By Ann Luongo
On any given weekend, at any time of year, throngs of hungry locals and visitors can be found at The Blueberry Muffin in the South Plymouth village of Cedarville. While it has moved one block up Route 3A to a larger location from its original, much-smaller digs, and has expanded to two other locations as well, the food and service continue to draw customers from near and far.
Kevin and Rosemarie Brown, the husband-and-wife team who own e Blueberry Muffin, opened their original restaurant back in 1998. It was located in the corner of a tiny plaza off State Road, and if you didn’t know it was there, you’d probably drive right by it. But locals knew it and loved it, and would stand in lines out the door just to experience the breakfasts, lunches and bakery items.
“We decided to open back in 1998,” Kevin said. “I was a director of operations for a Dunkin Donuts franchise owner for 10 years. I started with one store and opened three more, training the bakers, counter staff, looking for new locations, pulling permits and overseeing the construction.”
Rosemarie had previously worked in the financial industry for Scudder. As time went on, the couple decided to put their combined energy and experience into a restaurant of their own.
They had a vision of what they wanted to do – offer a breakfast place with great baked goods and a full, sit-down restaurant. “People said we were crazy, opening across the street from a Dunkin Donuts, but I had my own ideas of what I wanted,” Kevin said.
The couple also decided to open a second location, in Kingston, which has been wildly popular, and continues to thrive. But due to the Cedarville restaurant’s increasing popularity and the need for a much larger space, the couple decided to move. They ended up leaving the original location and moved business one block up on State Road (Route 3A), and built a new, beautiful store, expanding from 32 seats to 60 seats.
According to Kevin, the fun and excitement of the new location was short-lived. “The Pinehills came knocking and wanted us to move into there, also,” he said. “We were still overwhelmed from our grand opening in Cedarville, and my wife and I were having reservations about moving in (to The Pinehills).” It was their son, also named Kevin, who convinced them that they would regret it if they didn’t take this opportunity.
“My oldest son, Kevin, was graduating from Johnson and Wales at the time as a chef, and surprised us by saying he wanted to stay in the breakfast business instead of a traditional nighttime restaurant. Never did we ever try to persuade him into working for us, it just happened.” Kevin left most of the work to his son, and The Pinehills location has been a success. Their son now oversees all three of the restaurants. According to his dad, “His youth and education add a great vibe to all the stores.”
Kevin said he and Rosemarie often look back to the original location and think about how far they’ve come. “We used to have my youngest son, Joe, in a playpen in the kitchen. I would give him pie dough to play with like it was playdough; the playpen would be covered in white, hard pastry dough.”
The kids, he said, would stop by before they got on the bus for school and their daughter would grab a cinnamon stick for the bus driver.
“Her nickname became ‘Cinnamon Stick’ with the bus driver, who would pick up my kids right at the restaurant. A cinnamon stick can go a long way!” he said, jokingly. “We had a TV with a VHS machine in the kitchen, and my son, Kevin, would watch the same ‘Indiana Jones’ movies over and over again. I used to yell at the cooks because they would be watching them too!”
Working together as a couple can have both its benefits and its drawbacks, but the Browns seem to make it work.
“Working with my wife has been the most wonderful experience,” Kevin said. “We learned at a very early time not to take the stress and differences home with us. Everything is left at the restaurant when the day is done. I know this is not for everyone, but I wouldn’t change a thing.”
Since bringing their son into the business, the menu has changed to reflect fresher, healthier entrees. They use fresh chicken, not frozen; all soups are homemade; and there is avocado and kale in many dishes, as well.
But they still offer many of the staples, like corned-beef hash, which is boiled for five and a half hours and shredded by hand, and the Lumberjack breakfast of two eggs, four pieces of meat, home fries, toast and two Frisbee-sized pancakes. The most popular breakfast, hands down, is still two eggs, over easy, crispy bacon, home fries, and their country white bread.
Even with three locations in operation, the couple is still keeping an eye toward the future.
“We do have plans to expand,” Kevin said. “Every week, I take a drive to look for new locations, mostly on the South Shore Route 3 area. I may have a new spot this fall in the Marshfield/Pembroke area, but we’ll have to see.”
The original Blueberry Muffin location originally employed 10 people. The three locations now employ 100, according to Kevin.
And keeping it a family business is still a priority.
“I have an ace up my sleeve in my second son, Joe, who will graduate from Johnson and Wales this spring and wants to stay in the family business. Plus our daughter, who is the oldest, just moved back from New Orleans where she was working in the restaurant business, and she will be involved in our restaurants, also.”
So what separates The Blueberry Muffin from the rest of the breakfast pack? “I think what separates us from most breakfast restaurants is the fact that we bake 12 different kinds of muffins, 12 different donuts and plenty of other pasties. We have three full-time bakers, but we also have full breakfast and lunch. All of our cooks and managers care about our business as if they were family. We very rarely have a lot of turnover with the employees, and most have been with us since opening. We have one woman who has worked for us for 20 years.”
The Browns feel that The Blueberry Muffin has been rewarding for them in so many ways, from the people they’ve met to the opportunities they’ve had outside of the restaurant. Kevin said he would have never become the president and founder of Plymouth Girls Travel Basketball and the president of South Plymouth Boys Basketball if it wasn’t for the people they’d met at the restaurant. “My kids say those travel teams where the ‘funnest’ times of their lives.”
Kevin credits his wife for their success. “If it wasn’t for Rosemarie, there would be no Blueberry Muffin. She was the one who believed in me, telling me I can do anything when sometimes you’re afraid to take a chance. As they say, behind every good man there is a great woman and I happened to find one. And she’s beautiful too!”
The Blueberry Muffin’s three locations are open every day for breakfast and lunch. e three locations are: 2240 State Road, Plymouth; 164 Summer St., Kingston; and 12 Village Green South, at The Pinehills, Plymouth. You can check out their website and all their delicious offerings at bluebmuffin.com.
Breakfast with the Browns: The Blueberry Muffin keeps its customers coming back for more
By Ann Luongo