Wild Clover Cafe & Market owner Tanya McCarthy dips her brush in yellow paint while experimenting with a variety of shades that she painted Monday near the entrance to her new business on Silver Street in downtown Waterville. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel

WATERVILLE — Freshly baked French and German pastry, quiche and other European fare will be offered at a new cafe and market expected to open in June on the Silver Street restaurant strip downtown.

Tanya McCarthy is renovating the former State Farm Insurance office at 16 Silver St. and said she plans to open Wild Clover Cafe & Market on June 24, with a couple of tables inside and two on the sidewalk.

“I’m passionate about pastry, particularly French pastry,” McCarthy said Monday. “We will have pastries, homemade bread — small rolls with local honey and jams, French tarts and French sandwiches, croque madam or monsieur. On the market side, I’m working with Maine artisans to have really nice, locally made items, like tea towels.”

She said she also would like to import some gourmet items from Europe and Australia to feature at the business.

McCarthy said she grew up in Germany, has traveled the world and wants to bring the foods she loves most to Waterville. She has worked for many years in the restaurant and hotel business.

“We moved to the Waterville area maybe 15 to 20 years ago and then moved to Australia for a number of years and came back,” she said. “I’ve done cakes out of my home, but my passion is pastry.”


McCarthy said she often admired the former insurance office building on Silver Street — that office has since moved to Kennedy Memorial Drive — and thought it would be a perfect location for a cafe and market.

“It came up for sale and I said to my husband, ‘It’s now or never, ‘” McCarthy said. “My vision is to bring a little bit of the world to central Maine. You travel and you miss certain things — things that I enjoy in life. That’s just kind of what I’d like to share.”

The cafe and market joins a number of eateries on Silver Street, including Silver Street Tavern, The Last Unicorn, Cancun Mexican Restaurant and 18 Below, which also have outdoor seating in warmer months.

The City Council recently approved a food license for Wild Clover and authorized the closing of part of Silver Street for outdoor dining.

McCarthy’s new business comes during what many are calling Waterville’s renaissance. It includes an $11.2 million downtown revitalization project launched by the city, Colby College and the state Department of Transportation that will change the traffic pattern on Main and Front streets by the end of this year from one-way to two-way and improve intersections, sidewalks and landscaping.

Also, millions of dollars are being invested downtown by Colby and others to build new structures and rehabilitate and fill vacant buildings.


Tanya McCarthy is opening a new business, Wild Clover Cafe & Market, on Silver Street in downtown Waterville. McCarthy, shown in front of the cafe Monday, plans to open in June. She said the ongoing downtown revitalization effort was a factor in her decision to launch the business. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel

Colby has built the Lockwood Hotel, a $26 million project a stone’s throw from the Silver Street restaurant strip, and the $25 million Bill & Joan Alfond Main Street Commons, which houses students and staff members on upper floors and commercial on the ground floor.

The college has also worked with Waterville Creates to raise $18 million and build the Paul J. Schupf Art Center, now under construction on Main Street; developed the Greene Block + Studios across the street from the Lockwood Hotel; and renovated the former Waterville Savings Bank on Main Street into offices and retail space.

McCarthy said the activity downtown played into her decision to open a business there.

“I can feel the energy downtown,” she said. “It’s wonderful. I think the timing is right and I’m excited I get to start this with the renewal of downtown.”

As part of the renovations in the former insurance office, a kitchen is being built and other work is progressing. McCarthy said she plans to hire someone to work at the front of the house, as sort of a barista, and another person to work in the kitchen. She plans to be open 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. or 7 p.m. on Tuesday through Saturday.

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