Chances are that if you only take the day tour at the Lizzie Borden Bed and Breakfast, you have missed meeting one of the great assets of the establishment, longtime head chef, Dave Quigley. Dave and the B&B started out together on the same day back in 1996, and Dave is the longest -serving employee of the business. When the house first opened its doors, Dave would come on duty at 10 p.m. just as the night tour of the house ended, and would spend the “third shift” perched uncomfortably on the narrow, hard Victorian sofa in the parlor, watching the tiny television set which received only 3 channels with rabbit ear antenna.
Dave was oncall to answer a million questions from overnight guests and deal with all the night time emergencies that can happen in an old house. “How do I get to Salem?”, “Where is Bellevue Avenue?”, “What’s a jonnycake?”, etc. and many other pressing inquires Dave had to field every morning. All these he answered cheerfully with good humor and an amazing talent for knowing the best places to eat, the best routes to take to most of New England attractions, and the usual queries about the Borden case and the house in general. Dave became a master of all trades by necessity. Leaky faucets, plugged up toilets, fire alarms going off in the night, special requirements from guests, unwanted visitors, power blackouts, snowstorms – Dave saw it all. And in the process probably flipped over 100,000 of the famous cornmeal jonnycakes. Foremost and primarily, Dave loved to cook and chat with the guests. Sometime’s Dave would forget the jonnycakes while visiting with the guests and the smoke alarms would sound, bringing the Fire Chief to the door in full gear, wielding an axe. Memorable moments.
The menu has not changed much since opening day: scrambled eggs, homefried potatoes, sausages or Canadian bacon, coffee, tea, fruit cup and jonnycakes, the last item served to the Bordens on the fateful day. Dave used to love to tell the story about jonnycakes, a local delicacy and an acquired taste. “Journey cakes, they were called because they could travel a long time in a saddlebag on a long trek”, Dave would intone every morning. “Put some maple syrup on ’em- then they have some taste”.
Over the past few years Dave has been spared the hard sofa overnight, and arrives about 6 a.m. to get the coffee machine going for early risers. Chefs in training, Will and Logan, will be taking over for Dave next weekend. Here’s wishing Dave many happy golfing days on the greens, big wins at the casino, and relaxing hours with lovely wife, Jean. Best Wishes!
Dave’s old black gas Glenwood, once found rusting in a field in Vermont and refitted for gas pipes. “She’s temperamental but works like a champ if you know how to appease her”!
Dave (on the right) as Uncle John Morse, August 4, 2002.