Marshall Thompson / Owner


I got my first restaurant job on island in July of 1974 when I came to visit a friend who was working at the Sandpiper on Main Street. The Sandpiper needed a nighttime dishwasher and offered me good pay and a room above the restaurant if I stayed until Labor Day. I figured I could go to Surfside Beach during the day, work the evening and still have time for some nightlife. I took that job. Life was good!

My next restaurant job on island was working at The Club Car for 26 seasons. I loved working there. I made lifelong friends and learned to appreciate really good food and quality ingredients. We were farm to table before it was even called that! I was a bartender, waiter and eventually the manager. I did lots of different things during the off season – student, traveler, carpenter, painter, landscaper. I married my wife Scotty, with whom we had my daughter Marlee, and began living year round on island. What a gift it is to be a member of Nantucket’s community.

In 2002 I got the opportunity to open my own place on Main Street – the year round Even Keel Cafe. In 2007 I also won the lease on the Jetties Beach Restaurant. Our mission in both places was to serve high quality food at reasonable prices. I ran The Jetties and the Even Keel for five years. Both places were popular community minded restaurants. In 2012 I won the lease on the Surfside Beach Shack. That year I let go of the Even Keel Café and for the last 5 years I have been running those two iconic beach concessions.

It has been an amazing (and busy!) ride since I walked into the Sandpiper all those years ago. For 2017 I am down to just one restaurant – The Surfside Beach Shack. I am happy to downsize my workload but stay in the business that for some crazy reason I love.

I have lots of fun, new ideas. I am adding picnic tables with a fantastic view of the ocean. I am re-inventing the menu and excited to be serving really good food in this super casual fun spot right on the beach. The Shack is keeping its famous burger (we have to have a burger on the beach!) but will also offer the healthy options and high quality ingredients that I want to be eating – salads and wraps with organic greens and grains and vegetables and house made dressings. I am going to serve fresh squeezed lemonade and organic iced coffee and iced tea. I am also very excited to serve my friend Patrick Ridge’s super premium Tilbury and Skiff ice cream. Now that is some beach food!

I am also planning to actually do something I did not have much time for all these past summers – go down to the beach and fish and swim. All these years later I get to go to Surfside every day. Life is good!