Heather Edwards and Todd Jansen are general manager and chef, respectively, at The Painted Lady — a pop-up making its debut in the space that otherwise belongs to Local 186 at 186 Commercial St. in Provincetown.
The takeover is unusual in that Edwards and Jansen are also general manager and chef of Local 186, and two of five partners who own it. (The other partners are Eric Jansen, Todd’s brother, who owns Blackfish; John Yingling, proprietor of Spiritus and Bubala’s; and Gui Yingling, John’s son, who runs Bubala’s.)
Jansen likes the menu at Local, “but I inherited it,” he says. “This menu we made.” It is a collection of dishes each of them loves. Jansen’s favorite is the chicken tagine. The bird is marinated in spices, seared, and simmered in a sauce that includes apricots, chickpeas, tomatoes, and cinnamon.
Edwards, a vegetarian, is partial to the miso butter onions, which are a longtime favorite at the family’s Thanksgiving dinner. The Independent has verified that the dish is a French onion soup-stripped-of-its-frills masterpiece.
The pair have been dreaming of starting a restaurant for years, as work and life took them to Arizona, where Jansen got his Ph.D. in English — though Edwards proofreads the menu — and western Massachusetts, where they both worked corporate jobs and wound up realizing, “This is not for us,” Edwards says.
They quit their jobs and put down a deposit to open a restaurant in March 2020, two weeks before Covid hit. They didn’t end up signing the lease, but getting so close firmed up their ideas.
“We didn’t want to make a place that was high-end and stuffy,” said Jansen. “We were trying to make a place that was comfortable, where our friends could hang out.”
Heather Edwards and Todd Jansen met when they were both working at Bubala’s in the late 90’s. Edwards spent a lot of her growing up years in Provincetown, and her mother owns Bliss, the frozen yogurt spot on Commercial Street. Jansen, who is from Ellington, Conn., helped open The Wicked Oyster in Wellfleet in 2004.
Edwards and Jansen spent two summers running Local 186 before relocating to North Truro from Shutesbury last May to run the restaurant full time. The Local 186 staff have carried over to the pop-up for the most part. And although Edwards and Jansen are working familiar roles in a space they know, this feels like a new experience for them both.
The Painted Lady, named after the building’s Victorian architectural style (it was also the name of a restaurant that was Local 186’s predecessor here), “is more intimate,” Edwards said. During the summer, she said, people mostly want to talk to you only when they have a complaint. Jansen agreed. In the off season, he said, “everyone’s just so happy.”
The Painted Lady is open Friday to Tuesday and will be running through March. The small plates portion of its menu, with the addition of tater tots, is available downstairs at the Grotta Bar on Tuesdays and Sundays. The pop-up is planning a prix fixe wine dinner for “Galentine’s Day,” featuring women wine makers, Edwards said.