Ever since Nunyuns opened on the corner of North and North Champlain streets the day before Thanksgiving in 2008, a question has loomed: "When the hell are they gonna take down the Scrumptious sign?" The ladylike little bakery closed half a decade ago, so why did the giant yellow teapot still preside over Nunyuns' earthier delights?
According to owner Paul Bonelli, the Burlington Department of Planning and Zoning was nervous about allowing him to remove the now historically significant, handpainted wood sign. "They declined the initial application," he says. A second plea was accepted with the stipulation that the new Nunyuns sign would be smaller, and therefore not project as far over the sidewalk.
This fall, Bonelli made a deal with local sculptor and Nunyuns regular, Kirk Williams. He would trade breakfasts and lunches for a metal placard. On Monday, Williams' handcrafted piece made its debut.
With the promise of Skeggs (potato skins stuffed with eggs and topped with all the fixings) and sandwiches, Bonelli persuaded the workers repairing fire damage across the street to help remove the old sign, replacing it with Williams' giant, old-timey toaster in its place.
Bonelli is currently in search of "a nice home" for the Scrumptious sign. The Vermont Historical Society has rejected it, and he's currently playing phone tag with Shelburne Farms. Bonelli is determined to place the sign, but admits that it might be a hard sell. "It's not something you can just throw at somebody," he says. "It's not an antique armoire."
For now, the Nunyuns owner can be satisfied knowing that his restaurant's giant toaster, already generating buzz, is sure to be a modern classic.