Last night, just a year after opening her flagship restaurant, Bluebird Tavern, Sue Bette went in front of the Burlington City Council to finalize a lease on a new spot: The old Klinger's kiosk on Church Street, most recently known as Cheese 'n Crust Souperstar.
After the soup and sandwich joint closed, the Marketplace received six proposals from prospective tenants, five of them food related. According to a memo from Church Street Marketplace director Ron Redmond to the city council, Fuad Ndibalema of Samosaman had pitched a plan to sell samosas, other prepared foods and beverages; staffers from WBKM radio hoped to peddle coffee and ice cream to help "support radio operations"; and someone aimed to make the spot a Dunkin' Donuts Express Restaurant.
Photo of Bluebird owner Sue Bette and chef Aaron Josinsky by Matthew Thorsen
Redmond went with Bette's proposal: a business called the Bluebird Coffee Stop. In August, after fitting up the space to give it a "1920s, 1930s New York subway vibe," she'll start selling Fair Trade coffee and espresso from an as-yet-undetermined local roaster. There also will be seasonal pastries and, eventually, sandwiches.
The new kiosk isn't all that's happening at the Tavern. Using the old Smokejacks bar as a centerpiece, Bette and her team has constructed a "speakeasy" in a room that has been used for special events. Patrons can hang there beginning at 4 p.m. on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays beginning next week, and sample freshly shucked oysters as well as a special selection of sips and snacks.
The grand opening, also a one-year-anniversary party for Bluebird, happens on July 8, with music from Heloise of Heloise & the Savoir Faire.