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August 19, 2011

Old and New Eateries to Take Over Green Room and Via Loma Spaces

IMG_2572 The rumors are true — less than a week after the Green Room closed, Sue Bette, owner of the Bluebird Tavern has signed a lease to move her gastropub to that building.

"We are trying to be part of the downtown scene," she says. "What we do at the tavern will be a great fit for downtown."

That includes expanded hours and and a focus on a separate bar section, as well as a more expansive raw bar and chef's table dinners. Bette says chef Michael Clauss will also prepare business-style lunches, a dining option she says wasn't viable in the current Riverside Avenue space.

The new location is also closer to the Bluebird Coffee Stop, meaning Clauss will also be able to ramp up the prepared foods served there.

Bette says the current Tavern will stay open until the St. Paul Street restaurant debuts around the holidays. By spring, she hopes to open a new concept on Riverside Avenue. She hasn't settled on a cuisine for the nascent restaurant yet, though barbecue is in the running. She is sure that whatever she chooses, the restaurant will have "a roadhouse, fun style."

Down on Burlington's lower Main Street, where Via Loma closed this spring, Middlebury grads Max Mackinnon and Maji Chien are slated to open Pistou in early December. Chef Mackinnon will prepare baked goods for breakfast, and soup and sandwiches at lunch, then refined dinners (his coconut-lobster soup appears above).

The owners come with big-name backgrounds — both cut their teeth in the New York culinary scene. Mackinnon worked most recently as a prep chef at the Food Network, but before that, helped the 11 Madison Park team prepare for the Bocuse D'Or while working for David Bouley. Chien worked front of house at Bar Boulud and Robert at the Museum of Arts and Design. Before returning to Vermont, she helped open ultra-hot Korean tapas joint Danji.

Looks like the downtown dining scene will soon be more bustling — and delicious — than ever.

Really, do we care? Bluebird is clearly dying a slow death, and this move is desperate. The other place, we shall see.

Congrats on the blue bird for expanding! The owner has obviously worked hard and deserves this success. Every night I drive by the riverside ave location, the parking lot is full. Full parking lots is good!

Slim - you are one of the people who feed off misery..good for you!

Pistou will take Burlington by storm! Chef Mackinnon is legendary in New York.

Slim, care to back up your claim? Or are you just making things up?

It seems to me that Bluebird Tavern is doing very well, but the move downtown makes a lot of sense. I just hope that the owner will consider her neighborhood when putting a new restaurant in on Riverside Ave. Bluebird Tavern is very expensive – I would like to see a more affordable restaurant go in to the old space, so that the people of the Old North End and Riverside Ave areas can actually afford to go to one of the only restaurants in their neighborhood.

So Pistou is going to do baked goods for breakfast and soup & sandwiches for lunch...right next to August First Bakery that does the same thing? That seems like a pretty crappy move. Can't we get a little bit of variety on that corner? Yeah, I know that it used to house a Euro cafe and most recently a Spanish tapas place that failed, but still...

Kudos to Bluebird for snagging an opportunity to compete downtown. I'm just hoping whatever goes in the Riverside location keeps the good beer selection but up the veg-friendly fare (might just be wishful thinking if barbecue is on her mind.)

I tried some of Mackinnon's dishes from Bocuse D'Or while in New York this past spring. They were fantastic. Seems to be a very passionate chef as well. Looking forward to trying Pistou very much

A chef at 24? Please, spare me the idea of someone being known as or called a chef at that age. First, run a professional kitchen with at least 5 cooks under your supervision for 3 years, then cook the same dish for 3 years, do it well, and then maybe the word "chef" will apply if you're good.
Delusion like this can only occur in a small town without a sophisticated palette to judge itself by. Burlington's dining scene is a graveyard with amateur hour around the corner.

agree with jm re: the need for an affordable,family-friendly restaurant on riverside avenue. would certainly have positive impact on the neighborhood. could also be beneficial for folks crossing the bridge from winooski. hope it proves doable for those considering it.

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