The Oasis Diner in Burlington has officially changed hands, but don't look for knish just yet. Although the breakfast hot spot will be converted into a Jewish deli, new owner Glenn Walter, who also owns Three Needs bar, plans to maintain the current menu through the end of the year. The big difference: The eatery will be closed every Monday and Tuesday so major renovations can begin.
On the day after New Year's, Walter intends to close the restaurant for a month to complete the transformation. When the spot re-opens at the beginning of February, it will be rechristened the Sadie Katz Deli in homage to the grandmother of Walter's wife, Stacey Steinmetz, who "owned a soda fountain in Grand Central in the '30s, '40s and '50s," he says.
True to Sadie's legend, he'll offer egg creams and "strawberry and chocolate phosphates," along with matzo ball soup, latkes, pickles and sandwiches made with piles of authentic New York pastrami and corned beef - 22 hours a day. "I plan to be doing most of the cooking myself. While we're a diner, I'll be behind the counter flipping eggs," Walter boasts.
The deli's breakfast menu won't be an exact replica from the Oasis days: Walter will sub potato pancakes for homefries and add whitefish and lox to the options. But most of the menu items will be holdovers - and so will the focus on quality. "As the Oasis was doing before, we're trying to buy as many ingredients locally as possible," says Walter, who also indicates that the SKD will remain a member of the Vermont Fresh Network.
While his first weekend at the helm was wildly successful, Walter reports, he is having one significant problem: sourcing "really good, crusty rye bread" locally. This ain't New York, and "bread is the foundation for a really good corned-beef sandwich," he opines.