by Dee Levanti
As you might expect from its name, the Town Wharf General Store is located in a gloriously old wooden building just off the sidewalk, right on Mattapoisett’s town wharf. What you may not expect, is the treasure trove of locally made goods you find behind the glass paneled doors.
Built in 1798, the structure’s original purpose was to support the thriving whaling shipyard. Current proprietors, Chris Demakis and Vince Cragin, had the entire space gutted before opening in May of 2013. With the help of old photos and a very talented custom carpenter, they rebuilt the shop, restoring the historical character of the store both inside and out. From there they set out to populate the space in a way that benefits the Mattapoisett community, embodies their own food and consumer values, and allows them to have fun expressing their creative interests.
The goods that Chris and Vince found to satisfy those requirements span quite a range and fill many household and culinary desires. From an amazing spread of artisan cheeses, to scrumptious snacks for a trail walk, to contemporary cocktail mixes, Town Wharf offers all the basics and then some. The neatly hung cast iron pans, assortment of locally inspired cookbooks, and mason jar martini shakers resound the creativity and self-sufficiency of the modern homestead. Town Wharf also features well-crafted items which bring the old world to the modern home; rope wreaths made by a local ropesmith, boat bags made by a retired sailmaker, and hand-bound brooms made with Sassafras wood handles by the same farmer who provides the shop’s maple syrup. Some other gems to be found are the “Tired Old Ass Soak,” medicinal grade chocolate sweetened with raw honey, and a pocket harmonica in the small but strongly present toy section; all perfect ingredients for a Gift Crate, assembled in-store and available for shipping.
According to co-owner Demakis, “we are putting a new spin on an old tradition.” In this writer’s opinion, they have succeeded with flying colors.
Town Wharf General Store
10 Water Street
Mattapoisett, MA 02379
Dee Levanti has farmed in Cohasset since 2011, and previously in Rhode Island. Born in Connecticut, she is a Southern New England mutt who enjoys listening to coyotes howl at dusk.