- File: Matthew Thorsen
- Misery Loves Co.
Even before farm-to-table dining went mainstream, restaurateurs and other service-industry types were experimenting with ways to make the format perform financially. Solutions have ranged from commingled farm and restaurant business models to co-op restaurants.
Last week, Winooski's Misery Loves Co. launched a community-supported model with its Patron of Misery — POM, for short — membership program. Similar to a gift certificate with dividends, the concept is simple: Invest $500 or more, and MLC will give it back to you dollar for dollar, plus a 15 to 20 percent return, each time you eat there. As a bonus, the restaurant will throw a couple of special members-only parties each year.
Granted, the program is best suited to regulars and those who often dine in large groups. "We have a lot of people who come in consistently," co-owner Laura Wade tells Seven Days, "and it just gives them a little incentive." And, she adds, "It helps get us through our super-lean, sensitive time."
For Misery fans, the only question is: When to call it in? In addition to its usual Sunday meal, the restaurant just launched Saturday brunch service.