After 14 years working in the hospitality trade in Buffalo, New York, Wallaseyan Germaine Isham and her Californian husband Cory crossed the Atlantic back to the Wirral with their young children, looking for a better balance for family life.
Several years, jobs and a degree in business and marketing later, Germaine and Cory felt ready to take on a fresh challenge.
“We saw a gap in the market for great quality American-style food,” says Germain. “So when we saw these premises were available along Seabank Road, we thought, why not?
“We had the experience and the skills; we knew the authentic flavours, so we bit the bullet… then Covid struck!
“Fortunately, because we didn’t have too rigid a business plan at that stage, we were able to adapt to a delivery service, and that gave us a chance to get a foothold in the community, showing that our food was high quality and cooked with care.”
Bootleggers (and Nickel City, next door, run by Cory) received a great welcome with its takeaway pizzas and bakehouse goodies such as fresh focaccia, hoagie rolls, cinnamon buns and cakes.
Since lockdown, the couple have now developed their originally dreamed-of sit-down service offering freshly made Tex Mex, smokehouse and BBQ dishes (chilli dogs a hot favourite) – all made with bread fresh from their own bakehouse.
Bootleggers’ brand of “straightup comfort food” also features beef slow-cooked on the premises, high-end horseradish, sauces made in-house, burgers from neighbouring butchers, plus carefully developed (and tested) vegan dishes.
“On top of classic stateside service, we have such a great diversity of offerings in the area, which brings people in. We love to interconnect with our neighbours.
“We’d like to see more businesses open up, to increase the variety even more – we want to keep this buzz going for a long, long time.”