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Scuffer Do-Over

Side Dishes: Bones and beer reign at new "steak & ale" joint

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The Rusty Scuffer, a homey Church Street mainstay, will re-open this week as The Scuffer Steak & Ale House. "If everything goes as planned, Wednesday will be the day, says new owner Mike Williams, who also owns Kountry Kart Deli. "If it's closed, it means that Mike ran into another glitch."

Williams believes that the new menu will please long-term Scuffer aficionados and foodies alike. "I think people will be pleasantly surprised," he opines. What'll they have to eat? Lots of pasta, a "very large seafood selection" and mucho meat. Carnivore entrées will include a 24-ounce bone-in rib eye and, on Friday and Saturday, prime rib.

There'll be "more vegetarian options" than before, but the restaurant's signature app won't be one of 'em. It's a Greek pita brushed with garlic and olive oil and topped with cheddar, bleu cheese, caramelized onions and strips of filet mignon.

The full dinner menu will be available until 11. Thereafter, a smaller pub menu will sate folks who want to sop up their ale, flowing from 15 different taps. "The lowest two are Michelob Light and Labatt," Williams reports, "but everything else is a microbrew." Also on draft: locally brewed Rookie's Root Beer.

In addition to the menu makeover, Williams has made physical improvements to the place. He reports a more open floor plan, refinished wood floors and porcelain tiles in place of worn-out carpets. Even the ladies' room got spruced up. The gents' wasn't as lucky: "It's the only thing we didn't touch in the whole place," admits Williams.

Two other things won't change, either. First is the Scuffer's deal with the UVM b-ball teams. "We feed players three hours before all home games," says Williams. "We're keeping the tradition alive." Each time, a few of Vermont's tallest get to sit in "the Coach's corner," where Tom Brennan used to hold court. It now features a "nice booth and a TV," one of five high-definition screens in the place.

The second Rusty Scuffer constant? "We'll continue to favor the Red Sox," Williams vows, "but we'll still serve Yankees fans."

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