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Restaurant News

October 9, 2013

Juice Bar and Cycling Studio to Open on College Street

The Dream TeamFor a while now, 126 College Street has been a dining and drinking mecca, with an Italian restaurant (L'Amante) on one side and a wine bar (Vin Wine Bar & Shop) on the other.

Come December, they'll be joined by a different brand of drinking experience: A juice bar and indoor cycling studio will open in the space between them.

The colorful Juicebox Raw Juicery will dominate the front of the 2500-square-foot space, and the Cyclepath studio will occupy the back. Both businesses will be run by Sarah Larkin and wife-and-husband team Kara and Ian Bouchett.

"These two ideas came into our heads simultaneously, and we looked at a lot of different ways to do them,' says Ian Bouchett, whose family owns Home Port on Church Street. The multifaceted plan for the space springs in part from Kara Bouchett's background as both a nutritonist and a cycling instructor. "We've been home juicers for a long time, and she's developed a lot of recipes with vibrant flavors and colors."

Continue reading "Juice Bar and Cycling Studio to Open on College Street" »

September 17, 2013

Penny Cluse's New Venture, Lucky Next Door, To Open Next Week

Fifteen years after creating what would become a Burlington landmark, the owners of Penny Cluse Café will open an adjacent new spot called Lucky Next Door next Tuesday.

Named in part for the former owner of 163 Cherry Street — whom Penny Cluse co-owner Charles Reeves used to call “Heather next door” — and in part for a beloved dog, the sunny space has been transformed into a 25-seat café with terracotta walls, sleek pine counters and funky pendants from Conant Metal & Light that use "old canned lights we found when we were demolishing the ceiling," says Reeves. Those lights so closely resembled flying saucers that he and Holly Cluse commissioned Burlington artist Abby Manock to paint colorful UFOs around the place, including all over the bathroom walls.

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September 11, 2013

Cornerstone Pub & Kitchen Owners Bring Burritos to Barre

LocoKeith Paxman and Rich McSheffrey have a lot on their plates — literally. Late last year, they opened Cornerstone Pub & Kitchen, then expanded to provide food service for the Country Club of Barre. But apparently their desire to feed their hometown has only grown. As soon as December 1, the lifelong friends will open Two Loco Guys at 136 North Main Street, the space formerly occupied by Espresso Bueno.

Paxman and McSheffrey originally planned to use the storefront as a catering kitchen for their regular off-site orders. But they soon realized that there was enough space to do something extra.

In front of the catering kitchen, Two Loco Guys will serve burritos and bowls, but as Paxman is quick to point out, not quesadillas or tacos. "We're not Mexican," he insists. "We'll have global flavors."

A full menu is still in the future, but Paxman says options might include Caribbean curry or Asian-style burritos alongside classic Mexican or Southwestern versions. Or a wrap stuffed with a bacon cheeseburger and caramelized onions.

Paxman emphasizes that gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan diners will all be well-fed at the new quick-service restaurant. Given the popularity of Cornerstone, lines for the December opening may soon fill the (newly repaired) Barre sidewalks.

September 10, 2013

Chef Jason Tostrup to Leave the Inn at Weathersfield for Okemo Mountain

Food-tostrupWhen it comes to jobs, there are human years and there are chef years. As intensely creative beings, chefs sometimes jump from workplace to workplace (and kitchen to kitchen) more frequently than, say, accountants or schoolteachers.

Which is why it's notable that chef Jason Tostrup has been at the Inn at Weathersfield for eight and a half years — and not surprising that he's moving on. 

Today, Inn co-owner Marilee Spanjian announced that Tostrup will take his final bow on October 30, just before the Inn closes for stick season. When the first flakes begin falling, the chef will be sharpening his knives in a kitchen not too far away — Epic at Solitude, the fine-dining restaurant at Okemo Mountain in Ludlow.

"We can all agree he is an amazingly talented chef," wrote Spanjian. "But what you may not know is Jason's love and commitment to his wife and young children. This new position will allow him to be home at night. No more dinner shifts."

Tostrup came to the Inn almost a decade ago after stints at Colorado's La Renaissance Restaurant and Thomas Keller's Bouchon, and subsequently became one of the first Vermont chefs to energetically build relationships with local farmers. In 2008, Bon Appetit magazine named the Inn at Weathersfield a "Top 10 Culinary Inn," and in 2010, Fodor's Travel Guides called its Verterra "the best restaurant in Vermont."

Continue reading "Chef Jason Tostrup to Leave the Inn at Weathersfield for Okemo Mountain" »

September 4, 2013

UPDATE: Café Shelburne to Close — But Only Briefly

Cafe-shelburneAfter 25 years, one of Chittenden County's most beloved fine dining institutions is closing. But only until a former sous-chef takes over, reopening the restaurant on October 24. More details from him will follow when we have them.

Patrick and Christine Grangien announced today on Café Shelburne's Facebook page that they are ready to call it quits.

This afternoon, Patrick Grangien told Seven Days, "We just want to take a little bit of time — a much-needed break." He hopes to remain open until October 12, for one final Saturday service. But he realizes that as employees may be forced to find other jobs, he might not have enough staff to continue feeding his fans that long. His advice: If you want to taste his food one last time, come as soon as possible.

