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Are We There Yet?

Side Dishes: Eagerly awaited Burlington restaurants share updates


Published August 24, 2010 at 4:51 p.m.

Sen. Patrick Leahy got an advance look at Church & Main on Monday morning — executive chef Benjamin Brezic says Vermont’s venerable statesman stopped in for a quick tour. But the rest of us will have to wait until the first week of September to check out the new Burlington spot.

“We kind of decided that we’d take our time and do everything right,” says managing partner Dave Sullivan. He notes that the bar is still being built, but most of the other pieces have fallen into place. “The menu is done, the wine list is written … all the plates, spoons, knives and toothpicks are here,” he says. “We’re just waiting to pull the trigger on things.”

Will Church & Main, which was supposed to open in July, really be ready to go in the next two weeks? “That’s subject to the wind blowing, the crops, the locusts — that sort of thing,” Sullivan remarks with a chuckle.

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Church Street denizens will soon have a brand-new place to snap up coffee and pastries. Bluebird Tavern owner Sue Bette says the Bluebird Coffee Stop, located in the kiosk on the corner of College Street, will open in mid-September.

“We’re on track. We’re just getting equipment in and working on the interior and exterior,” she explains. That means, in part, mounting copper work by local artist Kat Clear.

“We’re gonna install a coffee bar on the sidewalk side of the building,” says Bette. “We’re trying to get a European feel.”

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Several blocks to the west, the brown paper is finally off the windows at Via Loma, the Spanish restaurant on the corner of Burlington’s Main and South Champlain streets. Chef-owner Rob Minichiello received his certificate of occupancy on Monday.

“The restaurant is now fully equipped, and we’ll be going through staffing and training in the next few weeks,” he says. Minichiello, who originally planned to open in March before suffering setbacks, says he intends to start serving in mid-September.

He’s currently finishing up his menu, which includes grass-fed-beef-and-pork meatballs in smoked tomato sauce, and serrano ham on toast with tomato marmalade. Those are “two dishes that could really take off at Via Loma,” Minichiello guesses.

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Prefer American comfort food? Brett Frazer expects to open his North End Rotisserie, at North and North Winooski streets, on Labor Day weekend. Frazer, a former Beantown Boston Market manager, says he has to move from Hartland to Burlington before he can open the restaurant, which he has unofficially dubbed “home of the succulent bird.”

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Also in the Old North End, the Chubby Muffin — sister restaurant to the Skinny Pancake — is gearing up to start serving just after Labor Day. Although co-owner Benjy Adler wasn’t available for comment, he explained the spot’s belated opening in a recent edition of the Skinny Pancake email newsletter: “Subsequent to soul-searching and debate, we resolved to hold off on opening up ’til we have worked through every little kink and developed the most outrageously delicious muffins known to mankind.”

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