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Restaurant News

July 16, 2013

Guild Fine Meats Prepares to Open in Burlington Next Month


In this week's paper, we share the news that the Guild Commissary, which will supply all the restaurants in the Farmhouse Group with meat and baked goods, is now open. That means delicious things for the Farmhouse Tap & Grill, El Cortijo Taqueria Y Cantina and Guild & Company.

But when we spoke with chef-partner Phillip Clayton, he also had lots to say about the forthcoming Guild Fine Meats butcher shop on St. Paul Street in Burlington.

The goal is for the store to open next month.

Clayton says that now that they're moved into the 5000-square-foot Winooski commissary, master butcher Frank Pace and chef Tom Deckman are perfecting products in three categories. First, there will be raw Vermont meat, including hand-selected grinds of more than one cut or animal, such as meatloaf mixes.

Continue reading "Guild Fine Meats Prepares to Open in Burlington Next Month" »

July 1, 2013

Cronuts Hit the Queen City

IMG_5830Usually Vermont is slow to see national trends, but not in the case of the "cronut." Dominique Ansel, pastry chef at the bakery of the same, debuted the croissant-doughnut hybrid on May 10. Since then, hungry New York fans have risen before dawn to wait in line or get on waiting lists, and even have scalped the breakfast sweets for upward of $100 apiece.

While the mania hasn't caught on yet in Vermont, the pastry has. For more than a month, Burlington's Mirabelles has been quietly selling its own variety of "cronuts." (Yep, Ansel has already acquired an international trademark.)

The pastries are available Friday and Saturday at the Main Street bakery in as many as four flavors each day.

Longtime Mirabelles baker Brian Cashman says that all the hype around the New York fad inspired co-owner Alison Lane to attempt her own version. After a few tries, the Mirabelles "cronut" was born.

Cashman fries rounds of the buttery, croissant-style dough, resulting in a puffy, doughnut-like body. He cuts each pastry in half and fills it with custard, then glazes the top.


Continue reading "Cronuts Hit the Queen City" »

June 4, 2013

Taco Tuesdays and Pizza Fridays

TacoDid you ever wish there were a Mad Taco in the Burlington area? Starting today, there almost is. Winooski's Mule Bar, owned by the same team that owns Mad Taco, inaugurates its Taco Tuesday today with a menu similar to the small chain that has links in Waitsfield, Montpelier and Waterbury.

Each Tuesday the bill of fare will be different, but will likely always include a range of tacos, tortas and dinner plates. Today, those include several different toppings for both tacos and tortas that feature tender pork carnitas. The al pastor features salsa verde, while another is bathed in chef Jean-Luc Matecat's long-cooked mole sauce. Other meats include a beef carne asada and "roadside chicken." Vegetarians will opt for kimchee, black bean and cilantro tacos.

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May 24, 2013

Burlington's Uva Wine Bar Changes Name

Vin logoLess than two months after opening, the owners of Burlington's Uva Wine Bar have changed its name due to a trademark objection from a similarly named restaurant in New York City.

Starting this week, Uva — which means "grape" in Italian — will instead be known as Vin Bar & Shop

Kevin Cleary, who opened the bar with his wife, Kathi, says the brand change had stalled their initial marketing plans. "It was disappointing to have to change the name, as we had put a great deal into it before we had opened," wrote Cleary in an email. "That being said, it's better that this happened now as opposed to two years from now, when we would have had much more invested in the name and brand." 

Vin — which is steps away on College Street from L'Amante Ristorante, the couples' decade-old Italian eatery — is a combination wine bar, retail store and education center.

May 21, 2013

Anatolian Grand Bazaar Opens

Don't feel like cooking tonight or packing lunch tomorrow? Nazan Bozkurt will take care of you. She and son Efe Çimrin opened the doors to their Turkish food store, Anatolian Grand Bazaar, on Monday, though Çimrin is just calling it a soft opening for now.

IMG_5657Today, the airy, all-white shop at Burlington's 163 Pearl Street was filled with just a portion of what's to come, said Çimrin.

That includes a sampling of his mother's hazelnut-filled Turkish delight, coated in coconut instead of powdered sugar for a far more grown-up, almost chocolaty version of the usually sticky-sweet dessert.

And, like any good mother, Bozkurt is cooking for her customers' health. Her wide variety of packaged meal kits are filled with mixed vegetarian and vegan Turkish appetizers.

The aptly named "The Turkish Mom" is packed with falafel, gorgeously green pistachio-based hummus, spinach borek, feta-filled sigara borek and a stuffed cabbage dish called sarma.

Healthy bags of soups and stews also fill the case, but you may want to look to its right. That's where Bozkurt's baklava is kept. It's sold in a variety of different sizes and flavors, including her legendary pistachio version. Just be sure to eat your veggies first.

May 15, 2013

Burlington's Downtown Skinny Pancake To Double In Size

Skinny_downtownIt's been a few short months since the crew behind The Skinny Pancake opened a third location (as well as another Chubby Muffin) at Burlington Airport. So are owners Benjy and Jonathan Adler taking a breather? Decidedly not.

They've leased the space next door to their Lake Street location in Burlington and plan to double the Skinny Pancake's current size — adding a bar, expanding the kitchen and dining room, and tripling the size of their porch by early July.

"We're already very busy behind the walls," says Benjy Adler, who hopes the expansion will ease congestion and lines at the door and allow the kitchen to "get more creative." 

