ROCKPORT—With restaurants continuing to navigate seating challenges during COVID-19, one brick and mortar eatery has the perfect solution to stay operating—and the perfect location.
The Big T Snack Shack food trailer, co-owned by husband-and-wife Mark Senders and Rebecca Neves, was approved by the Rockport Select Board to set up full-time operations in Rockport Harbor this summer and fall.
The couple, who also own the Bagel Cafe in Camden, have operated The Big T Snack Shack at the Camden Snow Bowl for the past three years. But, when the coronavirus forced the closing of the Snow Bowl until August 14 and subsequently the CDC guidelines limited indoor seating for the Bagel Cafe, Senders and Neves knew they had to come up with alternative options if they wanted to stay in business.
“My original plan was to operate the food trailer here at Rockport Harbor only occasionally, and move around,” said Senders. “We were going to be part-time at the Snow Bowl, at Cellardoor Winery and do this circuit, but when this [the pandemic] all went down, I decided to stay in one spot, keep it consistent, and make it easy for people to enjoy their food outdoors, socially distant.” He looked out to the harbor. “Plus, you can’t beat the view.”
No one could have predicted that food trucks would naturally be better suited to the economic limitations of COVID-19, so it was fortuitous for Senders and Neves that they already owned one.
“I’m fortunate because a lot of my business was take-out already,” he said. “We haven’t opened indoor seating for the Bagel Cafe, so now, I can use my cafe to produce all of the fresh-baked items for this food trailer.”
Senders, who will be doing most of the baking at the cafe in the early morning hours, will rely on a small, but steady crew he’s had working for him to operate the food trailer Wednesday through Saturday, serving breakfast and lunch. He said along with his consistent menu items, he’ll rotate in specials, such as a blackened halibut sandwich, as local items are in season.
For Senders, going back to Rockport Harbor, is like going back home again.
“Earlier in my career, I worked at Rockport Marine, the Sail Loft and Shepherd’s Pie,” he said. “I really like Rockport.”
“We just want to provide a comfortable, consistent, accessible place for families and people looking for a quick bite in Rockport,” he said. “We’ll all be wearing gloves and masks and you can choose to sit six feet apart on the benches outside and enjoy your food looking out at the harbor.”
The Big T Snack Shack will be open for its first day on Thursday, June 25, at 8 a.m. To stay on top of the rotating specials on their menu visit their Facebook page.
Kay Stephens can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org