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Tres Amigos and Rusty Nail Music Venue Close in Stowe

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Published November 3, 2021 at 6:20 p.m.


Tres Amigos - FILE: JEB WALLACE-BRODEUR
  • File: Jeb Wallace-Brodeur
  • Tres Amigos
Mark Frier, co-owner of Tres Amigos on the Mountain Road in Stowe, confirmed that the restaurant and its associated Rusty Nail Stage music venue have closed permanently as of October 29.

The closure was a result of the pandemic, Frier acknowledged in a phone interview. The Mexican restaurant was doing OK despite tight staffing and increased costs, he said. However, the music venue has remained shuttered since a sold-out Kat Wright show on March 6, 2020, bringing in zero revenue in 19 months to help pay overhead on the 10,000-square-foot building.

The decision to close was also precipitated by a purchase offer for the building. Frier said he is not at liberty to disclose any details of the pending deal, including how the new owners plan to use the space.
Tres Amigos opened in September 2017 as the restaurant side of the Rusty Nail, a landmark music club dating back to 1969. In its heyday, the Rusty Nail hosted legends such as Lynyrd Skynyrd and Muddy Waters. In recent years it's been a destination for national and regional touring acts.



Even as Vermont performing arts venues have gradually reopened, Frier said it felt too challenging to book acts several months out amidst continued uncertainty around the Delta variant. "For it to be profitable, we have to fill it shoulder to shoulder," Frier said of the 300-person capacity club.

He added that he would want to follow the lead of many venues and require proof of vaccination, but that the contiguous restaurant would not require the same, creating a management issue.

"The stress of this whole crisis has been a lot for everyone," Frier said.

Frier and his business partner, Chad Fry, still own the Bench in Stowe and the Reservoir Restaurant & Taproom in Waterbury. Scaling back allows them to refocus and get back some quality of life for themselves and their staff, Frier said. He noted that most of the 20 to 25 Tres Amigos employees will move to jobs at the pair's other two restaurants.