-conscious, Middle-Eastern and Mediterranean cuisine and a variety of delicious smoothies, cold-pressed juices and specialty coffee. “We want people to feel like they can come here for all their meals, guilt-free, and have some really quality food,” says owner Darya Afshari, who opened Lemon Press with her cousin Rachel. “Knowing there weren’t a lot of great options to eat fast and healthily, Lemon Press seemed like something Nantucket needed.”

The freshly renovated restaurant on 41 Main Street features full-service seating for all meals and is open daily for breakfast, lunch, dinner and late-night cocktails. Working with designer Melanie Gowen, the Afsharis have put an entirely new look, feel and flavor on the former longtime location of Arno’s. Authentic totem poles, tie-dyed motifs, brick, grass and an overall bohemian feel define the space, while the Lemon Press menu doubles down on the flavors that originally drew many of their loyal patrons. “We have a lot of small, mezze-style plates with dips and spreads, fresh pita made in-house and entrees full of fresh, thoughtful ingredients with flavorful and zesty herbs,” describes co-owner Rachel Afshari, who remembers the days of running their former kitchen almost single-handedly. Now, in addition to their longtime manager Taylor Minore and almost forty summertime employees, the Afsharis have brought in chefs Alex Howard and Soni Akshay to orchestrate their lunch and dinner menus.

“I want to try to bring people under one roof and have them experience the soul of the world,” says Chef Akshay. “With the menu, my main vision is to try to bring the east, center and the west of the world together. The medium that I found to connect them is the ancient method of cooking directly on fire.” With the help of a traditional Japanese robata grill, Chef Akshay creates flavors diners simply can’t find elsewhere on the island.

New additions to the dinner menu include octopus accented by saffron, cumin, honey and crudités vegetables; a kebab with veal, shrimp, herbs, Mediterranean spices and pistachios; and a broccolini dish featuring garlic aioli, Aleppo chili pepper and dehydrated lime. The dips and hummus options are largely vegetarian but also include lamb Borek in a pastry and ceviche prepared daily based on the catch. To finish the meal, there are several options on the dessert menu including a house-made baklava made with rose water, almonds and pistachios.

Entering the high season, the Lemon Press team hopes their new and improved headquarters will serve the hearts (and stomachs) of the community. As Chef Akshay put it, “I want people to experience our mind and heart on a plate at Lemon Press.” This month, they will be hosting a special event for the Nantucket Book Festival on the evening of June 14th. From there, Lemon Press will continue to write the next chapter in their own juicy story.

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