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Marblehead’s newest restaurant will feature the town’s history

Ericka Ayube will be opening the Mugford eatery where Haley's Wines & Market Cafe is now. (Owen O'Rourke)

MARBLEHEAD –The Mugford Eatery will be the newest place to commandeer brunch downtown this summer.

Named for James Mugford, a Marblehead ship captain who served in the Continental Navy and died in a naval engagement in Boston Harbor in 1776, the restaurant’s theme hones in on the town’s history and artistic community.

Ericka Ayube, a longtime employee of Haley’s Wines and Market Cafe on Washington Street, hopes to open the business in time for the Marblehead Festival of Arts in July. Haley’s is slated to close to make way for the new restaurant on May 28.

“As an artist, I’ve shifted my medium to food,” said Ayube. “I get creative with food the way I used to get creative with art. I can take a regular, basic recipe and put my own flair on it and it kind of comes to me naturally.”

Ayube began her career in Marblehead almost a decade ago working at Foodie’s Feast, which was located at the current site of Haley’s. When the business closed, she began working at Haley’s.

“I always put 100 percent or more into my work because I’m proud of what I do,” said Ayube. “I really like the atmosphere and the sense of community that was created with the vibe at Haley’s. We’re a very tight-knit part of the community. I want to continue that and for people to feel like they have a comfortable, safe space to have coffee and connect with their families and friends.”

Ayube hopes to establish a rotating art gallery featuring local artists.

“I was an art student and I wasn’t able to get it off the ground,” said Ayube. “I want to support the community and the artists in the community and feature some young artists who are trying to get themselves off the ground.”

The Mugford Eatery will be open daily for breakfast and lunch. In addition to pastries and brunch options, Ayube will create her own specials. Her forte is comfort foods like mac and cheese, lasagna, and spaghetti and meatballs. She has not yet received permitting from the town, but hopes the shop will be open from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily with occasional dinner takeout.

“Even though I don’t live in Marblehead, I feel like I can’t go anywhere in town without running into someone I know,” said Ayube. “I really feel like I’ve become a neighbor.”

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