Mattapoisett Diner pays tribute to his beloved regular after his passing

Anyone who has ever hung around a restaurant knows that there are charismatic regular customers who stand out in a crowd.

Mattapoisett’s Elaine Vandament could always be found at her favorite stool at Pandolfi’s Mattapoisett Diner, or helping to wipe down a table, participating, because she loved helping people. Owner Brian Vose knew she needed to be helpful more than he needed help, and she became part of the restaurant family.

“Dinner gave our mom a purpose and a reason to get out of bed. She treated everyone there as a second family,” her daughter, Veronica Brockwell, said. Brockwell and her brother Scott Vandament host the popular Mattapoisett Life Facebook group, and it seems the whole community is mourning the loss of Elaine after she deceased unexpectedly on January 3 at the age of 84.

He will surely miss his family of diners too.

“She loved Brian and she loved all the girls that worked there,” Brockwell said. “When she was younger, she kept very busy running her own business. When she retired – and then lost our father – something was missing, and the restaurant filled that space.”

Vandament was born in New Bedford and lived in Marion in her early years. She owned the design house of Elaine for over 30 years, making specialty lamps and gifts sold worldwide. After her husband Richard died, she spent the rest of her life living with Brockwell at his home, Cedar Rock Farm.

This led to his eventual meeting with Vose, who put his feelings in a Facebook post earlier today, recalling his first encounter with Elaine when he bought the Mattapoisett Diner in 2019.

“I met the incredible woman who I will later call my second mom,” he wrote. “Elaine would come in two to three times a day to be exact with her sidekick, ‘Porgie.’ Not only was she my favorite food critic, but she was the best person you could ever meet. Every day I stuck my head out and said, ‘Hello mom, are you there?’ and she said, ‘Hi son “, and the next thing I knew, I would see her walking, around the disinfection tables.”

She will be worshiped with the addition of a new item. Originally, a daily special, “Elaine’s (Mom) Special” will be added to the permanent menu, Vose said, in honor of the woman who became his second mom.

“Elaine would come in and get the same scrambled egg with bites of bacon. Or, a little blueberry pancake, sometimes a veggie omelet,” Vose wrote. “But it was her lunch that she loved. American chop suey or a turkey wrap. Elaine would love everyone to try the homemade whiskey sauce.”

The special menu item will include the one-egg bacon scramble with a small blueberry pancake and coffee, combining two of his favorite breakfasts. On the menu, Vose wrote “Forever in our hearts! We love and miss you” under the meal description.

Additionally, the restaurant is also removing its favorite stool of the week, as it will stand empty without his physical presence, even though his spirit still fills the restaurant and the hearts of staff and customers.

“Elaine filled that void in my heart because she reminded me so much of my mother,” said Vose, who lost her own mother in 2009.

In a way, it was as if fate had brought Vandament and Vose together; she, in search of meaning following the loss of her husband, and he, in search of a maternal strength in his life.

“I’m so grateful to Brian and everyone at the restaurant for giving our mom purpose and community that made her live longer and gave her a better quality of life,” Brockwell said.

Additionally, Veronica and her brother Scott will continue to use their Facebook group to share the kinds of good stories in the community that exemplify what their mother was like and to help those in need.

Brockwell summed up her mother in one word: authentic. She said anyone who lives their life this way will carry on the spirit of Elaine.

“If you want to honor our mother, just be kind to each other,” she said.

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