ROCKLAND — Known for the “Best Breakfast in New England” (deemed by Yankee magazine), Home Kitchen Café owners James Hatch and Susan Schiro are expanding their restaurant’s popular brand this April into the former Brown Bag location on Main Street.
Hatch and Schiro, who’d just expanded the business a year before, transforming the former hair salon adjacent to the restaurant at 19 North Main St. into an ice cream parlor and bakery, had no plans on moving until they learned the Brown Bag was going out of business.
“The Cone Home shop where it sits right now is far enough off the road to have little visibility,” said Hatch. “Initially, when we were considering [the Brown Bag space], we came to the conclusion that a Main Street location was a brilliant and obvious place as a Home Kitchen ice cream and dessert destination. They had all of the equipment for sale, but not the building, so we made an offer on all of what was inside.”
As patrons of the old Brown Bag know, the building is divided into three sections. On the left was the seating area, which, according to Hatch, will now be the new Cone Home ice cream parlor. The right side was previously a bakery and will remain so.
“We will be able to make all of our own breads for the restaurant, as well as bread, rolls and buns for sale, along with more dessert items and homemade cones for the ice cream shop,” Hatch said.
The middle area (the former ordering area) will now be a sub/burrito shop.
“We’ll make to-order homemade subs, that North End Boston Italian style with cappicola, Mortadella, Provolone — a variety of 15-20 subs,” he said. “From here to Portland, there are no homemade sub shops, which I think will add to the food map of Rockland.”
Hatch anticipates opening the bakery in early April, with the other two sides of the business opening shortly after.
“The colors of the interior will be the same as the restaurant,” he said. “Everybody’s going to know this is the same Home Kitchen experience in a different location.”
As for the bakery/ice cream space they currently own adjacent to the Home Kitchen Cafe, Hatch envisions a waiting lounge with a built-in bar for restaurant patrons. “I always thought that was something we needed,” he said. “It’s not ideal to have people waiting inside, where the space is so small, and sometimes, they have to sit there up to an hour, so we want to build a place for people who are waiting for a table to have a cocktail or a coffee or tea.”
The new expansion not only keeps the Main Street space locally owned, but it’s boosting the economy as well.
“We’re creating seven or eight new jobs and hopefully keeping the scene vibrant,” he said.
Kay Stephens can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org