This story was corrected at 12:23 on Thursday, June 9, 2011 to correct the phone number of Salty Bay Takeout.

Q: How long have you been in the takeout business?

A: Since 1998. But (Salty Bay Takeout) has been in business for 37 or 38 years. It was originally owned by Phil Bayley for about 14 years and then sold to his neighbors Kip and Linda Moulton, who owned it for 10 or 11 years before selling it to my wife Kathi and I. 

Q: What’s your business background? 

A: I was in retail. I’m from northeast Philadelphia. I was a store manager for Kmart and was transferred here in 1984 to run the Falmouth Kmart store. In 1986 I became an independent manufacturers representative of gift shop items and sporting goods. My wife was in office administration. 

Q: How did you end up owning a seafood takeout business?

A: My wife and I wanted to something different — something we could own. We’d been coming to the takeout for years, as customers. Kathi saw the (business for sale) ad in the newspaper in 1998 and we decided to go for it and give it a shot. 

Q: Did you buy the business at the end of the season?

A: Actually, we purchased it in the beginning of the season. 

Q: Wow. Didn’t the idea of taking over a popular eatery make you a little apprehensive?

A: No. The previous owners were a tremendous help to us. We had an arrangement going into this that before we purchased it, we’d come in to work with the Moultons and they would stay on a bit to work with us (for a smoother transition). The best thing, for us, was that we inherited a fantastic crew that was well-trained. Our seasoned staff knew how to handle just about anything. And, the Moultons are good friends of ours. So, if we ever needed anything, all we had to do was call. 

Q: Do you remember your first-time impressions of Salty Bay as a customer?

A: My first impression probably is that it represented summertime in Maine and the seasonal seafood you just associate with going to the beach. 

Q: What drew you there? 

A: The clam chowder. It’s my favorite. 

Q: Did you inherit the recipes when you bought the business?

A: Yes. We still use all of the original recipes, including the recipe for the clam cakes, which are all made by hand by my wife and a crew of three or four people. It’s a lot of work. Those are made in advance so that we always have enough on hand. 

Q: Had you ever heard of a clam cake prior to moving to Maine?

A: Never, but I’m willing to try anything once. I’m glad I did. 

Q: How many clam cakes do you make and sell in a season?

A: Many thousands! 

Q: What are the customer favorites?

A: Our batter-fried clams are the most popular. A number of other seafood restaurants don’t sell them anymore. 

Q: Why is that? 

A: It’s a lot more work to make them. Each clam has to be individually hand-dipped in batter and then into the oil. When you use crumbs, which we also offer, you can coat a full portion of them and put them into the Fryolator at the same time. 

Q: Do you fry all of the seafood together?

A: No. We have six individual Fryolators, and each of them is dedicated to frying one certain food item. That helps to maintain the individual flavors. And, we like to change the oil as often as possible to keep it tasting fresh. 

Q: Are you a strictly seafood operation?

A: Pretty much. We offer burgers and hot dogs too, but the bulk of the food is haddock, Maine shrimp, scallops, lobster rolls, crab meat and shrimp rolls and our ever-popular french fries and onion rings. Our dinners come with a roll and coleslaw. 

Q: Do you make everything yourself?

A: Not the fries and rings — but we are looking into doing that. Everything else is made by us. Kathi makes the coleslaw and each order of seafood is made and cooked per order. 

Q: What’s your primary role? 

A: My wife and I split the work to manage and run things. One of us is always on site. We start the day around 7 a.m. to deal with vendors or supplies and to set up for the day. I do a lot of the cooking and she does much of the prep work and interacting with the public. I had a customer from North Carolina call this morning to say they’d arrived in Maine and were wondering how she was doing. 

Q: Do you have a faithful following of customers?

A: Yes. A lot of them have been coming here for years. And, they all have their favorite (takeout foods). We often pack up half-gallon buckets of our chowder and pack it in ice for them to take home on their way back to places like Canada, New Jersey or North Carolina. We also inherited a fabulous staff of workers who come back each summer season. Most of them are high school students, some who have gone on to college and still are working for us. Some of those kids have parents who used to work here during summers in high school. 

Q: What are your seasonal hours?

A: We open the first week of April for Friday nights and weekend hours. In June, we’re open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday, and from July 4 to Labor Day, we’re open seven days a week, same hours. We shut down two weeks after Labor Day. We find that folks are summered out by then and our student workers have gone back to school and sporting schedules. 

Q: How many employees do you have?

A: Twenty-two to 25. 

Q: Is dessert on the menu? 

A: Yes, we have novelty ice creams and we sell Martel’s ice cream, which is made locally. We have added a chocolate cake with raspberry icing, Boston cream and Key lime pies to the menu too. Those are made by professionals, not us. 

Q: Do you offer indoor or outdoor dining?A: We are strictly a takeout operation. We have several picnic tables set up out back on a lawn that overlooks the Scarborough Marsh. It’s a great view. 

Q: What makes Salty Bay popular with customers?

A: Hopefully, the quality of our food. We intentionally kept the old recipes for the customers who come expecting a product done a specific way. We’ve added a few new things, like grilled shrimp on skewers. But mostly we offer the traditional items Salty Bay is known for. 

Q: What do you love most about this business?

A: The best thing is getting to meet the people, who come back time after time.