At the bar, people are looking for more than a drink. You can get a beer or water anywhere. But you can’t get ragtime, rhetoric, mysticism, philosophy, all that stuff that goes on in the bar, all those undercurrents of influence, anywhere else.
Little by little, people would come down for the summers and become more acquainted more with the Cape. It started to grow maybe 10 or 15 years after we opened. The shoulder seasons started earlier and ended later—it was no longer just Memorial to Labor Day. Business started to pick up maybe right after St. Paddy’s Day because people were coming down from the cities to open up their properties and so forth, and it was extending to Thanksgiving. It kept growing, and more people winterized their houses, they had more stores to go to, and they started spending more time around here. Instead of going to Hyannis or Falmouth or the other towns, they could stick to Mashpee now.
When Mashpee Commons came in, it really busted things open. It had an enormous impact on business. There were growing pains, too. Because of the construction, we had people walking across boards to get to the restaurant. But in the end, it was beneficial. I’ve probably been the longest tenant there other than the post office. And the post office hasn’t even always been in the same location.
Jeff Moore more or less took over the wheel of the ship about 15 years ago. My management style isn’t really suited to run a restaurant, and the business outgrew my skills. Jeff and I are a good team: he’s very practical and very left brain, and I’m interested in poetry and metaphor.
People for some reason think I did this all myself just because my name’s on the sign.
I was so busy tending bar and trying to stay alive that I had to keep my head down. I didn’t have a large view at the time. When I look at these changes on the Cape in retrospect, it’s clouded—it’s like, how did this happen? It’s not that I wasn’t interested in the community, but I was just so busy in my own little world.
We’ve gone in for longevity—to create an institution. Instead of looking at it as a business that was going to have a beginning, middle, and end, we always thought in terms of going on forever.