This 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.
Befitting a crew of guys used to opening restaurants — partners Nagy, Scott Kerner and Wes Hamilton have at least four eateries between them, including Montpelier’s Three Penny Taproom and three Mad Tacos — Mule Bar will open bang on schedule after a renovation led by woodworker Eyrich Stauffer.
The opening menu of Jean-Luc Matecat — also a partner — includes dry-aged steak frites, battered monkfish cheeks with chips, and eventually, various veggies from his own garden. We have our forks (and pint glasses) ready.