Craving a sweet treat or a savory lunch? Morse, of course, knows a great local spot for you to try — Capt. Bonney’s in Rochester, Massachusetts. Open from March through mid-October, Capt. Bonney’s serves up 70 different flavors of ice cream, as well as a menu of mouthwatering hot dogs, sandwiches, paninis, and wraps.
This hometown favorite has been a business insurance client of Morse’s since January 2020. That’s when Amber Viera, a former Capt. Bonney’s cashier and ice cream scooper, took over as owner. However, the story of Capt. Bonney’s actually started over a decade ago.
Of course, the first thing most people want to know is how Capt. Bonney’s got its interesting name. According to Amber, the restaurant’s namesake is Nathaniel Bonney, a whaling captain and historic figure in the Rochester area, as well as the original owner of the property Capt. Bonney’s now sits on.
Capt. Bonney’s was not the initial name, though. Previously, the business had been called Pine View, and it was solely an ice cream shop. But when a new owner-operator took over in 2011, she decided to change things up a bit. She leaned into the property’s nautical roots, renamed the restaurant Capt. Bonney’s, decorated it with ocean-themed décor, and included several sea-inspired items on the food menu, such as the now-famous lobster roll and clam chowder.
Don’t worry, there is also still lots and lots of ice cream. Capt. Bonney’s sweet treats menu includes traditional hard-serve flavors, sherbets, frozen yogurt, and sugar-free and dairy-free options, as well as frappes, freezes, cookie sandwiches, and sundaes. Plus, every month, members of the staff—many of whom are local high schoolers and college kids home for the summer—try to invent a special ice cream dessert for patrons to try. If their idea is a hit, then Amber sometimes keeps it on the menu for the long-term. Capt. Bonney’s ice cream is so popular that customers often stock up on quarts of it at the end of the season, so they can still have their favorite flavors throughout the long East Coast winter.
Amber has her own long history with the restaurant. In 2011, when she was 15 years old, Amber and her family moved to Rochester from New Bedford, Massachusetts. New to the area, she went searching for a summer job, not sure what she would be able to find. With her mom driving her around, they spotted Capt. Bonney’s, which was still undergoing renovations by the new owner. Her mother encouraged her to walk up to the window and see if they were open yet and needed help. Not only did Amber leave with a job, she was one of the first employees hired.
For the next eight years, Amber worked side-by-side with Capt. Bonney’s founder, Linda Plaud, scooping ice cream and serving food, while at the same time learning about what it takes to run a successful business. When Linda was ready to take a lesser role at Capt. Bonney’s, Amber was the first person Linda thought might be interested in purchasing the restaurant.
Since the summer of 2011, Amber had benefitted from a front-row seat to the restaurant’s growth. Capt. Bonney’s had tripled its number of ice cream and food options, hired more part-time employees each year due to demand, and hosted numerous events like birthday parties and an annual end-of-summer get-together for the local library. She also knew there was still so much opportunity. In January of 2020, at just 24 years old, Amber became the proud new owner of Capt. Bonney’s.
Through all the years and changes, including two different owners, Capt. Bonney’s has managed to keep its family-friendly atmosphere and prices. There is abundant outdoor seating. There’s a farm out back where people can watch horses roam. And there are lots of safe areas for kids to play, including a playground, basketball hoops, and a volleyball net. This gives adults the freedom to hang out, relax, and simply enjoy their meal and, of course, dessert. Amber is dedicated to keeping Capt. Bonney’s a place where you can bring the whole family and not break the bank.
While local families are a big part of the clientele, Capt. Bonney’s attracts a wide range of customers, from employees on their lunch break to vacationers driving back and forth to the Cape. Through the power of word of mouth, people are hearing about Capt. Bonney’s amazing food and ice cream and coming to taste for themselves from all over the South Shore.
However, it’s not just the sweet treats and excellent food that keep people coming back every summer. Amber gives a lot of credit to her staff for helping her create an exceptionally fun, friendly, and customer-service-oriented atmosphere. Amber, Linda, who still serves as Capt. Bonney’s manager, and the young team of scoopers and servers are highly committed to always creating a safe and positive experience for customers.
It makes sense that when Amber needed the right insurance to safeguard her business, she only wanted to work with a local insurance team that shared her same customer-service values. Amber was already familiar with Morse Insurance, because her car was insured through the independent, family-owned agency, and she had experienced the top-notch customer service the Morse team provided. Whenever she had an issue or question, Amber always walked away from a conversation with her dedicated agent feeling even more confident in her policy and with additional knowledge about her coverage. So, it was an easy decision to keep working with the local team at Morse, who will help her protect Capt. Bonney’s with the right small business insurance.
Morse, of course, encourages you to head out to Capt. Bonney’s before the season is over and get your lobster roll, clam chowder, and ice cream fix. If you find yourself overwhelmed by all the ice cream choices, Amber gave us three flavors that are her favorites right now: Cookie Dough, Blueberry Cheesecake, and S’mores. We’re sure you’ll find one or more that you’ll love!