Monday, November 5, 2018

Opening & Closing & Etc. (New England edition)

• The latest reports from the Greater Capital Region on restaurants and food vendor openings, closings and transitions, as well as occasional entries from Vermont, the Berkshires, and the Catskills.
 

OPENING

Sorriso Pizzeria and Bar has been putting the finishing touches on its new venue in Burlington, VT, where Tavern II, the spinoff of the Church Street Tavern that opened on Shelburne Road early last year, recently closed. Amir Jusufagic, owner of the new 80-seat Italian restaurant, tells me, "We’re shooting for the 16th of this month. A couple more hurdles to go." Sorriso -- Italian for "smile" -- will focus on thematic nights such as “Sinatra Sunday” with old-school background music. Jusufagic and business partner Sani Pasagic recently converted the former Junior’s Downtown location on Main Street in Burlington into Piesanos, a 30-seat pizzeria.

CLOSING 

• PGHC Holdings, which owns the Papa Gino's pizza parlor and D'Angelo sandwich shop chains, today announced it is closing, or has closed, about 95 locations throughout New England as it filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection and reached an agreement to sell the business. In many cases, according to local news media reports, the announcement came a day after employees showed up for work only to find the restaurants closed without notice or explanation. The company, based in Dedham, MA, said in a statement it had reached an "agreement in principle" to sell to Wynnchurch Capital, a private equity firm based in Rosemont,  IL. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed. The company said 178 Papa Gino's and D'Angelo locations remain open. PGHC has operated D'Angelo and Papa Gino's venues in Lee, MA, and Papa Gino's venues in Pittsfield and North Adams.

DEVELOPING

• The deadline for vendor applications is November 15 for the first Arlington Village (VT) Winter Farmers' Market, a followup to the successful six-week summer farmer's market organized by the Arlington Area Renewal Project. The five-week market will be held on Fridays from 4 to 7 p.m. beginning November 23 at Bailey Hall at the Federated Church of East Arlington, 102 Ice Pond Road. The last winter market will be held December 21. In addition to hosting vendors offering produce, baked goods, and other items, the market will feature local choral groups and musicians providing holiday music. Community organizations are being invited to staff the market's coffee shop which acts as a fundraising activity for organizations through selling coffee, cocoa, and sweet treats. Interested vendors can request an application by e-mailing farmersmarket@arlington-vermont.com. The fee is $50 for the five-week market, and tables and chairs are included. Vendor fees benefit the Federated Church of East Arlington.

• Windham Grows, a food business accelerator, is starting a new monthly event called Community Table River Valley. It is described as a gathering of food entrepreneurs and people interested in becoming involved in the food business. The first meeting will take place from noon to 1:30 p.m. Thursday, November 15, at Strolling of the Heifers in the River Garden building, 157 Main Street, Brattleboro, VT. While no advance registration is required for the meetings, anyonre wishing to be put on a meeting contact list may RSVP by e-mail to windhamgrows@gmail.com. The Community Table movement began at Babson College in Wellesley, MA, and periodic meetings are held there as well as in Portland, ME, Boston, and New York City.

SELLING

• Emily and Sean Mitchell are in the process of purchasing a 2.5-acre farm that is a popular supplier of tomatoes, peppers, microgreens, and other specialty food items to restaurants and consumers in the Burlington, VT, market. The Mitchells -- she is the market manager at the Burlington Farmers' Market, he is a sous chef at Hen of the Woods restaurant in Burlington -- are buying the Half Pint Farm at the Intervale Center from founders Mara and Spencer Welton who have operated it for 15 years. Emily has worked at the farm for three years. Half Pint supplies about 30 restaurants in the area, including Hen of the Woods.


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