From Shelburne Road, the porch at Chef Leu's House appears to have exploded. A stack of broken boards and lengths of yellow tape warn customers away from the front door. But despite the mess, says Manager Tony Wang, the restaurant is open for business, with signs pointing to an alternate entry.
Wang explains that the chaos resulted from an unfortunate meeting of porch and car: "An older man tried to park, and he stepped on the gas pedal instead of the brake." Nobody was seriously injured, and the cost of repairs is being covered by the driver's insurance. Work begins on Thursday and will probably be completed next week, says Wang.
The staff at Stephen & Burns must be bummed they can no longer step outside their door and grab lunch. On June 30, employees packed up the 13-year-old Klinger's Kiosk on Church Street and closed it down for good.
Why did they take away the fresh-baked breads, biscotti and coffee? "We felt that over the last two or three years, foot traffic on Church Street had been declining significantly," co-owner Judy Klingebiel says. "And that there's a lot more competition for the kinds of things that we sell at the kiosk." Some of that competition comes from one of the bakery's best wholesale accounts, City Market. In essence, the bakery was competing against itself.
"We decided to focus our energy in different directions," Klingebiel goes on. "We've been putting a lot into our website, and we have a themed-sugar-cookie business that we call 'Cookies from Vermont,' and this has been really taking off." The Farrell Street location in South Burlington still serves up soups, sandwiches and croissants.
The Church Street Marketplace, which owns the kiosk, is seeking a new tenant, says Executive Director Ron Redmond. The company has extended the application deadline until the end of July in an effort to review as many proposals as possible before making a decision.
"The Marketplace is 100 percent funded by fees," Redmond relates. "We want to have a good operator who can be successful and community minded, and at the same time, we need that revenue."
In other Church Street news, Redmond mentioned that he's excited about getting more Church Street eateries on the rosters of the Vermont Fresh Network. "That's kind of a goal for us over the next year," he states. "I think that has so much value for today's customer." When it comes to the sources of their food, Redmond believes, "People want to know."