Since AJ’s Country Pantry in Fairfax closed last December, hungry Franklin County residents have been waiting to see who would take over the space. Now they know. Within the next few days, John Foley, who owns 158 Main Restaurant & Bakery in Jeffersonville, will reopen the spot as Vermont Breakfast Company.
“I was looking to expand my business … And then, by chance, I stopped in here [at AJ’s] on the day they closed,” Foley recalls.
His planned menu will be huge, with five pages per meal. Breakfast will feature eight Benedicts, including a luxe crab-cake version. Dinnertime will bring a mix of homey items, such as meatloaf and beef stew, and fancier dishes such as pan-seared scallops with bacon, leeks, potatoes and corn in a lobster-cream broth. Beer, wine and spirits will be available, too.
The Country Pantry was a famous bargain. Foley guesses that his locally sourced, made-from-scratch fare will cost a bit more. “For dinner, we’re trying to keep the menu to around $15 per plate,” he says. “Our two-egg basic [breakfast] with homemade bread is $3.50.” So far, the response Foley’s seen in the community has convinced him he’s doing the right thing. “Thousands of people have come in here and wished us good luck,” he says.
Ultimately, Foley hopes to “serialize” the Vermont Breakfast Company concept. “I’d like to put one in Burlington and one in Montpelier,” he says. Hear that, Farmers Diner?