Just as the Ground Round space lay dormant for more than a year, so 1210 Williston Road has been empty since Two Friends Bistro & Bar closed in 2009. On August 25 or 26, Wooden Spoon Bistro will open in the building adjacent to Quiznos and Higher Ground in South Burlington.
The restaurant will mark a return to Vermont for chef/co-owner Adam Raftery, who is opening the Wooden Spoon with his sister, Liza Raftery O’Brien. Raftery has spent the past few years as a private chef in the U.S. Virgin Islands, where he also worked with a group of University of Vermont grads to start St. John Brewers, a maker of beer, soda and energy drinks. He says he jumped at the chance to return to his family in Vermont when O’Brien found the Williston Road location.
Raftery emphasizes that their bistro places equal importance on food, drinks and service. The siblings have installed a brand-new bar, which they hope will make the Wooden Spoon a prime spot for the late-night, postconcert crowd.
Raftery calls the cuisine “American pub food,” and reels off menu items such as steak frites, Caesar salad and bruschetta with fresh corn, basil and tomatoes. Uncommon offerings include a grilled cheese sandwich with Vermont mozzarella, caramelized onions and pork tenderloin, and shrimp corn dogs. “I’ll put anything in corn-dog batter and fry it,” says Raftery.
Since the Wooden Spoon is a family-owned business, Raftery hopes that his bistro will fill a void for family-friendly dining in South Burlington. “We kind of bring something to that area that’s not there right now,” he says. “I think people will definitely appreciate it.”