Lincoln City has been a sweeter place to live and to visit ever since Kathy and Dan Draper planted their Jolly Roger at the corner of SE 51st Street and Hwy. 101, in the Taft district.
But the trusty old skull and crossbones will be playing second fiddle to another, more colorful, flag this weekend, as the piratical pair welcome the influx of visitors heading to the beach for the July Fourth weekend.
The lively shop, where sweet treats collide head on with a helping of wise-ass wit, is a veritable treasure trove of cookies, pies, cakes and pastries — all served up with a pirate theme.
Chief among the offerings is the shop’s undisputed bestseller — the shipwreck turnover.
“It’s probably the only baked good on the seven seas that combines apples, cream cheese and caramel with the sweet bounty of BACON,” Dan said. “We called it a shipwreck because that’s what it looked like when we took it out of the oven.”
Bacon also plays a key role in the couple’s newest offering, a savory turnover called the Jalapeno Popper, combining cream cheese, pepperjack cheese and jalapenos with bacon on top for a treat that is hot as a firecracker.
Before embracing the pirate lifestyle, Kathy and Dan earned their stripes as banking stars in the Portland Branch of the Federal Reserve Bank and 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 they opened their pastry shop in February 2008, he has been a full-time pirate, wearing a leather tri-corner hat and dispensing the pirate puns.
“This is a fun job,” he said. “It’s the world’s greatest job. It gets me out of the neighborhood, and off the street. We’re still really passionate about what we do.
The shop’s cases are filled with freshly made turnovers, chewy chocolate-draped macaroons and sweet, fruity muffin tops. They’re all old-fashioned recipes, stolen from Kathy’s little old pirate grandma.
The Drapers have decorated their restaurant with nautical details, smart-aleck signs, driftwood art and a mechanical parrot named Polly. In between the cookies, pies and cakes you’ll find maple cinnamon rolls, macaroons and Pirate Eyes (small tarts filled with jam). As Cap’n Dan loves to snarl, “It’s just another day in Pirate Eyes.”
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 rolls and coffee 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.
And everything will be shipshape and looking its best this holiday weekend, when the July Fourth fireworks at nearby Siletz Bay combine with beach weather to give Dan and Kathy one of their busiest times of the year.
“It takes a certain kind of Disney personality, because people can be hard sometimes,” Dan said. “I wish that every customer was like that little boy who came in and said, “Mr. Pirate! I waited ALL NIGHT to come here!” I hope that boy remembers me, because I will remember him. Maybe he’ll come visit me someday in the nursing home.”
Captain Dan’s Pirate Pastry Shop, at the corner of SW 51st Street and Hwy. 101 in the Taft neighborhood of Lincoln City, is open from 8:30 am to 4 pm every day except Tuesday. You’ll find menus on the web at www.piratepastry.com. For details or to order ahead, call 541-996-4600.