Take comfort: Caterer, North Yarmouth church team up for dinner business

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NORTH YARMOUTH — A place well-known for the Good Book is now a place known also for good food.

Since January, Mark Heath has been working from the North Yarmouth Congregational Church kitchen to produce an assortment of comfort foods for a growing number of hungry clients with no time to cook for themselves. His business, Victory D Caterers, is a nod to the Victory Deli & Bake Shop he had at Monument Square in Portland from 1985 to 2000.

“It was quite a place, and people still miss it, so I figured, well, I’ll use the old name to capture some old business,” the North Yarmouth resident said last week.

Heath is active in the church; he served on the committee that designed a new wing that contains the kitchen. The church holds senior citizen lunches and Lions Club dinners, as well as a lunch the first Friday of every month when it becomes something of a restaurant. Once a year there’s a chicken pie supper; last year it attracted 635 people.

Those activities got Heath thinking about renting the kitchen for his own comfort food business, and Victory D Caterers was born.

Heath’s menu includes fresh and frozen items: soups, stews, casseroles and the ever-popular chicken pot pie.

He sends out a new menu each week via e-mail and asks his customers to reply with their orders by Sunday evening. On Monday he shops locally for ingredients, and he spends Tuesday and Wednesday preparing food in the church kitchen.

Customers can pick up their orders late in the afternoon Wednesday, and those who did not have time to order can benefit from Heath’s large inventory, so he welcomes walk-ins, too.

“It’s a pretty easy business,” he said. “I enjoy it, people like it.”

So far he hasn’t needed to advertise; word of mouth has brought him a healthy amount of business, Heath said.

When not providing meals, Heath also runs Walnut Hill Cleaners, a commercial cleaning business. His connection to North Yarmouth is deep: Heath said he traces his family line back about 15 generations to the town’s early days, when its then-larger borders included many surrounding communities.

Prior to opening his own business, Heath worked for 6 1/2 years at F. Parker Reidy’s in Portland. He’s been cooking for more than 40 of his 58 years.

“I do all the important cooking at home,” he said with a laugh.

To get on the Victory D Caterers e-mail list, contact Heath at victory.d.caterers@gmail.com.

Alex Lear can be reached at 373-9060 ext. 113 or alear@theforecaster.net.

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Mark Heath of North Yarmouth has been running Victory D Caterers out of the North Yarmouth Congregational Church kitchen since January. His business is a nod to the Victory Deli & Bake Shop he had at Monument Square in Portland from 1985 to 2000.

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A Maine native and Colby College graduate, Alex has been covering coastal communities since 2001, and currently handles Bath, Topsham, Cumberland, and North Yarmouth. He and his wife, Lauren, live in the Portland area, and Alex recently released his third album of original music.