ROCKPORT – Rockport welcomed SeaFolk to town March 17. The coffee shop is at 22 Central Ave and had an unannounced opening. There's not even a sign up, yet. It's new, comfortable, inviting, and warm and there's even a niche with a couch and chairs where you can hold court.
The new shop will be open at 8 a.m. for breakfast and lunch, Wednesday through Sunday, until May when its owners will up their game and be open seven days a week, 7 a.m to 5 p.m., according to proprietor Jacob Wienges.
The unannounced opening (with no sign) did little to keep people away. They sold out of everything. Except coffee, which is why you were there in the first place.
"So much for trying to open with training wheels on," said Wienges.
Kate McMorrow and Susan Richardson are from Camden. They were enjoying a cup of coffee in the back corner of the shop next to a window with an amazing view of Rockport Harbor. It was their first time there.
"We've been waiting for months for this place to open," said Richardson. "It's the perfect wrap up to our walk on Beauchamp Point. It just tops it off."
Jacob said it all started one day when they were walking by and saw the space was for rent. It was initially just the front room of the space.
"I asked Stuart Smith [building owner] if he was game to opening up all the way to the back for a coffee shop," he said. "He was game and off we went."
Wienges said that was last June.
"That was a completely different space with rooms and halls," he said. "Walls had to be pushed back and brick exposed. There was a lot of construction work."
Wienges also works in the health care technology field, and he has a brokerage for risk management and liability for hospitals.
So the question begs to be asked. Why a third business and a coffee shop, at that?
Wienges explained it simply.
"The space was here," he said. "We couldn't pass it up. In this village, over this harbor, once we had this vision there was just no turning back."
Madrona and Jacob Wienges have four sons, ad they reside in Glen Cove. The two eldest sons, Ossian and Yona, have been involved since the beginning he said. The other two sons are tinker-tots, according to Jacob.
"It's really been a family," he said. "Madrona was integral to the design. And we really worked a lot with Stuart and Tyler Smith.”
A big surprise was how fluffy the eggs were in the sandwiches.
"You just add a little Greek yogurt to the eggs," he said. "You put a liberal dose of olive oil in the cast iron and you put the eggs in and just start folding in the edges. The yogurt allows it fluff right up and it's very nice. We'll have fired or poached or marbleized eggs, as well."
The menu will offer sweet potato biscuits, regular, and English muffins. The bagels are house-made. Annie Lepk, of Barn Door Baking Company in Damariscotta, supplies the breads.
"Any of those can host a sandwich," Weinges said. "We have breakfast sausage from a farm in Nobleboro. All the meats will be uncured and locally sourced. There will be lots of different cheeses. Fresh herbs and vegetables and just to take it up a notch, aiolis and some spices that lift it."
There will be ham and cheese croissants, feta spinach croissants, straight-up croissants and scones, along with other baked goods.
SeaFolk’s’ baker trained at Tartine's in San Fransico. Tartine was a James Beard bakery award-winner in 2008 and was on the New York Time's best seller list for cookbooks in 2006.
Wienges said the main focus of lunch will resemble a fancy toast bar.
"It will be a take off of the Scandinavian tradition of Smorrebrod, which is a fancy name for open-face toast," he said. "We'll use a bread called Rugbrod, which is a dense, Danish rye that Annie is making for us down in Damariscotta. One loaf weighs four pounds. We'll also use some of Sarah Vokey's breads from of Maine Street Meats."
As an example, SeaFolks’ made a sandwich with Rugbrod, whipped roasted potatoes with horseradish and dill, smoked salmon, a little bit of citrus tamari, micro-greens and capers.
"That is just an example of the eclectic sandwiches," Wienges said. "Then we'll have straight-up sandwiches like a Reuben and mostly paninis, salads and soups."
Wienges said the aim is to be inviting part of the community, in the heart of the village, where you can grab a coffee to go or sit and take a break.
"It's just a sweet little spot in the village to take a break," Wienges said.