Fans of the Lemon Peel Café & Crêperie in Shelburne may have been surprised to find it closed last week. They can expect to see it open next month under new ownership — and with a meaty twist.
Rob Scharf started the crêpe business with wife, Hilary, as a stand at the Shelburne Farmers Market six years ago. “It was always in our mind that it was something we’d just try for a year or two,” he says of the café, which opened last November. While it was a success, Scharf continues, the family eventually “decided we’re just doing too many things.” The couple will continue to sell their French- and Irish-inflected crêpes at the farmers market.
Meanwhile, as soon as the first weekend in October, new owner Mike Orfan will reopen the Lemon Peel. Currently chef de cuisine at Rat’s Restaurant in Hamilton, N.J., Orfan says he’s been hoping to move to Vermont, where he appreciates both the slower pace and the local products.
While Orfan will initially stick with what Lemon Peel customers know, he says, he’ll slowly begin injecting his personal passion into the menu: charcuterie. “I’ll kind of make like a charcuterie shop with breakfast and lunch — bacons and salamis and artisanal, classic work,” says the chef-owner, who is funding the project sans investors.
Orfan says his specialty is pastrami, but other offerings will include pâtés, and breakfast and smoked sausages. “It’s something I’m just going to change on a whim,” he says.
After he gets a feel for the space with a couple of weekend-only openings, Orfan says, he’ll serve breakfast and lunch five days a week by mid-October. Besides his Gallic-inflected daytime meals, the chef hopes to begin serving monthly, reservation-only upscale dinners. “Very fine-dining French, affordable, but with a lot of heavy technique, heavily based on the seasons and local products,” he elaborates.
Eventually, the new restaurant will get a new name, too, but for now Orfan will stick with the Lemon Peel. “I’m excited to meet the community and get involved with small farms and wineries and school programs,” the chef says. “I’d like to be really active in that