Connecticut natives and owners of , Jennifer and Fred Bogue have a couple of sayings to live by, “We serve good food and a bad joke” and “turn a negative into a positive.”
A hogged mascot take-out, Bogue's Alley country style deli and store located just on the Pawcatuck side of the bridge, has been a neighborhood hub for seven years. The business has held its own and is hog-wildly popular with locals. The product is great and the owners know how to create community worth sticking around for.
The mossy green interior is filled with comedic country style plaques with sayings like “I’d rather have a winey taste than a tiny waist," confirming Jennifer’s philosophy that people want to hang out in a jovial environment.
Jennifer and Fred, brightly lit people with a natural propensity for fun, clearly have a positive effect on their community.
Kitchen employee Tara Moore with the business for six years said that Bogue’s possesses the happiness factor. “I have fun here everyday,” she said.
Daily customer named Jen jetted in for her tea and muffin, throwing in her two cents worth on the way out: ”It’s the best place to come and they are the best people!”
Jennifer and Fred Bogue met 36 years ago working at the Seamen's Inne. Jennifer, was a hostess and waitress from the Hartford area and Fred was a line cook from Westerly who graduated from Johnson & Whales in 1976. Within three years of meeting, they married and moved to Pawcatuck. Collectively they decided restaurant life was no place to raise a family so Fred traded in the apron strings for construction boots.
Jennifer worked various part time jobs until she opened in 1998. Inspired by a similar business in Martha’s Vineyard, she planted the seed in Pawcatuck. After about seven years, the corner storefront became available, Jennifer sold the business and merged talents with Fred opening Bogue's Alley. They created a corner hang out which Jennifer feels locals were hungry for.
“I thought we could do a good job of it and I wanted Fred off the rooftops,” Jennifer said.
They liked the proximity to the beaches and Mystic. Fred also comments that Pawcatuck is affordable and filled with many rooted families and lifelong friends.
Bogue’s has mostly been a success but a few bumps have surfaced over the years.
“During the flood, we were not legally able to come in here and we lost about $20,000,” Fred said. “We didn’t know if and when we were going to re-open but we were lucky.” “We were much more fortunate than others who had physical damage.”
And when the street beautification project was underway in Pawcatuck, construction workers had to block Bogue’s parking for two weeks they thought it was better to go with the flow.
“We bought them all Bogue’s t-shirts and they began decorating the pig out in front. I came in one morning and it had a hard hat and an orange vest. They painted a piece of the granite curb like cheese,” Jennifer laughed. “We made friends with them, had fun and turned a negative into a positive.”
Fred admits they have a great life and with two successful businesses under their belt, they have made the community better than they found it.
“We’ve pretty much achieved what we’ve set out to do: having a place where people can come in and see people they know," Fred said. "We've made it past the five year mark and as long as our legs hold out, hopefully we'll make it another five."