Bite Club | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Stonecutter Spirits to Close Highball Social and Tasting Room

Posted By on Tue, Dec 3, 2019 at 4:33 PM

Sivan Cotel and Sas Stewart, cofounders of Stonecutter Spirits - FILE: JAMES BUCK
  • File: James Buck
  • Sivan Cotel and Sas Stewart, cofounders of Stonecutter Spirits
Stonecutter Spirits has announced the closure of the company's Burlington bar Highball Social and its Middlebury tasting room. Both locations will close at the end of 2019.

“We are so grateful for the strong support that our community has shown us since we opened our doors in 2015," the company’s president and cofounder Sas Stewart said in a press release. "We’re proud to be a part of the Vermont ecosystem, and are excited to host fundraisers, collaborations and holiday parties to close out this year. While we’re sad to end this chapter, it’s only fitting to spend this time celebrating the people and products that make Vermont outstanding."

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Friday, November 22, 2019

Bliss Bee Set to Open Second Location

Posted By on Fri, Nov 22, 2019 at 8:00 AM

Clockwise from bottom: crispy chicken sandwich with hand-cut fries, Vermont hot dog, salmon salad, Bliss Bee sodas and a Sunrise grain bowl - FILE: DARIA BISHOP
  • File: Daria Bishop
  • Clockwise from bottom: crispy chicken sandwich with hand-cut fries, Vermont hot dog, salmon salad, Bliss Bee sodas and a Sunrise grain bowl

Bliss Bee will open in South Burlington early next week, according to owner Jed Davis, who told Seven Days by email that the restaurant will open Monday or Tuesday.

The fast-casual restaurant at 1185 Shelburne Road is the second Bliss Bee restaurant in Chittenden County; the first one launched in April at Maple Tree Place in Williston.

Like its Williston counterpart, the Bliss Bee in South Burlington will be open seven days a week starting at 11 a.m. An identical menu at the two restaurants offers grain bowls, salads, burgers, hot dogs and chicken sandwiches, with sides such as French fries, cole slaw and chicken nuggets.  Beverages include cocktails and smoothies.

Bliss Bee is a new venture for Davis, whose Farmhouse Group owns and operates five area restaurants.  Davis opened his first restaurant, Farmhouse Tap & Grill, on Bank Street in Burlington in May 2010.

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Tuesday, November 19, 2019

Dining on a Dime: Drifters

Posted By on Tue, Nov 19, 2019 at 4:20 PM


Chickpea patties at Drifters - SALLY POLLAK
  • Sally Pollak
  • Chickpea patties at Drifters
Andrew Ryan wore his baseball cap backward the other night at Drifters, his restaurant in Burlington's Old North End. From a dining table that Ryan built from driftwood, I could read the writing on the bill: BUTTER.

But there was none in my meal, nor in many others Ryan cooked that night. I dined happily on the vegan chickpea patties ($12), which were offered last week for a Seven Days Burger Week special.

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Sunday, November 10, 2019

Drink Up: Vermont Wine and Food Pairing Workshop

Posted By on Sun, Nov 10, 2019 at 7:36 PM

Fable Farm Fermentory and Iapetus wines at the Vermont Wine & Food Pairing Workshop at Hotel Vermont - JORDAN BARRY
  • Jordan Barry
  • Fable Farm Fermentory and Iapetus wines at the Vermont Wine & Food Pairing Workshop at Hotel Vermont
How do you convince a thirsty diner to choose marquette over malbec, or la crescent instead of Chardonnay?

At an industry-only workshop on Wednesday exploring how to pair Vermont wine with food, servers, chefs and business owners were given a great piece of advice: "The first step is getting it into the glass."

That advice came from Matt Canning, the food and beverage manager at Hotel Vermont. Canning led the workshop together with Doug Paine, executive chef of  Juniper Bar & Restaurant and Bleu Northeast Seafood. The workshop was a partnership between the hotel and the Vermont Fresh Network. It was held as part of the Vermont Wine Project, a grant-funded initiative managed by the Vermont Fresh Network with support from the Vermont Grape and Wine Council.

