There were setbacks even before Burlington's Church & Main opened in October. When the proprietors first announced they had bought the space previously occupied by Smokejacks, they planned to open in time for the Burlington Discover Jazz Festival in June. Before long, the team realized the restaurant’s plumbing and exhaust system needed to be replaced before they could serve the public. In the meantime, the chef originally attached to the project, Dave Fonte, parted ways with Church & Main in favor of 156 Bistro. He was replaced by versatile former NECI instructor Benjamin Brezic.
Now another key member of Church & Main's staff is gone. Opening co-owner Dave Sullivan is co-owner no more. According to the certified sommelier and former general manager, "My partner and I had some philosophical-type differences, and he opted to buy me out." The now-sole proprietor, restaurant newbie Ned Church, could not be reached for comment.
It's not all doom and gloom at the busy restaurant.
A snazzy new winter menu premiered this week, showcasing braised meats and a whole new roster of desserts. Small plates include "Bacon & Eggs," crispy pork belly with quail eggs; homemade pork pâté; beef short ribs with polenta homefries and grilled scallion aioli. Fans of existing dishes will have new ways to enjoy them, too. The popular lobster risotto is now available as a large plate with a butter-poached lobster tail. The bacon-bourbon gravy that tops the chicken and waffles can also be found over poutine with local cheese curds.
The entire dessert menu has been revamped. Instead of bananas Foster, diners will find chocolate cake with a molten salted caramel center; profiteroles with vanilla ice cream; and apple-almond crostata. Sounds like the sweet life goes on.