Oak Street Cafe coming to Boothbay Harbor

Posted:  Saturday, April 21, 2018 - 7:30am

A new restaurant coming to Boothbay Harbor is shaping up to be a nice space, and a tasty, healthy dining experience.

Karen Landry has been in the food and catering business a long time, and owning a cafe is her dream come true. She is partnering in it with her fiancé Jeffrey Stenberg, a Maine Maritime Academy graduate and a captain for Sea Tow in Boothbay Harbor.

Oak Street Cafe will be located in the former Caper’s space at 12 Oak St., across from the post office, The space is in the throes of a major overhaul, with an entirely new interior from floor to ceiling, and everything in between.

The walls have a fresh coat of pale gray paint, and there’s new glossy white trim around the window and door frames. “I have touched every inch of the interior — new ceilings, new carpeting and tiles, and paint,” Landry said. “I’m working hard to give it a fresh new look.”

Landry’s motto for her cafe is: "Where food meets fun in the spirit of health and energy."

“It’s going to be really fun, and different, mostly healthy food. But I want to cater to everyone. If someone comes in and says they want a cheeseburger, I’ll make them a cheeseburger.”

The cafe will feature a coffee bar with cold brew coffee. “Cold brew coffees are so smooth and creamy you don’t really need anything else in them,” she said. “They’re really unique.” If you do want to enhance them, there will be different toppings available to whip up your own concoctions.

Ice water and flavored waters will be complimentary. “I want people to have a nice place to come in and sit and relax. When it’s hot, just stop in and get an iced water and say hi.”

Small cakes, cupcakes, muffins, and other baked goods will be made fresh daily. There will be sandwiches and salads packed and ready to take to a bench overlooking the harbor, or on a boat trip. Personal cheese and hummus boards, with crackers or bread, on small wood cutting boards, will be on the menu.

Because her focus will be on healthier foods, Landry won’t be offering sugary sodas, but there will be smoothies and Maine Root beverages, as well as fresh juices, lemonades and Tourmaline Spring water.

The cafe will feature two separate rooms with a sliding barn door between them for privacy in the “meeting place,” a space that can be reserved to hold meetings, small gatherings and private dinners, baby and wedding showers, and other special events.

Landry will be at the cafe to prepare the desired foods and beverages. She’ll also offer catering services outside the cafe.

Special events will be offered throughout the year, including tastings, wine and cheese nights, arts and craft nights, cookie-decorating parties, and some pop-up nights with farm-to-table dinners and specialty parties.

Landry plans to do most of the cooking herself, and will use local ingredients in much of her cooking, including olive oils and balsamic vinegars from Eventide Specialties. Many of the menu items will have a new age spin. A tartine, a French bread open-faced sandwich with avocado, tomatoes and a balsamic drizzle, among other toppings, will be one of the signature items.

Another specialty item will be a breakfast oatmeal parfait, with chia seeds and fresh fruit: Raspberries, strawberries, blackberries and blueberries, topped with sliced almonds and a swirl of Maine maple syrup, all served in a Mason jar.

The cafe will also serve juice shots: Fresh juices made from beets, kale, pineapple and other fruits and veggies, served in a shot glass.

No deep-fried items will be on the menu, but there will be panini sandwiches, mini lobster rolls, frittatas, breakfast tacos, and cheeseburger sliders, with roasted potato wedges instead of french fries. “Something for everyone,” Landry said.

Landry earned a culinary certificate from the American Culinary Federation. She is from western Massachusetts and was director of catering at Colby College in Waterville for a year. She moved to the area recently with her fiancé, but she’s not new to the harbor. Last summer, she was the event planner and concierge at the Boothbay Harbor Oceanside Golf Resort.

If you’ve driven by the new cafe and wondered why there’s a pretty, shiny new Schwinn bicycle in the window, here’s the scoop: Landry won it at the Native Maine Food Show in Portland. After the show, she went into a store, and practically everything had a bike theme. She went shopping the next day and inadvertently picked up a necklace - with a bike pendant. It was a no-brainer. Bikes are the theme at the Oak Street Cafe.

Landry looks forward to having visitors from away coming into the cafe, but it’s important to her that locals feel welcome and comfortable there.

She hopes to be open by early June, but she said finding a plumber has been a problem. If anyone knows of a plumber in need of work, give her a call. She needs running water in the kitchen!