It's unlikely there will be another chance. Though Grangien says he will remain in Vermont, the note on Facebook hinted, "We are turning over a new leaf, and we are moving on to exciting projects." He chooses not to disclose what those projects might be. However, his answer to whether the endeavors will be food related was a curt "I don't think so."

Though he's not overly nostalgic about his quarter century feeding Shelburne, Grangien said he's grateful for his time running the restaurant.  "It was a good experience. We are a little bit sad," he said. "We made quite some friends those years. It's tough for us to call it quits."

September 3, 2013

The Inn at Weathersfield Launches a Cooking School

Are cooking schools the wave of the future, or at least the future of food tourism? Marilee and Richard Spanjian, owners of the Inn at Weathersfield, think they might be. As the couple prepared to make a career change a few years ago, they scoured the country for a cooking school to purchase — until they realized that the hands-on, atmospheric space they sought didn’t exist. Instead, the Tennessee residents purchased the Inn at Weathersfield last winter, then renovated the loft over its barn to create their own school, the Hidden Kitchen. It opened at the end of July.

Each class centers around a food from a local Vermont farm, which Inn chef Jason Tostrup uses to guide students in creating dishes. During one of the earliest classes, “Vermont Veal Revival,” Lisa Kaiman from Jersey Girls Farm dropped in to chat as students transformed the meat she had raised into a veal tartar topped with a farm egg, and veal cutlets with andouille sausage and cheese.

“More and more people are becoming cognizant of where their food comes from, and are taking control of what they’re eating. They want to take the time to invest in creating a meal for themselves and they don’t necessarily know how to do it,” says Marilee Spanjian of the classes.

Continue reading "The Inn at Weathersfield Launches a Cooking School" »

August 30, 2013

Grazing: New Eats in the Northeast Kingdom

Parker Pie Wings at Newport Airport

Earlier this summer, Megan James and I drove up to the Northeast Kingdom to report on Newport, a city that has long struggled economically but is currently experiencing something of a rennaissance as it waits for $600 million in development projects. As we wandered around town for 36 hours, we were impressed by much of what we ate, including a grilled cheese sandwich spiked with kimchi and charred lamb chops. Equally impressive was the locavore culture — a string of community gardens supplies some of the restaurants with fresh produce, and tomatoes and herbs were growing on the back patio of Lago Trattoria.

Two more places hadn't opened yet: An outpost of Glover's Parker Pie Co., called Parker Pie Wings, was waiting out some water issues inside a converted hangar at Newport's airport. Downtown, a former department store was in the midst of a dramatic facelift to become the Northeast Kingdom Tasting Center. We comforted ourselves with creemees from the ice-cream window at the Pick & Shovel until we could return.

Which I did this week — both the pizzeria and tasting center are now open. In an effort to get a taste of the latest dimension of Newport's food scene, I jammed visits to both into a frenetic, 90-minute window.

Continue reading "Grazing: New Eats in the Northeast Kingdom" »

August 23, 2013

Locavore Korean Cuisine Comes to Cabot

Frieddumplings_2013You know that a restaurant is intensely anticipated when it gains more than 100 followers in its first 24 hours on Facebook. But not every restaurant is the brainchild of Elena Gustavson, the program director at the Center for an Agricultural Economy in Hardwick.

Gustavson's social-media presence may be blowing up, but she doesn't plan to open DownStreet Eats at 3075 Main Street in Cabot until mid-September.

Gustavson's locavore pedigree is enough to get many diners excited, but the chef-owner admits that she hasn't yet reached out to many of her farmer friends in the Cabot and Marshfield area to source the new restaurant — though she plans to.

Locally focused restaurants are a dime a dozen in Vermont these days. But Korean food is not.

Continue reading "Locavore Korean Cuisine Comes to Cabot" »

August 20, 2013

Guild Fine Meats Opens Tomorrow in Burlington

The Farmhouse Group's Guild Commissary has been up and running for more than a month. Tomorrow, the ultimate fruit of master butcher Frank Pace and chef Tom Deckman's labors will be unveiled with the official opening of Guild Fine Meats at 111 St. Paul Street.

IMG_6150Today, the staff at the new butcher shop and deli is getting used to the space with a soft opening.

But sorry, meat lovers, you'll have to wait until tomorrow for a look at the good stuff. The butcher case is papered over.

Co-owner Jed Davis says that a full menu of sandwiches and salads will be available within a few days, with the majority rolling out tomorrow.

Continue reading "Guild Fine Meats Opens Tomorrow in Burlington" »

July 29, 2013

Vermont Fresh Network Announces Restaurants Receiving Gold Barn Honor

Screen Shot 2013-07-29 at 3.27.51 PMFor years, diners in the know have looked for a Vermont Fresh Network sign or window sticker to assure them that a restaurant is making a commitment to serving Vermont-grown food.

But VFN executive director Meghan Sheradin realized there were some restaurants that were really raising the bar.

"All Vermont Fresh Network chefs have to know their farmers and serve products from Vermont, but there are some chefs whose commitment to Vermont-grown products is exceptional," she says.

Now, the VFN is introducing a designation to recognize the best of the best.

Continue reading "Vermont Fresh Network Announces Restaurants Receiving Gold Barn Honor" »

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