The Nautical DoorDash of Boston’s North Shore

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Like many recent college grads, Hugh Mitchell saw his employment opportunities disappear as the onslaught of the covid-19 pandemic wreaked havoc on the economy.

The lifelong sailor returned home to Manchester-by-the-Sea and looked around at the waterways he knew by heart as inspiration. Soon after, he bought a used Boston Whaler with an idea of starting a seasonal business with the vessel.

“I noticed a lot of small businesses around here are struggling, especially the restaurant industry because of the restrictions,” Mitchell told the Boston Herald, “So I thought, ‘Why not try to seize this opportunity and support them by expanding their addressable market to all of these people who are coming up to socially distance on their boats or at the beach?’”

With that, the young entrepreneur launched BoatGrub, a waterborne food delivery service.

Mitchell kicked off his BoatGrub food delivery service last week— he brings orders to hungry clients at moorings, docks and beaches in the Gloucester area — via a partnership with local farm- and sea-to-table restaurant Talise, which opened last month in Lobster Cove and began the season under takeout-only, curbside pickup rules.

“They really don’t have to move an inch,” Mitchell said, “If you’ve got a prime mooring location or a prime anchorage or a prime beach spot, you don’t have to leave because I bring the food straight to you.”

Mitchell has big plans for BoatGrub — an app is in development, and he’s seeking more restaurants to utilize his unique delivery service.

“There’s room to grow,” he said. “That’s the goal: A big old fleet of BoatGrubs.”