Kate Rickard picked Falmouth. When she and her husband, Gates, sold their successful Rickard’s Bakeries on Martha’s Vineyard, they could have lived anywhere. They had both cooked as top-ranked chefs and lived all over the world, but were now looking for a home. They chose to move to Falmouth to raise their kids, plant their roots, and continue their culinary adventure. They have done all of those things—and Falmouth has been the beneficiary.
They opened the Bear in Boots Gastropub in the heart of Falmouth village five years ago and their restaurant quickly became one of Falmouth’s go-to spots for food and fun. They immediately became immersed in the community, supporting many community events and charities. After five successful years, they made the decision to close Bear in Boots and now have plans “to unveil a sophisticated new design prototype,” Kate explained as we sat in her brightly renovated spot on Main Street. As carved signs of their previous ventures hung above us as both literal and figurative signs of their success, Kate took me on a journey of her vision for building a better Falmouth through building a better restaurant.
Under Kate’s guidance and leadership, the restaurant will soon reopen as Bear in Boots Burger Bar (Bn’B), an exciting new venture that is a “celebration of quick wholesome food” that will offer high quality beef burgers, vegan burgers, salads, and organic beer and wine, along with a traditional full bar service. The preparation—both in physical renovations and in planning, imagining, and executing this bold new plan—has been an enormous undertaking. Kate likened her current state of affairs to that of a duck on the water: a calm and steady appearance on the surface, while the duck is paddling frantically underneath.
Now, however, the paddling and planning are ready to produce some pretty amazing results. On September 17, the Bear in Boots Burger Bar will open to the public. Fans of the previous restaurant will see significant changes—kiosks for ordering their version of “flavorful food fast,” a long, inviting seating area adjacent to the open kitchen, phone-charging stations, and bright new colors tell a tale of this stylish, casual and fun locale.
But this rebranded effort is much more than the launch of a new restaurant. It is the confirmation and quintessence of Kate’s commitment to giving back to the community. “A town is as good as the way it supports itself,” she noted, encapsulating her philosophy of supporting and showcasing those who give back to efforts and charities that enhance the quality of life in her adopted hometown.
A cornerstone of the burger bar’s new approach to marketing will be the “spotlight burger campaign,” a monthly specialty burger created by both the Bn’B chef and a member of the Falmouth community, chosen by a board of Bn’B staff assembled by Kate. The board will seek Falmouthites who “have shown their dedication to all of us by the small choices they make every day… choices that often go unnoticed but have an impact on our day to day lives,” according to a prototype award letter shared with me by Kate.
The chosen citizen will create a burger and select a local charity—all profits from the sale of said burger will be donated to their chosen charity for a month—and enjoy participation in promotional material for that month’s spotlight. What an amazing charitable two-fer. Some of our most dedicated locals will be recognized for their efforts in giving back, while encouraging their friends and supporters to enjoy a burger of their own creation and a civic-minded business owner will join in by returning the profits to that very organization. That’s a circle of giving that could only happen in a town like Falmouth, and could only happen with the extraordinary vision and generosity of a business owner like Kate Rickard.
Once the spotlight burger campaign is up and running, Kate also intends to use the ample wall space inside Bn’B to showcase art from aspiring young artists in Falmouth. She hopes to someday dedicate a portion of the profits from her new venture to a new nonprofit that will benefit youthful artistic expression and the very same nonprofits that will benefit from her spotlight burgers.
Kate Rickard has worked in kitchens since she was 14 years old. She has learned many lessons, overcome many obstacles and learned, most importantly, that businesses are most successful when the operators find a way to empower others. The Bear in Boots Burger Bar will do that and more, helping to shape our community by supporting and empowering those who make those small choices that make a difference mentioned in the spotlight burger award.
Kate Rickard is making a big choice to have a big impact. That deserves a big thanks.