Owner Athene Cua opened Clean Slate Café last March at 107 State Street in Montpelier, and it didn’t take long for chef John Beresford’s smoked burger to garner a reputation and bustling lunch crowds. But it also didn’t take long for Cua to realize that a schedule of breakfast, lunch and dinner service complicated the process of raising her daughters, ages 4 and 10. When resto veterans Cameron Moorby and Sarah Moos approached her and made an offer, Cua was happy to sell.
“They can put in 100 hours a week, which is 150 more hours a week than I can put in,” Cua jokes. She hopes to return to the food business when she opens a children’s museum complete with snack bar — her original plan for Clean Slate.
The new owners’ résumés boast some of the biggest names in Vermont. Front-of-the-house maven Moos comes directly from the Kitchen Table Bistro. Moorby is a protégé of Clean Slate’s consultant, Steve Bogart, who informed him of the restaurant’s availability. Moorby began cooking at Bogart’s A Single Pebble at age 16 and worked his way up to sous-chef. This past year, he was the sous-chef at Chef’s Corner in Williston.
The pair plans to open the Vermont Thrush Restaurant on November 1, evoking the name of the popular Thrush Tavern, which occupied that space until 2008. Moos says that, early on, they will focus on attracting a steady lunch crowd with reasonably priced sandwiches. While Thrush won’t be an Asian eatery, dinner offerings will include some of Moorby’s Chinese specialties.
Moos hopes a solid selection of beers on tap and occasional live music will attract devotees of the space’s former tenant. “[Thrush Tavern] was there a long time, and we want to bring back a comfort zone for people,” she says.