By Patrick Alexander

Oregon Coast TODAY

Millions of Americans hit the road for Presidents’ Day weekend and, for many, the sight of Captain Dan’s Pirate Pastry Shop will signal that their road trip is at an end and their vacation at the coast can finally begin.

Located in Lincoln City’s southerly Taft District, the shop offers a warm welcome to visitors, with Kathy Draper baking up a storm in the kitchen while husband Dan greets customers dressed in full pirate garb — complete with tricorner hat and occasional eye patch.

But while he’s clearly an expert in naval matters, how much does Cap’n Dan know about the Commander in Chief? We decided to find out in this special Presidents’ Day interview.

TODAY: As you peruse your ever-present wall chart of past presidents, are there any that you think would have made good additions to a pirate crew?

DAN: All of them. They all set sail in different directions but eventually, they all walk the plank. After they’ve left office or been kicked out, they can be pirates and have a holiday named after them.

TODAY: Which past presidents do you admire the most?

DAN: The two presidents I like the most are Lincoln; because I’ve heard there’s a city named after him on the Oregon Coast, and Washington, because of the pot.

TODAY: The pot?

DAN: Arrrr! Pots are just perfect for filling with gold when you run out of room in your treasure chest.

TODAY: Local murder mystery author Ron Lovell cast you as mayor of the fictional Taft-by-the-Bay in his recent book “Carnival.” Would you ever consider running for the nation’s highest office?

DAN: Aye!

TODAY: Are you officially declaring yourself a candidate for the presidency?

DAN: No. I’ll never declare anything at tax time. You’ll get nothing out of me.

TODAY: What is your platform?

DAN: I don’t have a platform. I have a plank, you see. Everybody should have a plank if they are running for president. It makes it a whole lot easier if you end up having to drop out.

TODAY: Are you concerned that being a pirate could alienate some sectors of the electorate, like the Coast Guard?

DAN: Pirates don’t offend anybody. They love everybody — so donate now. The treasure chest is almost empty. I can hear the bottom rattle. That’s a problem that comes with age, the bottom rattle. It’s telling me I’ve run aground somewhere.

TODAY: If elected, what would be the first thing you do upon entering the White House?

DAN: I’d install a dock right on Pennsylvania Avenue. There would have to valet docking for the president. Then I’d go to the kitchen and start baking.

TODAY: What would be the first pastry to come out of President Cap’n Dan’s kitchen?

DAN: It would have to be our Pirate Eyes. That way, when people ask me how the job is going I can say: “Just another day in pirate eyes.”

TODAY (sampling a pirate eye): They’re very chewy. I’m going to have to stop talking for a minute.

DAN: That’s right. I’ll be handing them out at press conferences. They’re designed to keep two year olds really quiet. They should work for junior senators and speakers of the house, too.

Besides Pirate Eyes, the store’s shelves are filled with maple cinnamon rolls, and an impressive array of turnovers, cookies, muffin tops and pies.

Ever since opening, the pair have baked throughout the day in small batches to keep cases filled with fresh goods, partly, Kathy said, because they couldn’t figure out any other way to do it. The baking strategy also means that customers have the chance of stepping through the door at the very moment that a fresh batch of treats is emerging.

“A lot of times, people will wait because they know they love it fresh out of the oven,” Kathy said.

Captain Dan’s Pirate Pastry Shop is located at 5070 SE Hwy. 101 in the Taft district of Lincoln City. Opening hours are from 8:30 am to 3 pm every day except Tuesday. To reach them, call 541-996-4600.

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