The success of the Firebird Café, a staple on Pearl Street in Essex Junction since 2009, encouraged owner Jake Tran to think about expansion. Word on the street was that a downtown café was sorely needed, he recalled, and Tran had the necessary expertise; a few years earlier, he'd taken a course in California on roasting and cupping coffee. So, when 17 Main Street became available, he jumped.
Tran equipped the spot with a Diedrich roaster and began sourcing beans from Hacienda La Minita in Hinesburg. In late May, several months after the planned opening date, he welcomed his first customers to Nest Coffee & Bakery.
There, the pastries are made by New England Culinary Institute grad and Chef's Corner Café and Bakery alum Barbara Nedd. "She does scones, and her scones are exquisitely moist," Tran raved. The quiche and espresso cookies are also big sellers, he said; all make good companions to his medium-roast coffee.
But Tran may be most excited about a concoction called the Nest. "Any restaurant has to have a signature," he said. Nest's is "an egg sandwich in the form of a muffin," with the muffin batter laced with Firebird's homemade chorizo, an egg tucked inside and the whole thing topped off with cheddar.
The 20ish-seat spot, open every day but Monday, sports a long communal table, built by Tran, and comfy couches. Much of the wooden furniture has a live edge, and the spot has a bit of a steampunk feel, Tran reported.
How does the vibe compare with that of the small and bustling Firebird? Said Tran: "Nest is bigger and more airy, so you can really spread your wings."