“I think that’s a good omen,” Amber Clark, one of my favorite workplace proximity associates, said as we pulled into the parking spot directly in front of Cupacity on Sunday morning. She agreed to join me for the second outing of this column, a venture to downtown Damariscotta to see a mutual friend behind the bar.
Spoiler alert: Amber turned out to be correct.
Susan Murphy opened Cupacity at 133 Main St. in May 2019 with a menu full of coffee drinks, light bites, and a truly enviable curation of wine and beer. The cafe society also boasts an incredible event calendar, from wine tastings and movie nights to after-hours drinks and, of course, brunch.
After greeting Murphy, we made our way to the back bar to be seated directly in front of Susan Chalmers, Cupacity’s master mixologist. Amber and I caught her up on the goings-on of the past few months and snacked on some house-made focaccia as she prepared our first round of drinks.
Amber and I have a great deal in common, however, our choice of beverages vary greatly. It was for that reason that we were delighted by Cupacity’s expansive list of zero-proof custom cocktails. Amber was able to enjoy the Comfort and Joy, consisting of wild harvested rose and butterfly-pea flower, while I went for the Rose-Colored glasses, featuring the house-made rhubarb shrub with prosecco.
After some prompting from Susan, I also ordered a virgin Bloody Mary, which she garnished with a rainbow of vegetables. It proved to be a delightful addition.
But this review cannot solely be about beverages, despite the fact that I could wax poetic about a good cup of coffee for at least three paragraphs. We also need to talk about the food. It’s impossible to go wrong with any of the selections on the menu, from the farmer’s choice tart to the savory crepes, but it’s worth waiting to hear what the specials are. On the day of our meal, a scallop salad caught my eye, while Amber chose the French toast bananas Foster.
I’m not sure how Susan Murphy, also the chef, realized that yuzu, Meyer lemon, pomegranate juice, Thai basil, cilantro, cucumber, and mint combine so well, but I’m glad she did. There was something new to discover with each bite, and I’m incredibly thankful the dish came with additional focaccia to soak up the dressing left over after I finished the scallops.
As for the French toast, the bread was incredibly light and the cream was delicious, according to Amber. I had to take her word for it, as we both immediately consumed our entire meal without asking the other if they would like a sample.
“It’s exactly what I wanted and more,” Amber told me once her plate was empty.
Enough cannot be said about Cupacity’s attention to the little details. From the doll-sized clothespin holding garnishes to the cocktail glass to the balance of herbs in the salad, thought and care is taken to ensure each diner has a unique experience. I’m already looking forward to my next trip, when I will no doubt try something new.
When making your reservation, I highly recommend requesting a seat at the back bar. Not only can you chat with Susan Chalmers as she mixes your drinks while enjoying the view of the Damariscotta River, but you also get to enjoy the feeling of community among your fellow diners.
“It’s all about the vibe,” Susan Murphy told us after the meal. “The food enhances the vibe, but it’s all about people connecting and hanging out.”
Bottom line: The attention to detail at Cupacity will be appreciated by every diner.
Cupacity is located at 133 Main St. in Damariscotta. Brunch is served every Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and reservations are recommended.
(Maia Zewert is looking for the best eggs Benedict and cup of coffee in Lincoln County. To make a suggestion, email her at email@example.com.)