- Emily Etesse of Emily's Bar & Bistro
After more than 35 years in the restaurant and bar business, Emily Etesse is applying all she's learned to her new Emily's Bar & Bistro in Waitsfield's Village Square Shopping Center. The casual, full-service spot opened on January 18 with a small menu of comfort food — "a local's local bar," in Etesse's words.
Emily's took over the space at 5081 Main Street most recently occupied by Stoke Ramen Bar, which closed in December 2021. Etesse, 51, said she plans to do everything herself: tend bar, cook and serve. "I wouldn't call myself a chef," she said. "I'm a one-woman show."
Etesse's restaurant career started when she was 14 in her hometown of Saratoga Springs, N.Y. She has since worked in the hospitality industry from Burlington to Lake Tahoe to Baja California, Mexico. She moved to the Mad River Valley in 2000 and raised her two sons there, working for about a decade as a lead bartender at Sugarbush Resort.
Food offerings at Emily's include clam chowder, shrimp ceviche and Wagyu beef pigs in a blanket. "I don't care what I serve as long as I serve pigs in a blanket," Etesse said with a laugh. She also offers one "big dish" daily, such as lasagna or goulash.
Emily's is open Friday through Tuesday from 11:30 a.m. until close of the bar; food is served until 5:30 p.m. Don't expect fancy specialty cocktails; do expect cold cans of Lawson's Finest Liquids, handed over with a warm smile from the owner.
"My specialty is guest experience," Etesse said. "This was my dream."