In Beverly, as Democrats and Republicans ramp up for Election 2012, Marino’s Café sits happily between the needling neighbors. by Kiley Jacques
People can be picky when it comes to who moves in next door, but Victoria Farnsworth, owner of Marino’s Café in Beverly, knows the value of an open mind, open-door policy. Neutrality serves her well. She, in turn, serves a lot of sandwiches.
Home to Marino’s Café, 200 Rantoul Street lies in the middle of a political hotbed. With the Beverly Democratic City Committee (BDCC) residing at 202 Rantoul Street and the Beverly Republican City Committee (BRCC) making its headquarters at 198 Rantoul, there will be, suffice it to say, some tension in the neighborhood.
But Farnsworth stays out of it. She is thrilled to have the foot traffic and word-of-mouth business that have been the direct result of her neighbors’ political gatherings. “Doesn’t matter what side you’re on,” she says. “Y’all love good food.” The next-door goings-on mean one thing to her: a steady flow of people with appetites. And that’s why Farnsworth and co-owner Anthony Marino, dual winners of Beverly’s Chamber of Commerce 2012 Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award, have been working hard to feed both political parties.
Since early summer when the GOP arrived at the relatively quiet end of Rantoul Street, the politicians have made good use of their neighbors’ culinary skills; more recently, Democrats have started wandering in the café’s direction. In addition to providing personalized catering services, making connections with people is something Farnsworth values. “We like to know our customers and know what they want when they come in,” she says.
With that attitude, it’s no surprise that Marino’s is a place where political peeps like to perch while working on issues that concern the nation. One of the café’s most consistent goers is BRCC’s media director, Medley Long, who regularly enjoys a pulled pork sandwich at the counter, where Farnsworth is happy to host.
For the most part, regardless of affiliations, the restaurateurs’ long-time fans are glad they’re getting business, no matter its origin. Everyone seems pleased that the activists aren’t looking to chain establishments for help with their events and instead are choosing local when it comes time to eat.
There’s heightened excitement in the air as Election Day draws near, and the folks of Marino’s are enjoying the season’s buzz. With the notion that Republicans are more apt to attend Trivia Night, whereas Democrats could easily show up for Open Mic, Farnsworth sees potential for increased business everywhere. “We might try to coax them with our cordials,” she jokes. The possibility of one party’s constituents showing up for refreshments without realizing the other party’s members are there is an idea that Farnsworth gets a kick out of. Whatever gets people jazzed and their juices flowing—that’s the idea behind business at Marino’s.
No matter the menu item, no matter the vote to be cast, Farnsworth and Marino are delighted to be smack in the middle of the action. Marinoscafe.net.