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Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Burlington's ArtsRiot to Expand in the New Year

Posted By on Tue, Dec 18, 2018 at 6:07 PM

ArtsRiot entrance - SALLY POLLAK
  • Sally Pollak
  • ArtsRiot entrance
ArtsRiot, a creative and culinary force on Pine Street in Burlington, will expand in 2019.  The restaurant and music/event space has leased the neighboring  building at 404 Pine Street, according to chef/co-owner George Lambertson. That space most recently housed the South End Arts and Business Association office and gallery.

In the spring, ArtsRiot will throw an opening bash to welcome the public to its new 2,300-square-foot digs and reveal what the space will hold, Lambertson said. "We're excited to bring Burlington more programming," he added cryptically.

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Thursday, December 6, 2018

#Instareal: Stonesoupalley Shows It Like It Is

Posted By on Thu, Dec 6, 2018 at 1:14 PM

Stonesoupalley on Instagram - SCREENSHOT
  • Screenshot
  • Stonesoupalley on Instagram
Let us now praise stonesoupalley, the anti-Instagram IG feed.  The site,  like many of us, is fed by Tim Elliott, chef/co-owner of  Zabby & Elf's Stone Soup in downtown Burlington.

On the Instagram page he started last month, Elliott presents a clear-eyed view  of the restaurant world with a side-eyed glance of what stonesoupalley is not:  food porn.

"It's beautiful and the food is amazing," Elliott said of the constant blast of food images on social media.   "But I'm numb to it."

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Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Hen of the Wood Restaurateurs Buy Prohibition Pig

Posted By on Tue, Dec 4, 2018 at 3:22 PM

COURTESY OF PROHIBITION PIG
  • Courtesy of Prohibition Pig
Prohibition Pig is closed Tuesday and Wednesday of this week. When it reopens on Thursday, the restaurant will do so under new ownership: Eric Warnstedt and Will McNeil, co-owners of Hen of the Wood and Doc Ponds, purchased the Waterbury brewpub on Tuesday, Warnstedt said.

The business partners purchased Prohibition Pig — a restaurant/bar and affiliated brewery and tasting room — from Chad Rich, finalizing the deal at about 1 p.m. on Tuesday.  With the new acquisition, Warnstedt and McNeil own four restaurants — two in Waterbury, where Warnstedt founded the original Hen in 2005; a second Hen on Cherry Street in Burlington, and Doc Ponds in Stowe.

“I’ve been buddies with Chad since before all this,” Warnstedt said. “It was an easy transition to think maybe we’d be partners one day. And then it came to the idea of him maybe wanting to make some changes, and I was the logical option without shopping it.”

Warnstedt, who grew up in Florida and North Carolina, said the prospect of running a restaurant that serves Southern-style food appeals to him. Prohibition Pig features smoked meat plates, barbecue sandwiches, burgers and other pub fare.

Eric Warnstedt, right, with William McNeil - FILE: MATTHEW THORSEN
  • File: Matthew Thorsen
  • Eric Warnstedt, right, with William McNeil
“I’m really excited,” Warnstedt, 43, said. “I’m born in the South, and this is everything in the world I’ve wanted to play in. Here we can play in our local world  but with this whole southern spin, which is right up my alley.”

There are no plans to make changes at the Waterbury brewpub, which employs about 50 people, Warnstedt said. The acquisition brings to 160 the number of people employed by the restaurateurs.

“It’s really just getting to know everyone,” Warnstedt said. “The Pig has been doing great for six years; let’s set up for another six years. It’s really about building up the foundation so we’re setting ourselves up there to be successful in the long term.”

Prohibition Pig occupies the space at 23 South Main Street in Waterbury that was the original home of the Alchemist, a brewpub founded in 2003 by John and Jen Kimmich. The  couple later moved out of the downtown space to launch a cannery in Waterbury, where they brewed Heady Topper. In July 2016, the Kimmiches opened a brewery and visitor center in Stowe.

“I feel like we’re really carrying the torch of what’s been happening there, from the Alchemist to Prohibition Pig to our version of Prohibition Pig," Warnstedt said.

Since Tropical Storm Irene damaged homes and businesses in Waterbury in August 2011, the town's rebuilding  efforts have come to include a revitalized downtown. Waterbury has become a food and beverage hub of the region.

“For me, I live here,” Warnstedt said. “I’m not going anywhere. I feel like I want to double-down in Waterbury. We can do a lot more to the town through the Pig. It’s bigger [than Hen-Waterbury]. There’s more going on. It’s the center of the town, physically and spiritually.”

The Burlington Free Press reported the news of Prohibition Pig’s sale earlier on Tuesday.

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Peterson Quality Malt Purchases Nordic Farms

Posted By on Tue, Dec 4, 2018 at 1:41 PM

Nordic Farms in Charlotte - FILE: CALEB KENNA
  • File: Caleb Kenna
  • Nordic Farms in Charlotte
It's no secret that Vermont's dairies are struggling. But could the state's burgeoning beer industry help to save its local farms?

