Sippican Cafe gets new name, new owners, new menu

By Georgia Sparling | Feb 15, 2017
Photo by: Georgia Sparling Chris and Jennifer Thibeault hope to open The Atlantic Bistro, formerly Sippican Cafe, by Memorial Day.

Marion — The new owners of Sippican Café want their restaurant to be the spot for a nice night out without a lot of fuss.

“My mantra is ‘simple is better.’” said Chris Thibeault. He added, “We still want it to be approachable, but it will be a little more upscale than Sippican was.”

He and his wife Jennifer aren’t new to the restaurant business. In fact, it’s where they met.

“He was the chef. I was the bartender,” said Jennifer.

After the two married and had kids, they got out of the restaurant business for a while.

“When the kids were little, the whole restaurant thing wasn’t going to work out,” said Chris.

He worked at Great Hill Dairy in Marion for seven years while Jennifer went to work at Verizon. With their two kids approaching their teen years, the time felt right to open a restaurant.

The couple spent three years looking for the perfect place.

“We wanted to own our own building so we could create our own thing, not in someone else's space,” said Jennifer.

Although they originally wanted a spot closer to home, being able to purchase a restaurant that needed few renovations was too good to pass up.

Chris, who was already familiar with Marion, also liked how much the town reminded him of Nantucket, one of several places where he worked.

“We can’t commute to Nantucket, but we can have that same vibe,” he said.

Along with new owners, the Sippican Café will also have a new name – The Atlantic Bistro – and it will have a fresh, seasonal, made-from-scratch menu.

“I threw out all the microwaves that were here,” Chris said.

While he will be “shaking some rust off,” Chris has a good handle on the menu. He has worked in kitchens from here to Cork, Ireland, served as the chef de cuisine at a popular French bistro in the Boston area and cooked for the willing taste testers in his neighborhood.

Chris wants to source seasonal ingredients with an emphasis on local produce, when possible, and he is confident the menu will offer something for everyone.

The tentative menu includes coriander crusted salmon, French onion soup and a burger with smoked bacon. There will also be house-made kielbasa and a “sexy” wine and cocktail menu.

“I don’t want it to be too intimidating to people,” Chris said.

The Thibeaults would like to open by Memorial Day at the latest. In the meantime, they are applying for a liquor license and doing minor upgrades to the building.

Once The Atlantic Bistro does begin to welcome customers it will be for dinners only. The couple said brunch won’t be on the menu just yet.

“We need to get our bearings until we get going,” Jennifer said.

Plus, Chris will run the majority of operations while Jennifer continues working as a manager at Verizon and taking care of the kids while her husband establishes the restaurant. They know owning a business will be a challenge, but Jennifer said having their own place at last is something the whole family is excited about.

“We love the town of Marion and we just love this location.”

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