Written By: Giovanna DiRusso | Photography By: Kit Noble

Healthy, fast-casual eating has arrived on South Water Street.

Nantucketers have longed for a healthy, fast-casual eating option downtown where they can pop in for a freshly made meal and leave without a shred of guilt. Newly opened this season, The Beet on South Water Street has delivered this and a whole heck of a lot more. Set in a bright, inviting space that reflects the fresh flavors found behind the line, The Beet boasts a robust, made-to-order menu of signature salads, sandwiches and bowls, complete with beer and wine. “We cater to people who are looking for easy dining, a welcomed alternative to all our fancy restaurants on-island,” says Felino Samson, who co-owns The Beet with Amy Young. “We’re also serving up good vibes, good jams and an upbeat atmosphere that reflects the heartbeat of the town.”

Indeed, from the moment you enter, The Beet exudes the fresh, healthy feeling the owners want you to leave with after dining. Wearing bright pink hats and fun t-shirts reading “Stay Up Beet” and “Eat Beet Repeat,” the staff are warm, courteous and excited to serve you. The tone is set by Young, whose warm smile many will recognize from her years managing CRU restaurant on Straight Wharf. “I can’t tell you how long I’ve wanted to open my own place,” gushes Young, who met her Beet business partner Samson while he was a consulting chef at CRU. “But more importantly, I wanted to give the island an option it was desperately missing.”

True to its name, The Beet incorporates the nutrient-rich veggie in two salads, one bowl and two beverages. “But we want to open up the island to try new flavors,” says Samson, who has infused his Filipino background into some of his ingredient choices on the menu. “We do not want to stand for just one thing—like salads.” The Beet has definitely succeeded on that front. As a whole, the menu offers a lot of options—from brioche beignets to sweet potato fries—without straying too far from the healthy focus that anchors the eatery.

The Beet serves a wide selection of breakfast options, with stand-outs like the “Egg-cellent Tartine” (egg salad, summer black truffles, served on ciabatta) and the “After Tequila Sunrise Bowl” (brown rice, smoked black beans, cherry tomatoes, avocado, cilantro, and tortilla chips, served with either poached eggs or chicken). There’s also overnight oats, granola and avocado toast. Samson points to their “Breakfast Club” with egg, cheddar, smoked bacon, caramelized onion aioli and arugula, served on a potato bun as a particular fan favorite. Finally, their brioche beignets—think gourmet Dunkin’ Donuts Munchkins—are warm, cinnamon-glazed, bite-sized morsels from heaven.

Lunch comes with a diverse selection of salads, sandwiches and bowls. The salads are portioned generously, with favorites like the “Kung Fu Fighter” (Napa cabbage, romaine lettuce, hoisin chicken, edamame, water chestnuts, radishes, peas and crispy wontons tossed with sesame ginger soy dressing), the “Greek Goddess” (romaine lettuce, arugula, cucumber, tomatoes, pickled red onion, Kalamata olives, pepperoncini, fried chickpeas and feta cheese tossed in red wine vinaigrette) and, of course, “The Beet Goes On” (butter lettuce, quinoa, roasted beets, raspberries, Bûcheron goat cheese, basil and chives served with sherry lime dressing).

For those not in the mood for greens, there’s also the “Hokey Pokey Bowl” with sushi-style ahi tuna, quinoa, spinach, seaweed salad and avocado, accented with a basil aioli. The signature sandwich is the chicken burger with a flavorful umami glaze. The shrimp burger, a rather unique fish sandwich option, is slathered in zesty beet horseradish tartar sauce. Rounding out the sandwich options is the de rigueur “Rockin’ Lobster Roll.” Most dishes ring in under $20 and are available with beer and wine.

Coming this fall, Samson and Young are incorporating a new dinner menu to their already extensive offering. “The idea is to strip away the superfluous trimmings of formal dining to get to the heart of ‘real food,’” Chef Samson describes. “I will draw on my Filipino background to expand upon the growing food scene on Nantucket, while also keeping the price point down and serving our island residents and neighboring businesses.”

The Beet achieves that elusive quality in the local restaurant industry where it meets a need we never fully knew we had. Felino Samson and Amy Young plan on staying open year-round, ensuring that for Nantucketers who have finally found the healthy-eating option that they were missing, The Beet will go on.

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