When Bill Mulholland moved to Port Washington, he thought it would be great to have a place to get a chopped salad or a bagel close to the train station on Main Street.
Three years later, on April 5, he opened Schmear Bakery and Market at 83 Main St., which serves sandwiches, bagels, salads, cookies, pastries and more.
“It’s been amazing so far,” Mulholland said. “It’s been a good start and it’s been very busy.”
On April 7, Schmear held its grand opening hosted by the Port Washington Chamber of Commerce, joined by the Port Washington Business Improvement District and local elected officials.
With his wife, Jean, commuting to New York City every day, Mulholland said, the couple began discussing what type of eatery would fill a void on Main Street near the train station.
“We definitely wanted it to be on Main Street, and we wanted it to be near the train station,” he said. “We wanted to fill a void with what we thought was missing from the neighborhood.”
Schmear is a Yiddish word that means spread, such as cream cheese spread.
With a degree from the French Culinary Institute in New York, now the International Culinary Center, and his background owning the bar, Mulholland’s, with his brother in Brooklyn, Mulholland said he was up for the task.
“We stayed true to what we wanted to do and focused on the things we wanted to focus on like breads and the salad bar and coffee,” he said.
All of the food is made in-house, Mulholland said, with most of the ingredients coming from local sellers.
“We really wanted to focus on getting good ingredients with no artificial things in them and no food coloring,” he said. “For our salad bar, we buy the best possible local ingredients, and even for simple things like cold cuts, we just use Boar’s Head because we’re trying to serve the best possible things.”
Schmear serves Toby’s Estate Coffee, which is roasted in Brooklyn, and has been a popular menu item since the market’s opening, Mulholland said.
“It’s really cool,” he said. “They trained us, told us what to buy and how to hook it up and trained the staff. The coffee is out of this world and is roasted in small batches for us. It’s perfect.”
Through the 18 months it took to open, aspects of the store’s design changed, he said.
“I guess we had a vision going into it but ripped apart some things and found a tin ceiling and a tin wall and two windows that were covered,” Mulholland said.
With large exterior windows drawing in natural light, Schmear’s assortment of food is in different areas, with a bagel and spread section near the counter to order, and a salad bar and pastries and cookie section to the sides.
There are three island tables set up in the center of the market with baskets of snacks, and off to the side are tables to sit and eat.
Mulholland said Schmear has 21 employees, many of whom live locally.
The Business Improvement District recently issued Schmear a $5,000 facade rehabilitation grant and a $2,000 new tenant bonus grant.
“Our organization is very thankful to Bill Mulholland for beautifying the facade and for choosing Port Washington as their home for Schmear Bakery & Market,” Mariann Dalimonte, executive director of the BID, said.