For 17 years, Stacy McLellan has wanted to open a sandwich shop and deli in Boothbay Harbor. When the space formerly occupied by Rose's Cafe came up for rent, McLellan's husband Jeremy asked, “Why don't you go for it?”
So she did. Now McLellan is painting, ordering, cleaning and setting up shop, aiming to be open for business by March 1. Her husband has been helping out as much as possible, including laying the new floor.
The new store, located across from the Boothbay Harbor Post Office, will be called Capers, and the store will be split into two sections. Half the store will have ready-made sandwiches, salads and soups to eat there or to go. There will be deli salads, desserts and McLellan's homemade dressings for sale as well.
McLellan will be making everything from scratch. She is planning on creating a new salad dressing using Eventide's black mission fig olive oil, pears and blue cheese, but is still working out the recipe.
The other half of the store will have wine, beer, wine glasses and packaged foods, including Sally Barter's local mustard.
“I've been planning this for 17 years,” McLellan said. “So I have so many ideas I'm still figuring out which ones to use first. I'll probably do a display with a 'Wine of the Week' at 20 percent off, and many ready-made picnic baskets people can take out to places like Monhegan in the summer.”
McLellan wants the store to appeal to all people. “I don't want any 'foofy' foods,” she said. “I want the guys from Car Quest next door to feel just as comfortable as the red hat ladies that walk around in the summer. I'll have salads and homemade granola parfaits, but also hearty meatball subs and rich soups.”
McLellan's plan for Capers include delivery service and curbside lunch pickup.
“My niece will be using a bike to deliver, so she won't go too far. Maybe a mile or so, but that will be good for local workers who can't get away to get food,” McLellan said. “And I'll see if we can run food out to cars who pull up to make it quick for them too.”
McLellan is thrilled about the location.
“It's got a perfect layout, and there is a lot of foot traffic up here,” McLellan said. “It's like a giant fishbowl. A great spot to people-watch with excellent visibility. One day 13 people walking by stopped and asked me what I was doing. Thirteen. In January. They all seemed excited about a new place in town.”
Capers will be open from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. in the summer, and will close earlier in the offseason.
“I'm very excited,” McLellan said. “It's finally happening.”