Eric Andersen is every islander’s neighbor.
At least, that’s the impression he gives. Within mere minutes at the BoatHouse — Pleasant Beach’s newest coffee house feature — Andersen is pulled aside to chat with one friendly face after another.
“Hey, welcome, good to see ya!” he delivers to one familiar face with a smile and a handshake.
“How has your wife been?” he says to another.
After brewing up some joe, another regular stops in to say hello. With only one week under its belt, the BoatHouse has become a neighborhood hang.
“People come in and stay, and talk with Eric,” said BoatHouse barista Miranda Feldtman.
The marketplace that the BoatHouse calls home is a unique fixture, not only of the Pleasant Beach Village that has sprung up over the last year, but also of Bainbridge. It’s a humble corner of the island where one can grab an Americano, munch on a crepe, browse jewelry, pick up some deli meat, smell some flowers, and even get fitted for a new pair of spectacles — all in one stop.
The BoatHouse anchors the market; pumping life, and a little caffeine, into the hall of local vendors.
“Everything is full,” Andersen said about the eclectic blend of pocket shops occupying the market.
There’s Sash with vintage clothing, jewelry, bags and more. Then there’s Elle’s Optique, a stylish eyeglass shop. Castaways brightens up the market with its floral creations.
Also included in the mix is a spread of tasty bites such as Buckwheat and Broccoli Crepes, manned by Paul Sisley. The shop also offers a small selection of produce. Islanders will recognize Salmon Canyon and Hitchcock; two Bainbridge restaurants offering an extension of their menus. Hitchcock brings its charcuterie to the market, and Salmon Canyon has food ready to go.
Andersen’s wife, Heather, has a shop, too, that will showcase the couple’s long-time passion of bargain hunting for used treasures.
They’ve documented their thrifty journey, so far, at www.shoestringabundance.com.
The Suzanne Maurice Wine Bar anchors the opposite end from the coffee shop rounds out the selection.
The BoatHouse at Pleasant Beach began brewing its first cups of coffee on Friday, July 26.
Those cups are the shop’s signature blend, locally roasted by Ootopia Coffee Roasters out of Bremerton.
“It’s along the lines of an Italian roast,” Andersen noted. “A darker roast; full-bodied.”
Andersen said that the cafe worked through the kinks in its system over the first weekend and things are now running smoothly.
“On Sunday we really got the hang of this and we’re feeling good,” he said.
Andersen largely credits his staff, however, for how well the shop has run so far.
“The girls are awesome. I got a great crew,” he said. “I got a full mix of experience. They are so sharp.”
Of course, he brings many years of experience himself. Before taking the helm of the BoatHouse, Andersen was the manager of Town & Country’s cafe on Winslow Way for 10 years.