We opened the Local Buzz three and a half years ago in hopes that we could provide our beloved community with a funky, friendly, quirky, and distinctive place to spend its time. Since then, this neighborhood meeting place has exceeded expectations, but it has also maxed out its potential in certain respects due to space limitations in our kitchen. That’s what brings us here to the fantastic grassroots concept of KickStarter: in order for the Local Buzz to offer our beloved neighbors the full force of the next phase of our evolution, it’s necessary for us to do some serious revamping of the culinary kind. While our amazing staff has done a great job making the most of our far-too-petite kitchen, this has kept to a minimum our ability to serve the incredible fare our local farmers produce in the amounts now being requested. Our goal is to greatly expand our kitchen, and therefore our menu and the number and frequency of meals we can serve our very deserving patrons. We know that the growth of our kitchen will only improve our ability to function as our little town’s bustling center for culture, art, music, all things coffee, charitable events, and, of course, exceptional cuisine.
Since its inception on June 17, 2010, the Local Buzz has been committed to sustainability and utilizing all things local, from locally farmed produce to artistic talent to libations from Southern Maine microbreweries. Cape Elizabeth and area authors can often be heard reading passages from their books during book club meetings at the Buzz, and the warm-toned walls are home to an ever-changing display of works by area artists. We have also been involved in promoting countless local charities since our doors opened, and this continues to be one of our favorite ways to interact with area businesses and individuals. Live music brings in evening crowds and politicians stop by for both ad-hoc and planned meet-and-greets to listen to their constituents in an informal, relaxed atmosphere. The Buzz is truly the beating heart of Cape Elizabeth, and word has certainly found its way to neighboring towns all around as crowds have become larger and the demand for evening dining service and an expanded menu has grown ever more clamorous.
The Local Buzz is owned by Jamie Wagner and Dawn LaPointe. Jamie is a Cape Elizabeth attorney who graduated from Georgetown University Law School; he practices civil litigation and is a renowned champion of the rights of the marginalized. Jamie is also a longtime Town Councilman, highly regarded by his neighbors. Dawn helped found the Buzz with her background in hospitality and food service stretching back well over a decade. She brings a fantastically broad skill set and experience in working with some of the finest inns and dining establishments in and out of the state of Maine. Together, Jamie and Dawn have forged a partnership that has resulted in the success of the Buzz thus far, and they are committed to creating an establishment that can even more readily serve the needs of the community.
Jamie and Dawn have recently gained another team member critical to the success of the Buzz, Dustin Shockley, who brings serious professional culinary credentials and experience into play as the new chef in town…a new chef that Cape Elizabeth is already buzzing about, even given the kitchen’s limited capacity. This begs the question of what incredible results Dustin’s creative ability will bring to bear given the updated kitchen and related facilities that KickStarter funds would provide. Dustin has worked extensively with some of the top chefs in the country, most notably in California, but one of his first jobs was not far from the Buzz at the local Black Point Inn. He has very purposefully chosen to come back home to his roots and incorporate not just local ingredients, but local techniques.
As all aspects of the Buzz grow to bursting, our woefully undersized kitchen can barely keep up with even the basic desires of our wonderful patrons, and with the entrance of our new chef we are poised to step up to the next level. The next phase of our development, we feel, must involve further serving the community and broadening the ways in which we serve, and the community has made it known that making the Buzz more of a dining establishment is a high priority.
The functionality of our galley doesn’t come close to meeting the talent and ability of our chef, so we are here to find a way to finance its expansion. We’ll also need to create walk-in refrigeration, install a full hood and vent stove system, create much-needed cooking and prep space, and essentially fill in all the gaps where the kitchen is lacking. We estimate that for all of this we’ll need to invest $25,000 to cover the basic essentials, though we have ideas to gild the lily should committed funds exceed the costs of our basic needs. We can outfit the fundamentals with this investment, but would strategically invest any overage into well thought-out other additions that would go toward meeting the needs of the community. Our inadequately-sized kitchen does not lend itself well to a surplus of income that would support a loan with an interest rate attached, so KickStarter is the most reasonable, and possibly the only, way for us to garner these much-needed funds. Additionally, KickStarter funds may well help us keep our prices as reasonable as possible since we won’t have to consider a loan repayment with interest when we re-create our menu and pricing.
There have been plenty of bumps in the road for the Local Buzz, but in general things have moved along happily and steadily, and we want to promote rather than impede our unavoidable progress. It’s not time to tap the brakes; it’s time to step on the gas! An expansion of our facilities will give us this opportunity. Owners and chef share sensibilities, serving the Buzz with an absolute passion for the concept of sustainability in both food and architecture. It’s nothing short of a passion on all our parts to make our modes of service—daytime coffee house, evening bistro, nighttime bar—seamlessly transition from one to the other.
We are sincerely grateful to have earned the respect of the residents of Cape Elizabeth and beyond, and our staff is proud to return that respect to every single patron. We look forward to the opportunity to further engage our local farming community to serve our customers—those who were there when the doors open and the new faces we greet every day.