Inside, the dining room will grow from 63 to 90 seats, with "a jewel box on display front and center so that people can watch crêpe artists work their magic," says Adler. They'll also build a full bar with nine seats, "a pretty substantial liquor menu" and eight taps, three more than they have now.

An expanded kitchen will give rise to an expanded menu, with both panini and a burger making debuts — as well as "a few more things for people who don't necessarily want a crêpe," says Adler.

Out front, the patio will grow from 500 to 1500 square feet, with a larger stage in the corner that will allow for "more complex acts and a full sound booth," says Adler. The Skinny Pancake hosts live music at least four nights a week during the summer.

The downside: The main dining room will be closed during the month of June, when the bulk of construction will be going on — but they'll continue to serve food on the patio. "It's going to be a long four weeks for us," says Adler. We hope they follow it up with a day or two of rest.

May 7, 2013

Penny Cluse Owners to Open New Café Next Door; Mule Bar Opens Thursday

05-pennycluseThis week brings happy news for lovers of the drink, both hot and cold. Penny Cluse Café co-owner Charles Reeves has announced that he and his wife, Holly Reeves, are purchasing the building next door, at 163 Cherry St., to build out a new 25-seat café devoted to "espresso, smoothies, beer and wine, with limited food service," writes Reeves.

The new spot will be called Lucky Next Door and should be open by September, adds Reeves. Though plans are still taking shape, "It seems like word has started to spread," he says — which is why he let the cat out of the bag. It's the first expansion in Penny Cluse's 15-year history. 

Up the road a piece, Winooski's restaurant row will welcome Mule Bar, which opens at 38 Main St., this Thursday at 11 a.m.

Co-owner Joey Nagy says he and his partners are keeping mum on exactly what beers will flow from the bar's 15 taps. “We want to surprise everyone,” he says. However there will be ginger beer from Dave Rooke of Rookie’s Root Beer.

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May 1, 2013

Food TruckStop and New Gallery/Café Coming to Burlington's South End

Food-burgerbarnThey've spread from Austin to LA to Montréal, and now food trucks have reached a critical mass in Burlington. In a few weeks, Pine Street will gain its own semipermanent mobile food lot: the South End Food TruckStop.

Every Friday night beginning May 24, the parking lot behind Speeder & Earl's will morph into a bazaar of trucks and carts peddling barbecue, tacos, ice cream, fresh juices, beer and even maté. Live music and a few late-opening galleries will add to the festivities.

"There's enough food vendors around to constitute a rally, and we said, 'Hey, other places do it and it's a lot of fun,'" says Felix Wai of ArtsRiot, who organized the event with his partner, PJ McHenry. He says they will put out tables and chairs, provide access to bathrooms, and carve out "a little stage for music." 

Nine vendors have signed on so far, says Wai, each with its own niche. There will be tacos from Muchacho Taco; burgers from the Burger Barn; ethnic street food from ¡Duino! (Duende); sandwiches and hot dogs from Cloud 9 Catering ("Either the Hindquarter or the [Local] Grind [will take part]," says Wai); barbecue from Southern Smoke Foods; fresh juices from Tomgirl Juice Co.; maté from Mocean Maté; ice cream from Lake Champlain Chocolates; and beer from Fiddlehead Brewing, which is one of the event's sponsors.

"We're at max capacity now," says Wai. He and McHenry will see how the space shakes out before changing the balance of vendors. 

The event will run from 4 to 9 p.m. every Friday until November 1. ArtsRiot plans to donate a portion of each week's proceeds to the Chittenden Emergency Food Shelf. "That's what we hope to do," Wai says. "Our mission is to destroy apathy through art, food and music."

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April 26, 2013

Grazing: Fried Chicken Sandwich at Tip Top Café (or Hello, Restaurant Week)

I turned around to look at the clock on the wall behind me — 11:45 a.m. I usually don't eat lunch until 2 or so, but today was different.

It's the kickoff of Vermont Restaurant Week, something we've been waiting for and working toward all year. As the menus have dribbled in, we've salivated and plotted and planned. What makes this one especially sweet for me is that four spots in the Upper Valley are taking part. That may not sound like a lot, but it's twice as many as last year.

At 11:46, I began gathering my things to go for lunch at one of them.

Corn_chowderI don't think I've ever been disappointed with a meal at Tip Top Café, which is saying a lot for a place that's been around for seven years. When I first moved to the Upper Valley, I would hit this airy White River Junction bistro weekly for to-go lunches of curries and creative sandwiches.

At night, Tip Top morphs from a sunny café into an atmospheric, candlelit restaurant with martinis and first-rate food (on First Fridays, it's impossible to get a seat here without a long wait). This year, Tip Top is participating in Restaurant Week for the first time. 

And the place is doin' it right. The kitchen is loading it on for the $10, two-course lunch special. The cup of chunky corn-and-ham chowder that kicked it off today was spicy and silky, and dense with sweet corn, minced red peppers, slivers of potato and what looked like bits of kielbasa.

Continue reading "Grazing: Fried Chicken Sandwich at Tip Top Café (or Hello, Restaurant Week)" »

...And One More Restaurant Makes 105!

CrepeIn case you weren't already feeling spoiled for choices with 104 Vermont Restaurant Week participants, one more restaurant posted its menu last night! Mr. Crêpe, at 144 Church Street in Burlington, has joined the fold.

The casual restaurant is offering both lunch and dinner deals, including the full menu of sweet and savory crêpes. Click here to see the full bill of fare.

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