Since Smokejacks closed in September 2008, Vermont foodies have been watching the restaurant’s former home with eagle eyes, hoping to see some sign of life. After rejecting numerous applications, building owner Larry Bohen has finally chosen the iconic restaurant’s replacement. Last Friday, he signed a lease with a trio of restaurateurs: principal Ned Church, David Fonte and David Sullivan.
Sometime in June, the trio will open a contemporary American restaurant called Church & Main. Their aim is to attract a diverse clientele. “I think the service is really what’s going to separate us from other restaurants,” Church suggests. “It’s going to be fine dining, but you can come in with sandals and a T-shirt and order a burger and you’ll get the same [treatment] as someone coming in and getting a five-course meal. Our vision is to cater to everyone, to offer an experience that can’t be matched.”
Fonte, who used to run the kitchen at the Basin Harbor Club and, says Church, opened an eatery for famous restaurateur Todd English, will be the executive chef. Fonte will make everything from comforting mac ’n’ cheese to upscale entrées, with an emphasis on fresh seafood and local ingredients. “We’ll really keep things changing,” says Church. “I like the element of surprise.”
Sullivan, former restaurant manager at The Inn at Shelburne Farms and food and beverage manager at The Pitcher Inn, will take care of the front of the house. The bar will feature creative cocktails and a boutique wine list. Both Fonte and Sullivan are certified sommeliers.
Says Bohen: “I think they’re incredible tenants … There’s been a vacuum since Smokejacks closed that these folks will fill.”