Eighteen years ago the big retail space in the Oddfellows building at 96 Main Street in Belfast hummed with activity. Layers were being peeled away to reveal bricked-in windows, pressed tin ceilings, an expansive brick wall, and hardwood floors. A farmer and sales rep for Johnny’s Selected Seeds; a retired elementary school teacher; a photo major who had begun to pursue her love of baking; another farmer fresh from four years of painting school in NYC; and the guy she met there--also a painter with a bit of cooking experience--were the design, demolition, and construction crew.
We didn’t know at the time that we were sketching the form that our lives would take for the next eighteen years, that the place--Chase’s Daily--would touch so many people’s lives and become both a haven and a three ring circus. We were a seat-of-the-pants group, a family guided not by industry norms, or a business plan, but by our skills and interests and values. A beautiful space, really good and affordable food, a collective spirit, a farm-to-table model (when farm-to-table barely existed), an equitable workplace, and being open year round for our community, were our guiding principles. They remain so.
We have been on an incredible and gratifying journey these eighteen years. It has been all-consuming. Now, we find ourselves ready to experiment with new ideas and to seek more balanced lives.
This May, Chase’s Daily will undergo some big changes, as we attempt to create a business model that is more sustainable for us. We envision a Chase’s Daily with an improved physical design, allowing for more efficiency and smoother customer service. We envision simplification that allows for more consistent quality. We aim to improve profitability, so that we can pay our staff what they deserve.
So, with some regret we will shelve the lunch and dinner menus that we have tinkered with and that have evolved over the years. Rather than a full service lunch, we plan to provide all day counter service Tuesday through Saturday. The counter offerings will include expanded production from the bakery, in addition to a variety of made-to-order hot and cold food options. We plan to offer casual dinners several nights a week, as well as Sunday brunch, with table service and new menu items. The farm will continue as it has in the past, supplying our kitchen and our Tuesday through Saturday produce market.
We have not finalized our vision. We daydream about growing grains for our bakery. We hope to grow even more flowers. We will make bottles and bottles of Six Acre hot sauce. And, we will someday find a place for soft-serve ice cream. We are still an energetic group, a family working collectively to produce delicious food inspired by the farm and our various interests. Chase’s Daily has been committed to quality since the day we opened our doors, and that pursuit will never change. We thank you for your loyalty and support, and ask for your patience as we excitedly begin this new chapter.
Addison, Penny, Phoebe, Meg, and Freddy