Westport Island’s Mother’s Day Breakfast
To be cooked up by Chef “Nita” Greenleaf with love
Whether expressing love to her family, friendship to neighbors in need or just her native generosity — Juanita “Nita” Greenleaf says it with cooking. Surrounded by her daughter and friends, she’ll be putting on a Mother’s Day Breakfast spread at the Westport Island Town Hall on Sunday, May 10, beginning at 8 a.m. To recognize Nita’s place in helping Islanders celebrate: a generous Westport neighbor will pay for the first 15 moms who come to Nita’s all-you-can-eat breakfast!
Nita’s passion is cooking. According to her daughter, she likes to mingle with people and make them happy. To her, good food is a way to celebrate, make people happy — and comfort.
When neighbors are in need, Nita cooks. In recent years, she organized a community dinner to help Jim Cromwell pay medical bills from a workplace accident that left him temporarily incapacitated with multiple fractures. When Mona Greenleaf found herself overwhelmed with funeral expenses associated with the death of her husband, Nita once again organized and cooked up a fundraiser dinner.
Nita was a shy, anxious child growing up in Georgetown. Her parents divorced when she was young. She started school late because fears of leaving home made her physically ill. Years later, she dropped out of high school and had her first child — daughter Joyce — six days after her 16th birthday.
Nita found her “groove” while raising her two children — as well as a way to connect with others — through cooking. Her daughter Joyce said there were tough financial times growing up, but her mother could always make a dinner you’d come running for — even when the ingredients were from government surplus.
In thinking about Mother’s Day, Joyce said what she admires most about her mother is, “she always puts other people first.” Whether putting together a Valentine’s Day dinner or trying to keep the idea of an Island store, or gathering place, alive with Saturday night dinners, she will take a loss to bring people together.
In mid-life, to complete unfinished business, Nita got her GED. From there, she got a catering license and in recent years, put her husband Buddy behind the wheel of a food truck. With her mobile food business, she has catered at the Wiscasset Speedway, the “Wings over Wiscasset” air show and the Moxie Festival in Lisbon; she caters weddings; makes wedding cakes; and cooks meals at the Wiscasset Senior Center. Nita has also won ribbons with her culinary treats: two at the Moxie Festival and two in King Arthur-sponsored baking contests.
Say Happy Mother’s Day to Nita and your favorite mothers on Mother’s Day at the Town Hall, 1217 Main Road, and enjoy a grand slam breakfast — eggs to order, pancakes, biscuits and gravy, ham, bacon, sausage, hash, muffins, toast and beverages: $10 adults; $5 for children under 8.