Tyler Bean at Willow's
A mini food court is taking shape in downtown Burlington, where a pizza place, a bar and a bagel shop
will soon share a building at 71 South Union Street.
The pizzeria, Folino's
, opened in January on the west side of the brick building. The two other businesses — Stonecutter Spirits
and Willow's — will join Folino's later this spring.
When Willow's opens, it will be the only "dedicated" bagel bakery in downtown Burlington, to use owner Tyler Bean's word. The 27-year-old Burlingtonian said bagels have "kind of been my life for a long time."
"I have a pretty good recipe that I've been making at home that we've scaled to a commercial setting," said Bean, whose father, John, is his partner in the venture. "It's something the two of us have talked about in a vague sense for a while, and we fell into this opportunity and went for it."
Bean is a musician who records and performs under the name Tyler Daniel Bean
. He has a master's degree in confessional poetry and literary studies from (now-defunct) Burlington College. He has taught writing and worked as a barista at the Great Northern
Now he's turning his attention to the bagel shop and café — currently under construction — that he expects to open in a month or so. Willow's will seat about 35 people and serve breakfast and lunch daily from 6 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The bagelry will produce about a dozen varieties, including three or four revolving flavors, Bean said. "We'll rotate based on what's seasonally available," he said, adding that Willow's will likely make a fennel bagel.
The restaurant will serve sandwiches, soups and an array of baked goods, including cookies, lemon bars, cinnamon rolls, muffins and biscuits.
"We trying to push into savory within a bunch of the baked goods," Bean said, singling out for praise a butternut squash and blue cheese biscuit.
The plan for Willow's was in the works before Bruegger's Bagels
closed last winter on Church Street. But the closures gave Bean a little "nudge," he said.
"The competition, locally, all of a sudden wasn't there," Bean said. "And then we were like, holy crap, we got to get our butts in motion and push it."