In Charlotte, Andrew Peterson, of Peterson Quality Malt, just wagered more than $2 million on that possibility. Last month, Peterson, along with partners Jay and Matt Canning of Hotel Vermont, purchased Charlotte's sprawling, 600-acre Nordic Farms for $2.4 million.

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Tuesday, November 27, 2018

Farmhouse Group to Add Three Restaurants Next Year

Posted By on Tue, Nov 27, 2018 at 7:15 PM

Nachos at El Cortijo - DON EGGERT/FILE
  • Don Eggert/File
  • Nachos at El Cortijo
The Farmhouse Group, owner of four restaurants in the Burlington area, is planning to open three new restaurants in 2019, according to owner Jed Davis.

Two of the restaurants, called Bliss Bee, will represent a new concept for the Farmhouse Group. The third restaurant will be another El Cortijo; the new one, a taqueria and margarita bar similar to its downtown Burlington namesake, will be in Winooski.

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Sunday, November 25, 2018

To Tip or Not to Tip, to Post or Not to Post? Monarch & the Milkweed Stirs Controversy

Posted By on Sun, Nov 25, 2018 at 5:14 PM

Crabapple tart - COURTESY OF MONARCH & THE MILKWEED
  • Courtesy of Monarch & the Milkweed
  • Crabapple tart
Updated, November 27, 2018: The post about the tip was removed from Monarch & the Milkweed's social media sites on Monday.

On Small Business Saturday, a small business owner in Burlington publicly defied the long-standing adage," the customer is always right," and posted on social media the restaurant receipt of a customer who left no tip.  On a bill for $48.94, in the line reserved for a tip, the patron wrote  0.00.

But it wasn’t the lack of tip that compelled Andrew LeStourgeon, owner of Monarch & the Milkweed, to post a photo of the receipt on Instagram and Facebook. It was the comment the customer left for the server that prompted his action, he  said.

In capital letters, the customer printed: “YOU LOOKED @ MY ID AND DID NOT SAY HAPPY B-DAY.”

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Friday, November 16, 2018

Dining on a Dime: Vergennes Laundry by CK

Posted By on Fri, Nov 16, 2018 at 12:46 PM


Rice bowl at Vergennes Laundry by CK - SALLY POLLAK
  • Sally Pollak
  • Rice bowl at Vergennes Laundry by CK
The choice was between three cider donuts dusted with cinnamon sugar and a rice bowl. I eyed the former and picked the latter.

These brunch options at Vergennes Laundry by CK are $12 each, tax and gratuity included. The donuts, $4 apiece, were mighty tempting, but I thought I should start my Sunday with a little nutritional balance. As it turned out, I was rewarded with a creatively delicious meal built in a bowl.

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Tuesday, November 13, 2018

Dining on a Dime: Kerry's Kwik Stop

Posted By on Tue, Nov 13, 2018 at 2:53 PM

Roast beef panini with fries from Kerry's Kwik Stop - HANNAH PALMER EGAN
  • Hannah Palmer Egan
  • Roast beef panini with fries from Kerry's Kwik Stop
If you're looking for a fast and hearty midday meal, follow a contractor to their lunch spot. The fare may not be the healthiest — odds are, it won't be. But it'll fill you up, usually with something tasty, and almost always at a reasonable price.

Knowing this, I was relieved when I filed into line at Kerry's Kwik Stop, on St. Paul Street in Burlington during the lunch rush a couple weeks back. In front of me were an array of men in dusty steel-toed boots; some of them wore the neon yellow vests often donned by road crews. Excellent, I thought, starving.

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Friday, November 2, 2018

Dining on a Dime: Mirabelles Café

Posted By on Fri, Nov 2, 2018 at 12:28 PM

Chili and salad - SALLY POLLAK
  • Sally Pollak
  • Chili and salad
Amid the deluge of detritus on Facebook, an image of truth and beauty lit up my feed the other day. It was a chocolate cupcake topped with a mound of vanilla frosting and decorated with sparkly numerals: 28.

“Happy Birthday to us!” the accompanying text read.

Mirabelles Café & Bakery turned 28 this week. The occasion provided a good reason — though not a necessary one — for lunch at one of Burlington’s best restaurants.

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Friday, October 26, 2018

Dining on a Dime: Pho Dang Vietnamese Café

Posted By on Fri, Oct 26, 2018 at 2:03 PM

Pho rau - SALLY POLLAK
  • Sally Pollak
  • Pho rau
Cold weather hit hard and fast this week — just in time to freeze out the Dodgers and warm up with soup.

If you're looking for a bowl of soup to be a meal, the thing to eat is pho,  Vietnamese noodle soup. I headed to Pho Dang Vietnamese Café in Winooski, which moved in July from its home of 11 years to new quarters a few blocks north.

The restaurant at 348 Main Street, roughly double the size of the original, is a cheerful and buzzy space currently decorated with goblins and pumpkins. All 14 tables were full the night I dined there, with a steady flow of people arriving. I found a seat at a shiny wooden bar by the front door and within a couple of minutes was served a pot of tea.

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