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Friday, November 8, 2019

Daily Planet to Reopen Friday Night, Its Owner Says

Posted By on Fri, Nov 8, 2019 at 1:07 PM


Copey Houghton - FILE: DARIA BISHOP
  • File: Daria Bishop
  • Copey Houghton
Landmark downtown Burlington restaurant Daily Planet will reopen at 4 p.m. Friday, owner Copey Houghton told Seven Days. The restaurant closed abruptly on October 30 after a pending sale of the business fell through.

Houghton said he has since hired new staff members, including chef Jeff Perkins, who said he was executive chef at the Mount Mansfield Winter Academy in Stowe for about 10 years.

“I used to come here 15 years ago,” Perkins, 35, said. “I wanted to get back to this style of food — the American-French eclectic type thing. I like the fine dining with a casual setting. It’s perfect.”

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Friday, November 1, 2019

Volunteers Aid Intervale Farms With Emergency Flood Harvests

Posted By on Fri, Nov 1, 2019 at 7:10 PM

Volunteers and farm staff harvesting carrots at the Intervale Community Farm - JORDAN BARRY
  • Jordan Barry
  • Volunteers and farm staff harvesting carrots at the Intervale Community Farm
It was a day of pleas and carrots for farms at the Burlington Intervale on Friday. The torrential rain that made for a soggy Halloween on Thursday evening also triggered a flood warning. Some of the farms that sit in the fertile floodplain put out calls for volunteers on social media as they rushed to bring in crops before fields go under water.

"We had three and a half inches of rain in the rain gauge this morning, just from overnight," said Andy Jones, farm manager of Intervale Community Farm. "That's more than we've ever had on the farm in that short a period of time," he continued, "except for Tropical Storm Irene and one other hurricane in the ’90s."

Intervale Community Farm, and the other farms working the 135-acre Intervale Center, are farming directly within the lower Winooski floodplain.

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Wednesday, October 30, 2019

Sale of Daily Planet Falls Through, Leaving Its Future Unclear

Posted By on Wed, Oct 30, 2019 at 11:23 AM


The Daily Planet on October 29, 2019 - SALLY POLLAK
  • sally pollak
  • The Daily Planet on October 29, 2019
 Editor’s note, 3:15 p.m. October 30, 2019: Wednesday afternoon, Seven Days published a story that said the Daily Planet was closing. Owner Copey Houghton’s daughter, Samantha Houghton, subsequently insisted it was not closed. Copey Houghton himself later called the paper and acknowledged the staff had “walked,” but added he had no intention to close. This story has been updated as more information became available.

A pending sale of the Daily Planet, which opened on Center Street in 1982, fell through earlier this month, and the future of the restaurant appears to be in question.

For many years, the restaurant has been the go-to hangout in Burlington, drawing a lively crowd that included restaurant workers, journalists, downtown merchants and more. But Tuesday night, staff and customers in attendance said it was the last night of service.

David Warshow, a prospective buyer of the restaurant, told Seven Days there were issues he and the seller, Planet owner Copey Houghton, could not resolve. Warshow, 28, declined to specify what the issues are, but said the failed deal was unrelated to financing. Efforts to reach Houghton on Tuesday were not successful.

“This turnout shows how important this place is to the community,” Warshow said late Tuesday night at the bar. “And how sad what’s happening is.”

After Seven Days reported the place was closing, Samantha Houghton insisted it was not — prompting the paper to correct the story. Around 2:15 p.m., Copey Houghton called an editor and asked for the story to be “taken down.”

Copey said he was out of town, and insisted a staff member had been telling people he was closing when he had no intention to do so. As a result, he said, the staff “walked.” Asked if there would be food service Wednesday night, he answered, “No, there can’t be any service there tonight, because of the fact that [the staff member] told everyone it’s closing. The kitchen staff walked. And I can’t get there right now.”

He hopes to get a chef and reopen soon, he said.

Tuesday night, a crowd filled the barroom. Tequila shots were $2, tacos were on special and Game Six of the World Series played on the TV. Customers said they came to pay their respects to the Daily Planet.

“I just wanted to come here and make sure I got my last hurrah in,” said Drew Johnson, 23, a cook at Leunig’s.

Ian Cyr, general manager of the Daily Planet, told Seven Days on Tuesday afternoon that summer had been busy at the Planet. He called the collapse of the sale “disappointing.”

