For almost eight years, Captain Dan’s Pirate Pastry Shop has provided a warm welcome, delicious baked goods and hot, fresh coffee to locals and visitors alike in Lincoln City’s Taft district.
Co-owners Dan and Kathy Draper make a great team — he donning the tri-corner hat to play the pirate while she puts her baking skills to work providing the pastries.
But this weekend, the pair will each be captaining their own ships, with Dan holding down the fort in Taft while Kathy sets up shop a few miles north to cater to the crowds crying out for comfort food at the annual Lincoln City Chowder Cook-Off.
Guests visiting Kathy’s booth at the Lincoln City Outlets will be able to pick from a range of 10 turnovers, including the shop’s undisputed bestseller — the Shipwreck Turnover, the only baked good on the seven seas that combines apples, cream cheese and caramel with the sweet bounty of bacon.
Maple bacon cinnamon rolls will also be on offer for people in search of that sweet-salty combo, while those looking for a more traditional dessert might want to sample Kathy’s beer brownies, made with craft beer from Lincoln City’s own Rusty Truck Brewery.
“The recipe calls for Guinness,” she said, “but it was just so much better with the Taft Toffee Porter.”
Meanwhile, back at the shop, Dan will be serving up all this plus a few new seasonal treats — pumpkin cream cheese turnovers and pumpkin spice bars — which can’t travel to the cook-off due to refrigeration requirements.
The shop’s popular theme cookies, decorated like clown fish and salmon, will be on offer at both locations. And in-between serving customers, Dan will be trying to figure out how to make a clam cookie that would tie in with the cook-off and still look appetizing. He has been wary of messing with mollusks ever since he tried to create an oyster cookie to coincide with the Oyster Cloyster fundraiser in Newport.
“Have you ever seen an oyster?” he said. “It looks like a hardened piece of rock.”
But while this is a tricky problem, Dan counts his blessings that it is at least an interesting one.
Before embracing the pirate lifestyle, Kathy and Dan spent most of their careers in rather staid office environments, at the Portland Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank and in other financial institutions. Dan likes to say that when he was with the Fed, he couldn’t even see the box to think out of.
Since the couple opened the shop in February 2008, they have embraced the opportunity to do something different — decorating the place with nautical details, smart-aleck signs, driftwood mobiles and a mechanical parrot named Polly.
Kathy, who was a prize-winning baker long before they opened the shop, believes in old family recipes, like layer cakes made with real butter and shortening, real whipped cream and fresh eggs, and Northwest favorites like marionberries and hazelnuts. She prides herself on an extra-flaky pie crust and cookies that you can’t stop eating.
The pastries go down easy with a cup of joe from the Pirate Coffee Company, an unaffiliated but equally arrr-dent roasting and retail shop in Depoe Bay. The Drapers grind each batch as they brew it, so the coffee is always fresh and flavorful.
Customers are welcome to take their bounty and leave, but if they stay, Cap’n Dan and his first mate try to show them a good time. They provide coloring pages and books at a kid-level counter, open to children and adults alike. The tables are laden with “Pirate” magazines, and the shelves are stocked with booty including T-shirts and toys.
In between the cookies, pies and cakes you’ll find an ever-changing lineup of goodies in the display cases, including maple cinnamon rolls, macaroons and small tarts filled with jam known as Pirate Eyes.
After all, as Cap’n Dan loves to snarl, “It’s just another day in Pirate Eyes.”
Captain Dan’s Pirate Pastry Shop is at the corner of SW 51st Street and Highway 101 in the Taft neighborhood of Lincoln City. Winter hours are 9 am to 3 pm, Wednesday through Sunday and 9 am to noon on Mondays. You’ll find menus on the web at www.piratepastry.com. For details or to order ahead, call 541-996-4600.