Arts-focused cafe opens in downtown Waldoboro: The mouthwatering smell of pumpkin scones being baked permeated the air as Charlotte Davenhill, the owner of Tidemark Gallery & Cafe in Waldoboro, chatted with me last Friday afternoon, Dec. 14.
Prior to sitting down, Davenhill had been mixing up a from-scratch batch of scone batter in the venue’s tiny kitchen.
Until June, Tidemark Gallery & Cafe was simply Tidemark Gallery, an art gallery Davenhill started up in 2005.
“Last year, Amanda Nelson (of nearby Long Winter Soap Co.) and I – and a lot of us here in the village – were trying to get someone to open a cafe. We have a lot of galleries, but we didn’t have a cafe,” Davenhill said. “A lightbulb went on and I realized I could run both in this space.”
Davenhill – who had a grand opening of sorts for the invitingly revamped venue on Nov. 24, Small Business Saturday – used to run a bakery called The Bakery in the same space in the 1980s.
In addition to coffee (including French press-style), tea, hot chocolate, and chai, the cafe’s modest-but-enticing menu features such items as house-made sweet and savory breakfast pastries, soup, paninis, and salad. On the day I visited, lasagna was featured on the specials board.
“We want to serve as much locally produced food as we can,” Davenhill said. Currently, she sources the cafe’s organic greens from Waldoboro’s White Duck Farm, meats from Curtis Custom Meats in nearby Warren, bread from Borealis Breads in Waldoboro, and works with other local growers in season.
Davenhill serves award-winning, wood-roasted Speckled Ax coffee, from Portland, in her cozy cafe. She also offers such delightful treats as large, chunky, handcrafted marshmallows. On hand on Dec. 14 were lemon, green tea, and coconut marshmallows rolled in toasted coconut. Davenhill told me she had just made peppermint marshmallows (dyed pink naturally with beet juice), which she was thinking of dipping in chocolate and rolling in crushed candy canes.
Davenhill refers to her venue as “equally a gallery and a cafe.” Currently on Tidemark’s walls is the “3 Locals” show, featuring the stellar artwork of Valerie Greene, Deborah A. Loughlin, and Brenda Griego. Former Waldoboro resident Audrey Bechler also has work on display in the gallery-cafe, as does clay artist Krisanne Baker, whose ceramic mugs are also the ones Davenhill serves coffee in.
“I didn’t want to add a cafe if it was going to diminish the gallery,” said Davenhill, a self-described “food artist” who said it is important that the soup she makes “is a good color. Our butternut squash with sage and rosemary soup is the most beautiful cadmium yellow you ever saw. For the same reason, we’re going to do borscht (a cold, deep-red soup made from beets).
“It seems to be working, seems to be bigger than the sum of its parts,” she said of Tidemark Gallery & Cafe. “The reception has been very friendly, enthusiastic.”
“We believe life is better when we pause for afternoon tea or coffee with a friend or two for company,” the cafe’s little single-page menu says. “Each afternoon, we will offer a few of our favorite treats for sharing or just a peaceful moment in a gallery filled with fine art and craft.”
Would I make the drive from Newcastle again just to visit Tidemark Gallery & Cafe? Heck yes!
Tidemark Gallery & Cafe is located at 902 Main St., Waldoboro. It is open Wednesday-Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Davenhill plans to add Sunday hours after New Year’s Day. Call 832-5109 for more information. Find Tidemark Gallery & Cafe on Facebook.
(Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or write me a letter in care of The Lincoln County News, P.O. Box 36, Damariscotta, ME 04543. I love to hear from readers.)