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Four Tomatoes? At the end of this month, the restaurant that occupies a plum spot next to Williston's Majestic 10 movie theater will cease to be Nicco's Cucina and become Three Tomatoes Trattoria Williston. Why the switch? Jed Davis, director of restaurants for the restaurant group with eateries in Burlington, Rutland and Lebanon, New Hampshire, says, "We just think the Three Tomatoes brand or concept would better serve the market. It kind of opens up a whole world of marketing for us."

Planned promotions include a "frequent diners" card that gives holders 10 percent off at any of the Three T's Italian eateries, and a "dinner and a movie" deal that patrons of the Burlington or Williston restaurant can use to snag discounted tix at the Roxy or the Majestic.

Food-science fanatics won't want to miss St. Mike's grad and Rhodes Scholar Dr. Michael Koziol when he returns to his alma mater for a talk entitled "Flavor Generation During Cooking - the Mysterious Reactions of Monsieur Maillard."

Not familiar with the Maillard reaction? It's one of the complex chemical processes that make cooked food taste so darn good. And the talk promises to be a little more flavorful than the topic of Dr. Koziol's PhD thesis: "Effects of prolonged exposure to SO2 on the growth and carbohydrate metabolism of soyabean and ryegrass."

Art openings often offer nibbles for hungry gazers, but the city of Montpelier is really doing it up at its Art and Artisan Cheese Walk on September 28. According to Suzanne Hechmer, executive director of the Montpelier Downtown Community Association, "Each of the 20-plus art venues will have samples of a Vermont artisan cheese that participants can sample while viewing the great art and meeting the artists that created them." Restaurants are getting in on the action, too. Restaurant Phoebe and Maplebrook Farms are hooking up to offer cheese samples with glasses of Prosecco, and Positive Pie 2 will feature specialty pizzas made with local cheeses.

As of August 31, the Cheese Outlet Fresh Market on Pine Street is under new ownership. The gourmet food biz was bought by Robert Lichorwic and his wife Deborah Jones, who are in the process of moving to Vermont from Florida.

Although Lichorwic says he's still discovering "what makes the business tick," he's already looking to the future. In addition to a "small seafood section," he's considering "expanding the bakery" and "increasing the variety of prepared foods to go." One sure thing on the updated menu: rôtisserie chicken "with different types of seasonings."

But two things will definitely stay the same: the soups, which Lichorwic calls "phenomenal," and the staff. He raves: "Even with an absentee manager for the past three years [after previous owner Simon Pozirekides relocated to California], they've maintained the quality and maintained the store, and the sales numbers have stayed the same."

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