Restaurant expands space and menu, but still relies on basics

by Betty Wrenn Day - Posted on Jun 05, 2013 - 12:40 PM

Photo: Melissa Hartman has added dinner at Jessica’s on Main, but the homemade baked goods that gave her a start are still a vital part of her business. Photo by Betty Wrenn Day

Melissa Hartman has added dinner at Jessica’s on Main, but the homemade baked goods that gave her a start are still a vital part of her business. Photo by Betty Wrenn Day

She moved from the Morgan Building in Gloucester Court House as Jessica’s Sweet Shop across the street into what was once Gray’s Pharmacy and renamed her business Jessica’s On Main. She added dinner to her bill of fare of breakfast and lunch but by no means did Melissa Hartman stop making the savory baked items she is so well known for. They are fresh every day, and the baked goods shelves are where you can shop for yourself. "I had been keeping an eye on this building for a long time. I had always thought about expanding."

Melissa began baking at home many years ago, making her always sought-after cinnamon buns. Today they remain among her most popular baked items. "I used to have flour delivered to my home, where all the baking began, in 50-pound bags." Today her baking is done at Jessica’s On Main where her days begin in the wee hours of the morning as the chefs start serving breakfast at 7 a.m.

A mother of eight, Melissa says her business is a 24-hour, seven-day-a-week job. "I still do catering and will take orders for anything I can make. I have been serving the Rotary breakfast for 20 years every Tuesday, every week. Every day is filled and I mean filled. I might get a couple days off every now and then. But I love this building and the response is great."

And Melissa’s response to her community has been great. At Jessica’s On Main, every other Tuesday is Community Benefit Day. Whatever non-profit organization or personal problems are named for the day, they receive 25 percent of sales of everything. Benefactors of Melissa’s generosity include Gloucester Volunteer Fire and Rescue, the Fairfield Foundation, the Grogan Family, and the Gloucester-Mathews-Middlesex Animal Shelter.