- Courtesy Of Lauren Mazzotta
- V Smiley at her new Vergennes location
This fall, V Smiley will move her eponymous honey-sweetened fruit-preserves company from Bristol to the Kennedy Brothers complex in Vergennes. Her new V Smiley Preserves production space, Minifactory, will also have a restaurant.
Diners will walk past the open kitchen to reach the seating area, Smiley said. "They will smell the strawberries and apricots, see the copper [pans]."
Her award-winning preserves, sold through specialty stores around the U.S., come in unexpected combinations such as raspberry, red-currant and geranium jam, and tomato jam with three kinds of chile peppers.
Smiley is subletting the 3,400-square-foot first-floor space from Shacksbury Cider, which has moved its production across the street. Shacksbury will reopen its tasting room on the floor above Minifactory in spring 2022.
V Smiley Preserves launched in 2013 in Seattle, where Smiley cooked at two highly regarded restaurants, the Whale Wins and Sitka & Spruce. She and her partner moved back to Smiley's hometown of New Haven in 2015.
"I've always wanted to open a restaurant," Smiley said. Sharing overhead costs with her established business "is the safest way possible" to accomplish her goal. Some of her financing comes from a crowdfunding campaign that exceeded its target of $17,000 within its first 10 days.
The small storefront at the entrance of Minifactory will sell coffee, pastries and grocery items for cheeseboards and picnics. The restaurant will be open Thursday through Sunday for seated breakfast and lunch, and Friday and Saturday for dinner.
Freshly baked biscuits will be paired with butter and preserves, labneh-ricotta whip or a six-minute egg. Other menu items will include sweet and savory yogurt bowls, a "big-ass salad," and main dishes such as roasted chicken with crispy cauliflower, remoulade and pickled gooseberries or whey-cooked beans with kale, creamed mushrooms and curry peppers.