Jesse Martin, the man whose name is attached to Park Corner Food Bar, AKA Park Corner Bistro, always knew he’d run his own bar.

“Even as a kid I knew. When I was little I would run around my father and uncle’s bar in northern California, bussing and cooking, doing whatever I could,” he said on a recent morning while reviewing his newest menus for the gastropub-style restaurant he opened seventeen years ago in Oak Bluffs.

The space is tiny – only forty seats in house – with a farm-to-table, field-to-bar approach that means you don’t have to look far to find something that you can’t make at home, or to enjoy with a cocktail you’ve never heard of. “We don’t have entrées,” Martin said, and he isn’t wrong. But the small plates – or “bites and snacks,” as he calls them – aren’t tiny.

Jesse Martin, owner of Park Corner.
Jocelyn Filley

Take, for instance, the section on the menu called the Taco Bar. “Seriously. Get the tacos,” Martin said more than once, noting they’re a nod to his northern California roots. These aren’t standard beef and cheese tortilla creations; these are fresh, crunchy, and herby “snacks” – sharable plates that’ll fill you up. Proteins fluctuate with the seasons – choices include citrus-marinated fish (always changing, depending on what’s fresh), chicken diablo, and carne asada – and come packed in corn tortillas with fresh veggies, lime crema, and hot sauce. (Tidbit: Martin makes everything from scratch, including his own hot sauce).

“If you’re on a date, order two different kinds, or if you’re with a big group order one of each type,” he advised. “They’re perfect for sharing.

“You know we have a saying here,” he said. “Sit. Chat. Chew. And that’s what we want people to do here. We want them to come here, hang out, listen to some music, order two things, three things, four things, enjoy the flavors and just sit, chat and chew.” And then come back and do it again.