Blurt: Seven Days Staff Blog

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20 posts categorized "Business" Feed

November 23, 2011

Leunig's Bistro to Expand — Upward

LeunigsIn spite of the enduring popularity of Leunig's Bistro, co-owner Bob Conlon is sometimes dismayed by the crowds that build in the front room as people wait for tables.

"When you're packed in like sardines and it's three deep at the bar, by the time you sit down, you may not be in the best of moods," he observes. "It's a great problem for us to have, but we want to make the experience better."

So 30-year-old Leunig's is growing — vertically. The owners have taken out a lease on a space directly above the restaurant, and are busy building a bar and lounge that should be open between Christmas and New Year's.

"It will not be Burlington's new nightclub. We'll close it at the same time as the restaurant," says Conlon. "We're really looking for a nice, comfortable place where perhaps you can sit and have a drink and conversation at the same time. We're hoping to keep it pretty civilized." 

A new set of stairs behind the ground floor bar will lead to the upstairs room, which will seat around 40 and have a limited bar menu — pâté, cheese plates and the like. A few new bartenders have already joined the staff in anticipation of the opening.

Conlon hopes the new space will also equip Leunig's to take on private parties. "Right now, we turn down wedding rehearsal dinners, bridal showers, and company parties. So we'll be able to use the room for those," he says. 




November 21, 2011

Chick fil-A Files to Block 'Eat More Kale' From Becoming Federal Trademark

EmkbigEleven years ago, a farmer friend asked Montpelier folk artist Bo Muller-Moore to make a T-shirt for him that read "Eat More Kale." So, Muller-Moore went home, traced his fingers to make cutouts of the letters and printed the T-shirt, which he sold for $10. The logo took off, and a business was born.

Six years later, the legal department of Atlanta-based fast food giant Chick fil-A sent Muller-Moore a cease-and-desist order requesting "that I shut down my website and send them my inventory," says Muller-Moore. "They said I was confusing their customers and affecting their profits." Specifically, Chick fil-A was concerned with how conflicted with their marketing slogan and website,

Through a lawyer, Muller-Moore informed the company that he intended to continue, and took their ensuing silence to mean they were backing down. He kept making T-shirts and bumper stickers, his website stayed up, and business grew. This August, he decided to seek a federal trademark for "Eat More Kale." And in September, he experienced some déjà vu: Chick fil-A sent Muller-Moore another cease and desist letter, and also demanded that he withdraw his application for a federal trademark.

Continue reading "Chick fil-A Files to Block 'Eat More Kale' From Becoming Federal Trademark" »

November 10, 2011

The Fate of Sadie Katz: Tacos, Farmhouse-Style

Picture 4Burlingtonians wondering about the fate of the shuttered Sadie Katz Delicatessen space might find some comfort in what's coming on its heels — that is, if they can switch their allegiance from latkes to tacos. 

El Cortijo Taquería y Cantina will open in the same space sometime this winter — bar, take-out window, NECI-trained chef and all.

Translate "El Cortijo," into English, and you get "the farmhouse" — a clue as to what kind of tacos these will be. The new owners are the crew from Farmhouse Tap & Grill, who bought the historic diner and will transform it into a lunch, dinner and late-night spot serving farm-fresh tacos alongside local and Mexican beers, tequilas, margaritas and a "killer house-made sangria," according to Farmhouse owner Jed Davis, who envisions a "fantastic" late-night scene.

Continue reading "The Fate of Sadie Katz: Tacos, Farmhouse-Style" »

September 09, 2011

BTV Lawyer Helps Flood Victims and Proves Not All Lawyers Are Jerks

Geoffrey-hand Like a lot of Vermonters in the past couple weeks, Geoff Hand had been moved by the images he'd seen and the stories he'd heard about the flooding caused by Tropical Storm Irene. So moved, in fact, that he wanted to get off the couch and do something. So Hand, a partner with the Burlington law firm Dunkiel Saunders, fished around for a project.

