Last week, Winooski’s Pho Pasteur closed with little warning, leaving lovers of its fragrant pho somewhat stunned. They may be assuaged in a few weeks, though, when 38 Main Street opens as a new craft-beer spot, Mule Bar, designed by Scott Kerner and Wes Hamilton of Montpelier’s Three Penny Taproom and Joey Nagy of the Mad Taco.
“We’ve been waiting to get into Winooski for a long time,” Kerner says. “This feels like a city with a great vibe.” The spot should be open by May 1, he notes.
Mule Bar will have 49 seats — including 16 outside — and an airy feel, or what contractor Eyrich Stauffer of Stauffer Woodworking (also a partner in the venture) calls “Danish modern saloon.”
Manning the kitchen will be Jean-Luc Matecat, former chef at Amuse at the Essex Resort & Spa and another partner in the venture. Matecat is busy planning a “local, ever-changing” menu, he says, and has started seedlings for the restaurant’s future garden, which will be up the street.
The opening menu displays an array of gastropub fare, including beer-battered haddock cheeks and chips; rabbit fricassee with ricotta dumplings; beef-cheek tartine with blue-cheese fondue; and a po’boy with fried Wellfleet oysters. “We’re putting a huge amount of focus on our charcuterie-and-cheese program,” Matecat says, and the kitchen will roll out tons of fresh seafood.
Expect 16 draft lines and a “succinct” cocktail and wine list at the bar, Kerner says. When it comes to beers, he isn’t yet naming names, but the evidence suggests Mule Bar’s selection may be remarkably similar to Three Penny’s — at least in concept. “What we’ve found is a formula that works,” Kerner says.
Mule Bar will be open seven days a week for lunch and dinner, with brunch on Sundays.