On Sunday, February 27, an Oscar party was in full swing at the Hideaway in Essex. It was an appropriate final night for the business, says Pam Audette, co-owner of the theatrically themed restaurant, which closed its doors after three years.
Audette says she feels for the regular customers who left that night crying. “We really felt that we were successful as far as the product we put out,” she says, “but it’s not a way to make a living right now.”
Audette and her husband will devote themselves full time to their longtime second occupation, distributing Shaklee health products. “Not everybody wants to eat out, but everybody wants to be healthy,” says Audette. “We’re lucky to have things to fall back on.”
Thirty-year-old Jonathan Villeneuve is in for a tough fight. Expecting his first child, the Champlain College grad was tending bar and working as a server at Junior’s Italian in Colchester when a ski accident paralyzed him from the waist down. While he recovers at a rehab facility in Atlanta, Villeneuve’s colleagues at Junior’s are raising money for his care.
On Sunday, March 13, from noon to two p.m., Junior’s will host a food-filled benefit for the devoted employee. The centerpieces of the festivities are a Calcutta with a grand prize of $3000 and a 50/50 raffle hosted by Tim Kavanagh, but foodies can also look forward to the silent auction. Over a buffet of pizza, pasta and desserts, they can bid on items donated by nearly 30 restaurants. Gift certificates range from $100 meals at Hen of the Wood at the Grist Mill and Leunig’s Bistro to $20 ones at Sweetwater’s and New World Tortilla.