It’s Monday morning in Bucksport, and the options for a place to sit down, enjoy a cup of coffee and get a bite to eat are pretty slim.
Warren’s Waterfront Restaurant is closed on Mondays. So is MacLeod’s Restaurant, Glenn’s Place and the Friar’s Brewhouse Tap Room. The Bucksport House of Pizza will be open by lunch and will be one of the only other places taking orders, aside from McDonald’s and other chains.
To entice people out on the historically slowest days of the week, a new Main Street cafe is offering the prospect of a quintessential British treat and the chance to commune with locals over a piping hot drink.
Bill Sturrock and Mary-Michael Billings have been working for months to open the Crumpet, a cafe boasting the eponymous British griddle cakes that’s set to open early next month. The Orrington couple have owned the cafe building for several years and envisioned a community space for people to hang out in town and enjoy good food, local art and music.
The inspiration to be open when most restaurants in the region are closed came from when owners were working on the cafe and had few places to satisfy their hunger.
“When we were down here renovating, we found that it was almost impossible to get lunch,” Sturrock said. “So we went back to the drawing board, and we looked at what it would be like to be open Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday.”
The couple decided to create a cafe with some British items as a combination of Billings and Sturrock’s different visions for the building. Billings, a retired art teacher, wanted to run a British-style neighborhood pub with afternoon tea, while Sturrock, a retired physician, wanted more of a morning cafe.
Splitting the difference to become a breakfast and lunch space seems to make sense given their background in food. Billings worked in restaurants starting at age 11. Before becoming a doctor, Sturrock ran a lunch cart jury-rigged on a bicycle to pay his school bills at the University of New Hampshire.
“We did quiches, sandwiches, smoothies — this was back in the ’70s and those were all the rage,” Sturrock said.
Though they were retired, the couple decided to pursue the eatery space opened on Main Street. The retail shop that previously occupied the space moved down the block.
“I felt that I wasn’t ready for playing golf — because I don’t know how — and I thought I’d do something that I knew a little bit more about, which is making sandwiches,” Sturrock said with a chuckle.
With its central location on a busy corner and retro interior of tin walls and ceiling, Billings hopes the Crumpet can become a community hangout spot. The cafe plans to host monthly art shows, musicians, and weekly event nights.
What the Crumpet isn’t trying to do is compete with other local shops. Instead, Billings and Sturrock hope to provide an alternative that could bring some people in on quieter days and attract more people to Bucksport.
“I think [the cafe] will be a good addition to what’s going on here,” Billings said. “Everybody we’ve talked to down here is so excited about the idea. They really want more places to hangout.”