Published by Robin Slick, April 26, 2020
Walking into the Lemon Press eatery around lunchtime in mid-April, this Main Street “hot spot” would normally be hopping with locals and visitors. Town would be awakening from the dreary winter with restaurants and shops opening in celebration of the arrival of spring, paired with planning for the upcoming beloved Daffodil Festival to be held the last weekend in April.
Unlike most Town restaurants that are open only during the summer season, Lemon Press serves their customers through the shoulder seasons. Rachel begins by telling me how much she, and her business partner Darya (also her cousin), were looking forward to their season opening about a month ago on March 16, after having been closed for three months. Then the outbreak of COVID-19 occurred and in an instant their business completely changed.
Rachel describes Lemon Press as "a little slice of Los Angeles on Nantucket." Eager to offer healthy options for busy people, and knowing that there were not many great choices on island, they initially opened a "grab and go" on Center Street in 2015. Two years later, Rachel and Darya decided to expand into a full service restaurant and moved to their current Main Street location. The restaurant has an upscale earthy-chic vibe which serves as a backdrop, highlighting unique presentations of local and organic ingredients. It is clear that the two women share similar passions and it is evident that attention to every detail matters.
Having started as an off-season additional service long before the onset of the current pandemic, Lemon@Home had been their signature meal kit and delivery service. They do all the "planning & prepping, shopping & chopping. All you have to do is cook it and eat it!"
The idea behind the kits is to provide delicious, health conscious meals and recipes that take no longer than 20 minutes to prepare. Proper portions of ingredients are measured, so no money, food, or time is wasted. All of the ingredients are sourced as locally and organic as possible and are packaged in compostable containers.
After the shelter-in-place directive was put in place, Rachel and Darya evaluated the situation as how it would affect Nantucket. Confident that they could safely provide Lemon@Home to the community, they decided to continue to operate. All sanitary precautions are taken in preparing the food and beverages, including wearing gloves during delivery.
With this award, the Nantucket Chamber honors a business who has made a significant difference in the Nantucket business community. It recognizes creative and dedicated entrepreneurship. It also recognizes an organization who has produced positive change through their innovative business model, their overall mission, and their dedication to the overall Nantucket economy.
Jason Bridges, Owner of the Handlebar Café and Nantucket Select Board Member, has this to say about Lemon Press. "When I think of them, the words that come to mind are: Hard work, Collaboration, and Main Street...I see them all winter planning for the next summer. Working hard. When they are open they work from the beginning to the end. They know how to hustle...They are always doing some sort of benefit for mental health, the nonprofits, or the arts. Not only are they collaborating with another business entity, which is good for their own business model, it's also good for the community."
To hear more of why their peers believed they were deserving of this Award click HERE.
Rachel and Darya were looking ahead with the hopes of becoming a year round business for their local customers. But now, they, like all other the restaurants, worry about their future. Rachel explained that for right now, with small business loans, they can afford to pay their employees. But come their bread & butter months of July and August, if there is little or no business, then they will be hurt for good for the upcoming winter. They are thankful for the help from Cape Cod 5 and the Nantucket Chamber. Looking around at the community as a whole, they are "impressed with magnitude of help from everyone."