"The scale of it really hit me," he says. "I was trying to think of places where needs weren't being met."

What he came up with was helping people fill out FEMA paperwork. He reasoned correctly that many people didn't have Internet access even before the flood, or weren't web-savvy, making the online paperwork a bear to file. He also figured the wait to file for FEMA assistance over the phone would be long and not the best use of time for people who had just lost their homes.  

So, loaded up with four laptops from the office, a printer, a wireless card, envelopes, some pads of paper and pens, a table and some chairs, Hand hit the road and set up his own mobile FEMA assistance unit out of his old Subaru station wagon. Over the Labor Day weekend, Hand decamped to Waterbury, Duxbury and Moretown to help people get registered. As a result of his efforts, and those of his colleague, Rebecca Boucher, who went door-to-door to tell people about Hand's service, more than 30 families filed FEMA paperwork, hassle free.

Continue reading "BTV Lawyer Helps Flood Victims and Proves Not All Lawyers Are Jerks " »

August 09, 2011

La Résolution Francophone Update

Canadaquebec2larger In a move that surprised exactly zero people, the Burlington City Council unanimously voted last night to pass a resolution introduced by councilors Norm Blais and Paul Decelles that will magically make Burlington even more friendly to nos voisins du Nord — les Québécois! Je suis désolé si vous ne comprenez pas ce blog. Mais, you better get used to reading French. And speaking it. And writing bad poetry in it. Because the city council's vote effectively allows Québec to colonize our little city by the lake. (Québecers, this is a joke.) Henceforth, Burlington shall now be called Lil' Québec. (Québecers, this is also a joke.) Which is awesome, if for no other reason than we'll now have access to socialized medicine. Nice.

It seems our résolution, which can be read in its entirety here, caught the attention of the Montréal media. Le vendredi, a journalist from CBC Radio-Canada came to Burlington (sorry, I mean Lil' Québec) to report a story about the "issue." He and I had a chat about the resolution and what Québecers want when they travel to the U.S. We also talked about things that are tongue-in-cheek, such as the previous blog post I wrote on the topic. Then he returned to the motherland and produced not one but two pieces for yesterday's broadcast.

The first is a news shorty framing the "conflict." The second is a whopping nine-minute opus en français on Franco-Canadian-American relations. The French was too fast for me to actually understand (but not for long, once we are fully annexed), so I enlisted the help of my polyglot colleague Margot Harrison to translate the piece. Here's what she came up with:

Continue reading "La Résolution Francophone Update" »

August 08, 2011

What Should Replace Borders on Church Street?

2011-08-08_14-45-38_750 Recently, during my three-hour lunch break, I popped into Borders on Church Street. Beckoned by the chintzy "Going Out of Business" liquidation signs hung in all the windows, and the promise of a good deal or two, I figured I'd see what was going on in the now-bankrupt behemoth bookseller.

The answer, it turns out, is a whole lot. The place was packed and there was a holiday-season-length line at the checkout.Who knew there were so many people with so much free time on their hands/money to burn on Nora Roberts books

Borders, a husk of its former self, now has all the charm of a Dollar Store, with garish signs in bold capital letters alerting bargain hunters to the fact that mysteries were 25 percent off, novels were 30 percent off and bodice-rippers were a whopping 40 percent off. It was my lucky day! I love any book that places the words "throbbing" and "member" side by side in a sentence.

Continue reading "What Should Replace Borders on Church Street?" »

Got Gas? If it's in a Propane Tank, You May Not Have as Much as You Thought

17286_lg Sorry this news arrives too late for National Barbecue Month (May), National Great Outdoors Month (June) or National Hot Dog Month (July), but it's just in time for National Picnic Month (August):

Apparently, that rotten-egg smell isn't the only manufactured stink arising from your gas grill. You know that 20-pound propane tank that dangles beneath your barbecue grill like a shiny, white goiter? Well, it seems that some propane dealers no longer fill 20-lb. tanks with 20 pounds worth of propane. Instead, many consumers mistakenly assume they're getting 20 pounds of gas when they're only getting 15.

