Most kids growing up in a small seaside town like Rockport dream about getting “off-island” in search of the elusive grass that is always greener in their minds. So, it’s rare to find a young couple like John and Lindsay Porter who not only have no desire to move away but are determined to make a difference in the community they live in by sharing their passion for locally sourced food and beverages.
“John and I both grew up in Rockport. We met in high school and started dating when I was in college. We’ve been together eleven years, married for almost four years. I started working in his mother’s restaurant, The Fish Shack on Dock Square. I slowly got involved with John and his father’s business, Roy Moore Lobster Company. A few years ago, John and I became aware that the town was interested in creating package store licenses to move the town into more modern times and away from its famous history of prohibition. We immediately jumped on that and worked with the town closely to create these licenses.”
Lindsay, an ambitious, energetic woman with degrees in both art history and art education, went to school in Virginia, explored other parts of the country, and eventually gravitated back to her hometown roots in Rockport. John never left the town, working in his family’s business since high school, and says he doesn’t regret a second of it. John has worked on every type of fishing boat and has explored all avenues of the fishing industry.
Pre-pandemic, the couple were frequent travelers and spent a lot of time in Italy, the birthplace of the slow food movement, which inspired them to seek out local and organic foods. The natural complement seemed to be locally sourced drinks, which lead Lindsay down the path of researching natural wines and craft beers.
Lindsay owns and operates Sea & Cellar, which she opened at her original location in Dock Square at the height of the pandemic, on July 2, 2020. She offers 100 percent natural, specialty organic wines and micro-craft beer. She works with only small producers that ensure her standard from field to cellar, most of them North Shore artisanal food makers, producers, and growers. “I love to support small makers who do their job to protect their land against chemicals and unnecessary machinery. I seek out honest makers who believe in low intervention all around. Organic food growers follow that process, giving back to the land as they’re taking from it.”
John is currently 50 percent owner of Rockport’s 104-year-old Roy Moore Lobster Company, one of three remaining “open-system” lobster companies, a staple of the local lobster trade and the only functioning fishing and retail operation in town. Roy Moore was the first of six different owners, including John’s father who is in a succession plan with John to become 100 percent owner within five years. “One hundred percent of our lobster meat is hand shucked, 90 percent by me, cooked in sea water and unpasteurized. All our lobster comes from the local lobstering community, most subcontracted from the boats that sit in the cove next to Motif Number 1, located right behind our retail location. The lobsters are loaded off the boats and walked a few feet away to the kitchen in our lobster shack.”
Last summer, John and Lindsay were hard at work laying the groundwork to implement even more synergy between their two businesses. “It was our dream to collaborate and take our personal theme and apply it to our businesses. Roy Moore was offering a BYOB option and our private catered events were gaining traction. Our collective ethos is about honest, natural, local food and drink that represents the small fisherman, the small wine and beer producer, local artisan food makers and chocolate makers. We are working with the town’s ‘eco’ plans to ban plasticware and bottles. The only negative feedback we received was that we were not near each other.”
Roy Moore has been in the same location for over a century. The building is a seasonal uninsulated shack that cannot run during the winter months. The unit next door to Roy Moore went up for sale, and John and Lindsay had first refusal. “Naturally we knew that this was the move we were both looking for. We put a prep kitchen in the rear of my unit, which will allow John to add options to his menu that he didn’t have space for before. My building and license are year-round so I will be able to aid in extending John’s season, offering his items year-round at Sea & Cellar. When we get a gorgeous day in the middle of winter, people can sit out on the back deck and enjoy prepared meals created by Roy Moore Lobster. With this new location we can seamlessly expand our collaborate together.”
“Along with the original benefits of BYOB, I am also creating a curated menu that pairs John’s menu items to the alcoholic beverages and foods I offer. And with increasing requests for catered events, we also plan on doing a weekly 'pop-up' that involves food and beverage pairings in the evenings on the Roy Moore deck. We hope that this exemplifies this new seamless synergy.”
CONTACT Roy Moore Lobster Company / Sea & Cellar, 39 A&B Bearskin Neck, Rockport, 978-546-6696, 978-999-5249