CAMBRIDGE — When a classic restaurant reopens in downtown Cambridge this month, it will do so with a new twist.
Longtime owners, Amanda Bramble and Tim Wright of Jimmie & Sook’s have joined forces with fellow Cambridge entrepreneurs Tammy and Tracy Lynndee to reopen and reinvent the restaurant Bramble launched 12 years ago. The founder is going to remain involved, but Bramble is moving to a behind-the-scenes role.
Moving front and center with this turn of events are the Lynndees, who operate two Maiden Maryland businesses just up the street from the restaurant. The wife-and-wife team first opened an artisan-based retail shop in 2019. That was followed three months later by an ice cream parlor that eventually grew into a dessert shop.
“We are really looking forward to seeing Jimmie & Sook’s continue to evolve as the Lynndees come aboard,” Bramble said. “Tammy and Tracy are full of fresh ideas — it’s going to be a fun ride as they turn those ideas into reality.”
The new partnership is built on connections that go beyond running businesses located a few doors apart on the same street. Both Tammy Lynndee and Amanda Bramble hail from families with deep roots in the communities of remote South Dorchester County. Lynndee’s grandmother, Lorraine, is the spitting-image sister of Bramble’s grandmother, Louise. Both family matriarchs spent most of their lives “Down Below” in Toddville, Crocheron, and on Hoopers Island.
The family connections are much more than a bit of trivia in this case. Bramble’s original concept in launching Jimmie & Sook’s was to pay tribute to the culture and cooking of watermen families. “Finding someone who not only shares those roots and has all those incredible food memories, but is also excited about taking over the day-to-day operations — that’s a perfect next step for Jimmie & Sook’s,” Bramble said.
The new partnership began as a simple “check-in” between cousins. Bramble shared the news that her husband was considering returning to the accounting field, which would likely mean taking an out-of-town job. Tammy Lynndee shared the news that her wife was thinking about leaving law enforcement after spending 26-plus years in that field. The small talk of those coming transitions for both families soon evolved into a serious business conversation.
“In the span of just a few days, our conversation touched on many possible scenarios,” said Tammy Lynndee. “Where we ended up is a win-win that opens up promising opportunities for both families.”
The Lynndees will continue to own and operate both the Maiden Maryland store and the Maiden Maryland Sweets & Treats dessert shop. They will move into the restaurant business under the mentorship of Bramble, who plans to remain actively involved in various behind-the-scenes roles.
Bramble and Wright will retain ownership of the restaurant and its building even after their possible move to a new town. Once that happens, Bramble anticipates making frequent “business” trips back home as she supports the Lynndees and tries to help them excel in their new roles.
The menu at Jimmie & Sook’s will remain focused as it has been from day one on seafood dishes, comfort foods, and other items prepared in scratch-kitchen fashion with the freshest of ingredients. Many customer favorites from past years will be offered, including the Ahi Tuna Salad — Bramble laughs while saying that she still hears years later from patrons angry at her for removing that salad from the menu.
There will be new twists at Jimmie & Sook’s. “It’s been great fun so far working with Tammy and Tracy on the new ideas they have,” Bramble said. “I’ve been telling friends that it’s a match made in heaven — and I mean that literally, because both our grandmothers came from South Dorchester!”