- File: Caleb Kenna
- V Smiley
V Smiley Preserves has bought Bristol Cliffs Café at 16 Main Street as the new home for her award-winning V Smiley business. It will also house Minifactory, her new coffee shop-eatery that will serve breakfast and lunch — and dinner, twice a week, initially — starting in February.
In June, Seven Days reported that V Smiley Preserves was planning to move its production to the first floor of Shacksbury Cider's Kennedy Brothers facility in Vergennes and open Minifactory there. The pandemic derailed that project when construction costs doubled. By the end of September, Smiley said, she had to walk away from the Vergennes space after she failed to secure additional bank loans on top of the $32,000 she had successfully crowdfunded.
Around the same time, Smiley learned that the bakery-café in Bristol was for sale. "It was a miracle in a certain sense," she said. Although, she added, "It's a different ball of wax to move into a legacy business."
The landmark Main Street bakery was known as Bristol Bakery & Café from the late 1970s until 2018, when it was purchased by longtime manager Celina Ellison. It is five doors down from Tandem, the commissary kitchen that Smiley shares with several other food and drink entrepreneurs.
For four years, Smiley said, she had been seeking a dedicated space to accommodate her fast-growing preserves business. "We were just out of bounds: taking more space, more hours and more stove-top space," she said.
When it opens, Minifactory will offer an all-day breakfast-and-lunch menu five days a week, plus a Sunday community supper and a Monday night "veg sesh" riff on meatless Mondays. The daytime menu will include freshly baked biscuits served with butter and preserves, labneh-ricotta whip or a six-minute egg; sweet and savory yogurt bowls; and salads.