Barre residents are gunning for a NASCAR-themed restaurant coming to the historic space formerly occupied by the Farmer's Diner. Cheyenne Roberts and boyfriend Eric DelToro plan to open the Pit Stop Diner next month in the old train car on Main Street. Roberts reports, "We left the front door unlocked one day, and we had people coming in and hooting and hollering."
The pair was visiting Vermont - from Florida - when the opportunity presented itself. Each is uniquely suited to operate an auto-oriented eatery. Roberts, 26, a native of the tiny Vermont town of Websterville, has racing in her blood: Her father drives at Thunder Road. And she's got business experience "doing books, the financial end of things." DelToro, 32, is the one with the restaurant chops - he and his father used to run two delis in New York City.
Unlike its predecessor, which served all-local food, the Pit Stop is taking a more mainstream approach. "They did well for the kind of restaurant they were," Roberts says of the Farmer's Diner, "but this place is known as a diner setting." The Green Mountain Diner also occupied the space, from 1932 to 2001.
Accordingly, the menu will feature inexpensive versions of traditional items like steak n' eggs, waffles and pancakes at breakfast; and hot or cold sandwiches and burgers at lunch. The place won't be entirely void of ethnic spice; Chef DelToro wants his Puerto Rican background reflected in some of the food. Look for his signature marinated pork chops with onions and from-scratch Spanish seasoning. Roasted chicken and cube steak with onions will also make an appearance.
The Pit Stop's logo incorporates a racecar, and the owners are planning a black and white interior. Lest there be any doubt about the diner's orientation, NASCAR photos and a collection of die-cast model cars will be part of the decor. "And then, of course," says Roberts, "we'll have one wall for Thunder Road racers."
Eventually, they plan to add TVs - so that customers can watch racing as they chow down. Just don't expect dishes with NASCAR -inspired names, says Roberts, who fears that cutesy titles might confuse folks looking for plain-old eggs and toast.
Starting in mid-March, the Pit Stop will serve breakfast "all day" and lunch. Hours will be from 5 a.m. to 4 p.m., every day of the week.