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Retaking the Country

Side Dishes: Fairfax diner reopens

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Fairfax’s Country Pantry Diner may seem to have nine lives. Over its decades-long existence, it has opened and closed more times than residents can count. After its most recent hiatus, the diner reopened on September 27 with new owners who have spruced up the menu with daily specials, among them bacon-wrapped meatloaf, shrimp Alfredo, crabcake burgers, pulled pork over rice and chicken Carbonara.

The reimagined diner fare is the brainchild of co-owner and chef Ermin Jukic, who recently returned to Vermont after a dozen years running restaurants in Florida. When he and his colleague Nihad Basic discovered that the Country Pantry was for sale, they jumped on the opportunity.

“I kind of decided it was time to start something on my own,” says Jukic, who treks in early each day to make soups and bake fresh focaccia for the diner’s panini.

Late risers may be dismayed to hear that Country Pantry no longer serves breakfast all day. But if they show up before 11:30 a.m., they can still score omelettes, pancakes, French toast, waffles, eggs Benedict and hearty “house skillets” filled with breakfast goodies. Thursday nights bring stuffed lobster, while Friday is seafood night.

Located at 951 Main Street in Fairfax (849-0599), Country Pantry is closed Mondays and open for breakfast through dinner the rest of the week.

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