Blurt: Seven Days Staff Blog

NOTE: Blurt has been retired and is no longer updated regularly. For new content, follow these links:

OFF MESSAGE: Vermont News and Politics
BITE CLUB: Food and Drink Blog

« Bleeding a Stone, the Fletcher Allen Way | Main | Breaking the Silence: Torture Survivors Speak Out »

September 23, 2009

Tilley's Cafe Is Being Sold

On October 3, Tilley's Café in downtown Burlington — known for its seafood dishes, valet parking and tank full of tropical fish —  will close its doors. Owner Suzanne Johnson explains, "I'm a single mom. I have full custody of three kids. They're my primary responsibility."

Last year, when she took over the full operation of the restaurant from her ex-husband, the plan was always to "find a business partner so I could be home and more present for [my children]." During the ensuing months, Johnson made lots of upgrades, she says, "cutting expenses, becoming a green and sustainable restaurant and educating the public about that."

Payoff came in August, when the Vermont Hospitality Council named Johnson "Restaurateur of the Year," lauding her as a "creative entrepreneur." But despite the accolade, says Johnson, finding a new business partner was tough. "With the economy, most of the [potential] buyers wanted to own and run it themselves."

Luckily, Johnson found someone she trusts to take the turnkey operation and help it thrive under a new name. Although she wouldn't divulge the buyer's identity, yet, she noted that he's "extremely knowledgeable... and will make this a successful place."

Before she closes, Johnson hopes that Tilley's fans will swing by for one more meal, and to say goodbye. "Out of respect for the people who love Tilley's, it was important for me to [tell them] ahead of time," she says. "I didn't want them to come here and find a padlock." Wanna get one last order of calamari or a Hanalei roll? Be sure to make a reservation. "Next weekend is UVM parents' weekend," she notes.

Dear Friends, Family and Patrons of Tilley's Cafe,

I wanted to personally write to you to let you know that I am selling Tilley’s Café. It was a difficult decision but I received an offer that felt right.

I have loved serving you and this community over the last two and a half years. I appreciate your patronage, your enthusiasm and most of all your friendship. I am hoping to see each and every one of you to say goodbye in person before our last day, which is Saturday, October 3rd.

Everyone has asked what I am doing and what I will be doing with my free time. First, I am looking forward to spending some time with my three beautiful children. Then, I will be looking for the next opportunity to do something in this great community.

Also, there would be no Tilley’s without my wonderful group of staff, vendors and associates. I wanted to thank them for ALL of their creativity and sense of fun in bringing this great concept to Burlington.
I also wanted to thank the Vermont Hospitality Council and The Vermont Chamber of Commerce for my recent recognition as Restaurateur of the Year. What an honor to be recognized.

At this time I can’t share any news about the new owner of this space but rest assured that it is someone who will bring fun and excitement to Burlington.

Until next time, please come visit me and say hello before Saturday, October 3.

With appreciation and respect,


The comments to this entry are closed.

Stuck in VT (VIDEOS)

Solid State (Music)

Mistress Maeve (Sex)

All Rights Reserved © Da Capo Publishing Inc. 1995-2012 | PO Box 1164, Burlington, VT 05402-1164 | 802-864-5684