The Black Dog for breakfast

Black Dog pancakes. —Connie Berry

Breakfast out at an Island spot on a Sunday is something I start to look forward to as soon as I’m getting ready to start the workweek on Monday morning.

This past weekend, I couldn’t decide which place to go to, and so I ended up someplace where the breakfast never disappoints: Black Dog Tavern on Vineyard Haven Harbor.

You would think that I’d try something new off the menu, but I’m not a fan of pancakes or waffles (they remind me of soggy bread — I know, I’m overthinking it), so I tend to stick with the egg-based dishes.

For about a half-minute I thought about getting the Green Monster, scrambled eggs with asparagus, broccoli, spinach, and cheese. Then, as always, my eyes wandered to the omelettes, where my all-time favorite, Charley on the Fence ($9.50), resides. This is not just any old omelette. It comes with mushrooms, onions, bacon, and cheese — pretty much the same things I love on my pizza.

My breakfast companion (that sounds a lot fancier than husband) couldn’t make up his mind, so he chose One Sweet World ($12.25). This dish is perfect for someone who wants eggs and pancakes too. It comes with two eggs cooked any way you’d like, two pancakes, and three strips of bacon.

Usually I pour hot sauce all over my eggs, but with Charley on the Fence, I actually prefer to taste all the ingredients. The key to finishing the whole thing is to take frequent breaks for conversation, stretching out the experience and giving yourself enough time to enjoy the ambiance — and to read all those boat names hanging on wall.

I always like to ask the waitress or waiter which items on the menu are their favorites. Our waitress, Melissa Kalagher, didn’t disappoint. Clearly a traditional breakfast enthusiast, she told us she would choose either the Loretta — eggs any style with home fries and your choice of bacon, sausage, or ham — or the One Sweet World. She also managed to update us on the status of our order, and kept my coffee mug filled, an added bonus.

The thing about the Black Dog is that you know what you’re going to get, and you know you’ll enjoy it — especially if you’re lucky enough to get a table by the windows that look out over the harbor. Every once in awhile I can sneak over there for a lunch break on the water, and I know my Black Dog burger will be cooked the way I like it — and that brioche bun will keep me coming back.

Even though there’s sometimes a wait during peak hours, you can almost always find something to chat about with the folks waiting alongside you. Besides, I don’t really mind hanging out a few extra minutes in such an iconic spot, letting my mind go back to the 1970s while I wonder what the Island must’ve been like.

The Black Dog Tavern, 20 Beach St. Extension, Vineyard Haven, is open seven days a week, all year long. Monday and Tuesday, 7 am to 4pm; Wednesday through Saturday: 7am to 9 pm, and Sunday, 7 am to 3 pm. 508-693-9223;

This article by Connie Berry originally appeared on