One of Burlington's highest-profile restaurant mysteries has finally been solved. Since Pistou served its final meal to the public early this year, many diners have wondered what would settle into the space at 61 Main Street.
The question was answered yesterday, when Jodi Whalen and Phil Merrick collected the keys.
The couple owns August First Bakery & Café
, just next door at 149 South Champlain Street. "We’ve had our eye on it for a long time now, but just ended up having to wait a while," Whalen says.
The Pistou space will become baking HQ for the business. Moving out of the "cramped" space in the back of August First will allow Merrick and his team to expand their pastry and bread offerings. Whalen says croissants may be part of the equation.
"People will be able to go into the bakeshop and just grab bread or pastry or a latte to go, which will make things easier for a lot of customers. Waiting in a long line for one baguette has been a challenge," says Whalen. That space may also become home to a grab-and-go case for immediate lunch gratification.
The move will also allow South Champlain to grow its savory offerings. Chef Charlotte Doggett "is chomping at the bit," says Whalen. One addition will be a pizza oven. August First may not reinstate its popular Friday pizza nights, but Whalen doesn't dismiss the idea. For now her plans involve more private pizza parties.
Whether or not the expansion includes dinner plans, breakfast and lunch menus will be expanded. Just don't expect anything too labor intensive. Whalen says she wants to keep up August First's reputation as a spot for a quick lunch. Items that take more than 15 minutes to prepare are out of the running. "We just want to make sure it stays in our style and stays within the character of what is already great about August First," she says.
When will all these changes take place? The first of the year, Whalen hopes. Seven months ahead of the next August first.