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Side Dishes: Milton café coming; Vietnamese restaurant opens in Essex Junction

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Folks driving past the old Secret Garden florist space on Route 7 in Milton may have noticed a new but still botanically themed sign on the building between TD Bank and Milton Chiropractic. A temporary banner featuring a pair of peas recently appeared to introduce Sweet Pea Café, an eatery that will open by July 18, says owner Susan Hulslander.

Hulslander is a 35-year restaurant veteran who says she has tried for two years to enact her lifelong dream of opening her own establishment. Construction on the space should wrap up this week and, once inspections are complete, she’ll serve breakfast and lunch every day but Sunday, and dinner on Thursday and Friday.

Hulslander is hiring a baker to stock the café’s case with fresh scones, muffins, coffee cake and desserts each day. Customers can pair them with an array of coffee drinks and smoothies. Lunch options include deli-style sandwiches and daily comfort-food specials.

The twice-weekly dinners will feature fresh menus each night, including steak, chicken and fish options. “I’ll try to put something in there for everybody,” Hulslander says. She hopes music will accompany those dinners, which will most likely be served until 10 p.m.

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Pho Vietnam in Essex Junction opens this Wednesday. Owner Tuan Nguyen eagerly snapped up the two-floor Park Street location left vacant last month by Thai restaurant Drunken Noodle House. He says he’ll serve the pho and rice and noodle dishes one encounters at many local Vietnamese eateries, but his restaurant will carve out a niche with its seafood specials, including native swordfish dishes.

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Rocky Leary has divided his pizza empire in two: He’s sold Williston’s Rocky’s N.Y. Pizza to John Howe, but will still run Rocky’s N.Y. Pizza & Ice Cream in Essex Junction.

New owner Howe is rolling out some new morsels in Williston — including “garlic puffs” that the staff painstakingly perfected — as well as upping his number of creemee flavor combinations to more than 100.

Most noticeably, says Howe, he’ll expand Rocky’s delivery base. “If you have a Williston address, we’ll definitely deliver to you,” he says.

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