“I think the space needs some renovating,” Cyr said. “It needs some upkeep. I’m not sure of the exact future.”

The Daily Planet is on the market for $285,000. The listing with VT Commercial describes it as an “iconic” Burlington restaurant. A second restaurant owned by Houghton, the Old Dock in Essex, N.Y., is also for sale. The asking price is $750,000.

Tony Blake of VT Commercial said a couple of parties are interested in the Planet. “The time frame is contingent, as all business transactions are, on a laundry list of conditions,” Blake said. “Even if you come to terms of agreement, a very short closing would be 60 days after that.”

He noted that a liquor license is not assumed with the change of ownership of a Vermont business. In order to get a new license, certain requirements must be met, including licensing by the Department of Health, Blake said.

A Seven Days reporter returned to the restaurant Wednesday. Cyr declined to comment, and others ordered the reporter to leave the premises.

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Thursday, October 24, 2019

Consider Bardwell Farm To Cease Manufacturing and Selling Cheese

Posted By on Thu, Oct 24, 2019 at 4:45 PM

A variety of cheeses - FILE PHOTO
  • File photo
  • A variety of cheeses
Consider Bardwell Farm, the award-winning raw cow and goat milk cheese producer based in West Pawlet, has announced that it will stop all manufacturing and selling activities after 15 years in business.

The announcement was made Thursday afternoon on the creamery's social media channels. The company explained that its "current funds do not allow us to continue manufacturing and selling our cheeses." 

On September 30, Consider Bardwell announced a recall of its Dorset, Slyboro and Experience cheeses due to possible contamination with Listeria monocytogenes — "an organism that can cause serious and sometimes fatal infections in young children, frail or elderly people and others with weakened immune systems," according to the recall announcement posted by the FDA. The bacteria was found during "routine testing of finished products and the manufacturing environment," the report said.

No illnesses had been reported in connection with the company's cheeses at the time of the recall announcement, which was a "voluntary and precautionary recall initiated by Consider Bardwell Farm," the report noted.

Today's announcement, signed by owner Angela Miller, said that based on a financial review, "We simply do not have the cash flow and resources to recover from the recall and sustain our business to move forward."

Attempts to reach Consider Bardwell Farm were not immediately successful Thursday afternoon. 

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Uncommon Grounds Manager to Open Café and Bakery in Essex

Posted By on Thu, Oct 24, 2019 at 11:00 AM

Maya Crowley - COURTESY OF JACQUELINE POTTER
  • Courtesy of Jacqueline Potter
  • Maya Crowley
The manager of Uncommon Grounds on Church Street will open her own coffee shop, bakery and roastery, Uncommon Coffee, next spring at the Essex Experience.

Maya Crowley told Seven Days she considered buying Uncommon Grounds, which will close by the end of the year after 25 years in business. But when Crowley calculated the finances, including what she said would be a sharp increase in rent, she concluded the business wouldn’t be viable.

“We had assumed that I could take over Uncommon Grounds, but due to a number of circumstances outside our control” it didn’t work, Crowley said.

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Wednesday, October 23, 2019

Fundraising Dinner at the Great Northern Raises $14,000 for New Talent Skatepark

Posted By on Wed, Oct 23, 2019 at 3:39 PM

Cheese spread at Talent Skatepark fundraiser - COURTESY OF KERRIE MATHES
  • Courtesy of Kerrie Mathes
  • Cheese spread at Talent Skatepark fundraiser
On Sunday evening at the Great Northern, cooking talent from around Vermont gathered in one Burlington restaurant kitchen to make a finger-food feast for the city’s skateboarding talent. Dubbed "Talent for Talent: Grazing Dinner," the event was a fundraiser for the new Talent Skatepark. Skateboarders, it’s been confirmed, are fans of finger food.

Earlier that day, skaters at Andy A-Dog Williams Skatepark on the Burlington waterfront said they like to eat pizza and chicken wings. And Pringles.

“Skaters will appreciate any food,” University of Vermont student Tyler Varacchi said, before bicycling away in the rain.

The spread at the Great Northern was a cut above chips and wings — and mostly eatable by hand.

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