WTF? Is this like lumberyards selling "two-by-fours" that are actually only 1.5 inches by 3.5 inches? Are consumers confusing pounds of weight with pounds of pressure? Or is this just another case of, "Since you can't see it, just trust us that's it's all in there?"

Actually, none of the above, though the last explanation comes closest.

Continue reading "Got Gas? If it's in a Propane Tank, You May Not Have as Much as You Thought" »

July 28, 2011

Klifa Club Closing, Selling Historic Burlington House

Exterior It's the end of an era on Pearl Street. After more than 110 years, the Klifa Club, a historic women's social club in Burlington, is closing its doors. Its stately and mysterious red-brick headquarters is now for sale.

At one point the club was hosting as many as 250 women for its afternoon luncheons, but in recent years it "quietly dwindled," said current Klifa Club president Christine Powell. "In the end we would be lucky if 25 attended." The numbers were even fewer in the winter when many members headed south, Powell added, and the club was closed for the duration of the summer.

Klifa joins the Ethan Allen Club and the Athena Club on the list of local social hubs that have closed their doors in recent years.

Continue reading "Klifa Club Closing, Selling Historic Burlington House" »

July 25, 2011

"Fill ’er Up," Says Entergy As It Approves VT Yankee Refueling

Vyfuel Entergy's board of directors has essentially made a $50 million* bet that Vermont Yankee will remain open beyond March 2012, voting to refuel the plant in October.

The board made the announcement to Vermont Yankee employees and the media in a brief statement earlier today.

The $35 million $50 million* (see correction below) cost of a refueling covers the cost of replacing 120 fuel assemblies as well as other, scheduled capital upgrades and equipment replacements, said Larry Smith, a VY spokesman.

The October refueling will allow the nuke plant to keep running until at least March 2013. Refuelings occur every 18 months.

VY received a 20-year license extension from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission earlier this year, but the state of Vermont has refused to grant a certificate of public good to continue operating beyond March 21, 2012.

Continue reading ""Fill ’er Up," Says Entergy As It Approves VT Yankee Refueling" »

July 22, 2011

Parima to Close in September … Sigh.

Well folks, another one bites the dust. And this one stings.

I've just gotten off the phone with Parima talent buyer, Joe Adler, who informed me that the venerable Thai restaurant/increasingly killer music venue will close its doors for good in September. The building was recently sold to another local business, which, for now, will remain anonymous until it has had a chance to inform its employees and make a formal announcement. Adler did note, however, that the plans for the new venture do not include entertainment. What a waste.

Parima 185 Pearl St Burlington
Adler said a blowout farewell party is planned for Saturday, September 17 featuring Jen Hartswick, Nick Cassarino and host of other local favorites. "It will be the craziest party you can imagine," he promised.

I don't know, Joe, I can imagine some pretty crazy parties. Although, I've been to several wild shindigs at Parima in recent months. Over the last year-plus, the juke joint has gone from being a fairly awkward place to see a show to one of the more consistently entertaining venues in town. From initiating the weekly Burgundy Thursday series and the monthly Full Moon Masquerade party to pulling in big ticket acts such as the Barr Brothers and Marco Benevento to lining up great local artists week in and week out, Adler and company have created a welcome addition to our cozy little music scene. Parima's impending closure will mean a big, honkin' void for local music fans this fall.

"It's been a great ride," he said. Indeed, Joe.

Parima will close its doors in September, but there is still a full calendar on tap in the meantime, including two shows this evening: an early gig with Rusty Belle, Flightless Buttress and Tommy Alexander, and then a late night throwdown with Bonjour-Hi!, Lazerdisk Party Sex, Craig Mitchell, DJ A-Dog, Mushpost, Bass Culture and DJ Disco Phantom.

Stuck in VT (VIDEOS)

Solid State (Music)

Mistress Maeve (Sex)

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