The Day – New cafe kicks off restaurant upgrades at Mystic Seaport


Mystic – A new cafe has opened at the north entrance of the Mystic Seaport Museum in the Thompson Exhibition Building, the first in a series of changes by new food and beverage operator Lancer Hospitality.

The Propeller Coffee Bar opened in mid-January, the same time Lancer took over as the museum’s main food and beverage operator.

The cafe serves espresso drinks such as cappuccinos, chai lattes, and Americanos, along with coffee from Fuel America. Baked and take-out items available on Friday included a Nutella banana nut muffin, banana sesame crunch bread, cheese bento box, sandwiches and salads.

It is open during museum hours, which are currently 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Thursday through Sunday, but will extend to 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily from March 31 through October 30.

The space has housed different things over the years, most recently a Social Coffee Roastery location. Christopher Watson, district manager for Lancer Hospitality, noted that the Propeller Coffee Bar is open to all members of the public, not just museum visitors.

Schaefer’s Spouter Tavern and Galley Restaurant, which are only open to museum patrons, will be refreshed in March and April, respectively, Watson said. Spouter Tavern will have a new menu and QR codes on patio tables so people can order food from outside.

Lancer Hospitality is a subsidiary of culinary management group Elior North America, and Watson noted that Lancer specializes in museums, zoos and aquariums. Lancer started working with Mystic Aquarium in 2019.

Coastal Gourmet ran the Galley restaurant and catering operations, but their contract had expired and they did not participate in the request for proposals that resulted in the contract with Lancer, museum spokesman Dan McFadden said. Coastal Gourmet continues to operate Latitude 41, which is currently closed for the season.

“We’ve been very impressed with Lancer in the interview process with different companies, and I know they’re doing a great job with the aquarium,” McFadden said. He added: “We were looking for someone to take food service to the next level.”

Watson said Lancer will also exclusively provide on-property catering services and host events. The company will also handle weddings at Mystic Seaport.

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