Most diners weren't daring enough to brave the blizzard on Valentine's Day, but local restaurateurs claim they more than made up for it over the weekend.
At Bistro Sauce in Shelburne, only 10 people came for lunch on Wednesday and 14 for dinner. "Four of them were kids," adds co-owner Emily Iliff. Drifting snow kept her from opening back up on Thursday, but Friday was a different story. "We'd brought in all of this beautiful food, so every night we had awesome specials . . . Friday, Saturday and Sunday brunch were phenomenal," Iliff reports. Even though weekends are usually brisk when Valentine's Day falls in the middle of the week, Iliff seemed confident that the weekend was busier than it would have been sans storm.
Ozzy Giral, who co-owns The Blue Cat Café in Burlington with his wife Mariasha, actually closed their restaurant's doors due to the inclement weather. "I came in at noon, picked up four wines from the wine cellar, drove back home and had a great time," he says. He had planned a special, French-influenced, five-course tasting menu with matching wines. Instead, he ended up running the French food over the weekend. "Friday and Saturday were ridiculously busy," says Giral. While the café always has a line on weekends, "it was our second busiest weekend ever . . . It wasn't even fun; we were just running around." Good for business, not good for sanity.
The Green Room stayed open; one staff member actually snowshoed to work. Chef Dave Pratt says parties never called to cancel their reservations, they just failed to show up. "It's kind of what we were expecting," he suggests. But the restaurant wasn't completely dead, and the weekend was busy. The best part? On Thursday, everybody got to take off and go skiing.
One restaurant that didn't seem to suffer much from the weather was L'Amante. Sixty intrepid lovers filled the dining room on Wednesday night. Co-owner Kathi Cleary "was surprised by how many people showed up." Did they drive? Probably not - most hailed from Burlington. The restaurant benefited from a busy weekend, too. Cleary chalks it up to the cancelled Mardi Gras parade.