On Monday, April 3, food industry veteran Silvio Mazzella opened Jules on the Green at 1 Commonwealth Avenue in Essex Junction. The concept: serving folks with food allergies and intolerances ... and everybody else.
The café has 56 seats in the dining room and another 75 on the patio, with a banquet room in the works. "The brainchild is to have a nice alternative for those who have dietary restrictions," said Mazzella, who comes from a New York restaurant family. "For those who don't, it's just a great American menu."
That menu includes everything from Dutch baby pancakes to vegetable quinoa bowls to New York strip steaks. Pappardelle pomodoro, shrimp scampi and cannoli "dip" are nods to the boss' Italian heritage.
Everything is served all day, every day and clearly labeled as vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free or dairy-free. To ensure the accuracy of those labels, Mazzella said, he invested in equipment such as a separate gluten-free fryolator and toaster. The entire place — and every ingredient — is free of peanuts and tree nuts.
Why so strict? It's personal. Mazzella's daughter was born with a potentially deadly allergy to nuts. "She's never been able to do things we take for granted," he said. "Most people can go out and have a celebratory dinner and get a piece of cake with a candle ... For someone with an allergy, it becomes a fear."
For Vermonters who would otherwise be unable to visit a restaurant with confidence, Mazzella hopes that Jules — which also features local ingredients and a full bar — will become a safe haven.