CHATHAM – Todd Hearle, the investor with local ties who purchased the Chatham Squire in May, has added another iconic business to his portfolio.
Hearle's Captain's House Operating LLC purchased the Captain's House Inn at 369 Old Harbor Rd. Dec. 17 from James and Jill Meyer, who had operated the historic complex centered around an 1839 Hiram Harding House since 2006. The Barnstable County Registry of Deeds lists the sale price as $2,453,000.
Hearle said acquisition of the Captain's House Inn is a “horizontal move” that will be integrate with The Squire, chiefly on the food side of the business.
“It's an opportunity for us to kind of take the team that we have and the all-star players we have and kind of spread into different categories,” he said.
Drew McMullen, whose family once owned and operated Chatham Bars Inn and whom Hearle known since attending junior high in Chatham, will be managing director of the inn, and Karen Marjollett, who ran the front of the house at The Squire, will also be part of the inn's management team. The inn's current assistant manager and most of the rest of the staff will remain, Hearle said.
“We want to make this as seamless as possible,” he said.
Greg Rouhan will move from The Squire's kitchen to the executive chef position at the Captain's House. He will expand breakfast offerings and also prepare dinners that will draw on the resources of The Squire, particularly regarding local seafood, Hearle said.
“I think the cuisine piece is going to be broadened out,” he said, taking advantage of “synergies” with The Squire. “It's an operation where we can easily share best practices.”
The inn will retain its own identity, however, he said. “We're not trying to blend brands.”
The Meyers said the inn had been on the market for a little over a year; after 13 years running the business—and two and a half years before that operating the Carriage House Inn just down the street—they decided it was time to move on. The couple has five children, and “we need to move into something a little more conducive to family life,” said Jill Meyer.
Hearle's interest in the inn came at the right time, and his pledge to retain the staff was “the icing on the cake,” she said. Some had been with the inn since before they purchased the property. “They're like family to us.”
“We're really excited,” said James. “He's a local guy with roots in town. He wants to continue the inn as it is.”
The family will remain in the area and Jill, a justice of the peace, will continue to officiate at weddings.
Hearle also discussed other “horizontal moves” in the works, including opening a shop featuring Squire merchandise in the space across the street from the restaurant formerly occupied by his mother Debbie's gallery. He said he's partnering with local retailer Mahi Gold to develop the shop.
“Squire Mobile,” a 1960s camper retrofit as a traveling bar and raw bar, will further extend the popular eatery's reach. The restaurant gets a lot of calls to cater events and this will allow that to happen, Hearle said, in cooperation with Rory Nickerson of Mobile Mixers. Together, the new ventures broaden The Squire's distribution channels and products.
It seems like a lot to take on, Hearle agreed, but he's relying on the experienced people around him, like he did when he took over The Squire, to “hold the course” and “never lose sight of the deep, salty, soulful heritage, which is the most important piece of the puzzle.”
“There's a lot of newness,” he conceded, “but these aren't insurmountable things. It's all about having the right team.
“At the end of the day,” he added, “doing what's right for the town is the most important piece of the puzzle. The town is so near and dear to everyone's heart.”
Last month the board of selectmen approved the transfer of the inn's beer and wine license from the Meyers to Hearle.