Just in time for the Fourth of July holiday, visitors to downtown Buzzards Bay have a new restaurant in which to dine.
Stomping Grounds opened July 1 at 240 Main Street, in the same building that once housed Flip Flops Cafe and later Sweet Caroline’s. The new eatery is currently open only for lunch, but the new owners, Helene C. Rogers and her son Charles S. Freestone III, said their plan is to expand to serving dinner in the very near future.
Ms. Rogers, who grew up in Norwood, said that she has spent much of her adult life working in the restaurant industry. She said she began her food service career around the age of 20 when she went to work at Wimpy’s Seafood Café in Osterville. She worked at Wimpy’s for about nine years, waiting tables, tending bar, cooking, and eventually managing the restaurant. Ms. Rogers said she left Wimpy’s to open The Black Duck restaurant in Woods Hole. She owned and operated The Black Duck for 10 years before she eventually sold the restaurant.
Similarly, Mr. Freestone, who is Ms. Rogers’s son by her first marriage, has also carved out a career working in a number of different restaurants. He worked for his mother at The Black Duck, and over the years has waited tables, cooked or managed such places as the Road House Café in Hyannis and the British Beer Company in Falmouth. In addition to getting Stomping Grounds started, Mr. Freestone, who lives in East Bridgewater, currently waits tables a couple of nights a week at Morton’s Steak House in Boston.
Ms. Rogers said she sold The Black Duck so she could devote more time to her daughter McKenzie from her marriage to her second husband, Peter F. Rogers. Mr. Rogers was traveling a lot with his construction business, so she needed to spend time at home rather than at the restaurant.
McKenzie is now 17, and about to enter her senior year at Falmouth Academy, so it seemed a good time to open a new restaurant, Ms. Rogers said.
She said she was not even thinking about opening another restaurant when she happened to be driving along Main Street and noticed the “Restaurant for Lease” sign outside the building. She circled back around Belmont Circle, returned to the restaurant and called the telephone number on the sign. The building’s owner, Ralph J. Macdougall, who also owns Coastal Motors next door to the building, offered to come right over to show her the restaurant.
“I fell in love with it immediately,” she said.
Ms. Rogers’s husband initially said he did not want anything to do with the new restaurant, but now “he’s totally into it,” coming up with all kinds of construction plans for the building.
“For someone who didn’t want anything to do with it at first, he’s totally involved. More than we are sometimes,” she said.
Opening day on Tuesday was relatively successful, although not “super busy,” Mr. Freestone said. He estimated that they served roughly 15 to 20 customers, “but it was good to get our feet under us.”
Stomping Ground’s menu on opening day featured appetizers, soups and salads and sandwiches. Main course items included lobster salad, crab cakes, and BBQ pulled pork, Reuben, and bacon and avocado grilled cheese sandwiches. Among the more traditional items were shrimp cocktail, Caesar salad and seafood chowder. Ms. Rogers said the menu eventually may change from day to day.
While the restaurant can serve food, it cannot, as yet, serve liquor. That, Ms. Rogers said, is the next step.
Ms. Rogers said that she had hoped to open Stomping Grounds over Memorial Day weekend, but an issue arose with the kitchen equipment. She explained that the previous tenants had been given a variance to operate commercial grade equipment in the kitchen. Building inspector Roger M. Laporte and Bourne Fire Chief Martin Greene, however, told them they had to exchange the commercial equipment for residential because of the close proximity of the apartments on the upper floors of the building. Ms. Rogers admitted that for a while, when it came to getting her new business up and running, it was one step forward, two steps back, “but now it’s full steam ahead.”
“And it’s Fourth of July weekend, so we better be ready,” she said.