Those craving a signature quarter-pound cookie or ganache-topped brownie from Chubby Lil’ Mermaid, a regular vendor at the Newport Farmers Market, no longer need wait until the market opens Saturday morning and compete with the crowds for a shot at one of the bakery’s sweet treats.
Chubby Lil’ Mermaid opened its doors at a physical storefront in Seal Rock early this month, ready to supply visitors with all manner of sweet and savory treats, as well as providing space for artists to sell souvenirs with a little local flavor.
“The reception so far has been amazing. Even before we opened, and since we’re right by the post office, we got dozens of people coming by all day asking when we’d be ready,” owner Kimi Pollett said. “The week we opened, we sold out every single day, which is a wonderful problem to have. Last week we focused on getting enough made every day to still have something for the people who come in during the afternoon.”
When Pollett decided to open shop permanently in Seal Rock, she wanted to bring something that catered to families like hers and who often come by to visit the beach for the day. Much of what Chubby Lil’ Mermaid offers was born from a desire to provide visitors with the perfect picnic foods, but also to compliment what other businesses in Seal Rock were already offering.
“Something we wanted to do is cater to people who just want to go out and have a picnic at the spur of the moment,” Pollett said.
Chubby Lil’ Mermaid offers a variety of baked goods and deserts, including cookies, brownies, cake cups, full cakes and different flavors of cotton candy. There are dozens of flavors of each to choose from, whether you’re looking for classic triple chocolate chip cookies or something unique like jalapeño or black pepper cotton candy.
In addition to sweets, the bakery stocks different to-go meals like soups, salads, savory breads and assorted picnic boxes with vegetarian options. There’s also breakfast fare like muffins and banana bread to go with a house blend of coffee. Pollett said the newest addition to the menu she’s working on is a fresh hummus box filled with veggies.
“A lot of people who work in Newport but live somewhere else pass by in the morning and stop by to pick up something fresh for lunch,” Pollett said. “I also have people come by and just grab two or three of our soups to eat sometime throughout the week.”
Food isn’t all the bakery sells, devoting half its floor space to souvenirs and artwork by local and regional artists, much of it mermaid and ocean themed.
While many business have had a rough year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Pollett said she used the time to hone her skills as a baker.
“I’ve always been interested in baking as a hobby. Food is my love language really, and feeding people is how I like to show I care,” Pollett said. “When everything slowed down last year I had been taking online classes, and being home all the time let me get laser focused on my baking.”
Right now, Pollett is focusing on hiring and training staff to help meet demand, but once things level out, she wants to start taking custom orders and experiment with a food printer to add custom images to cakes and sugar cookies.
Chubby Lil’ Mermaid is located at 10645 NW Pacific Coast Highway in the former location of Indulge Sweets, an ice cream shop in Seal Rock that recently moved to a new location. The bakery is open for business Wednesday through Sunday — from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. most days.