Friday, February 8, 2019

Opening & Closing & Etc. (New England edition)

• A roundup of the latest news of people, places, and products on the food-and-beverage scenes in Vermont and in the Berkshires of Massachusetts.


The Lantern Bar & Grill, a long-popular Pittsfield, MA, neighborhood spot that closed in August of 2017, has reopened under new management. The long, narrow venue, located at 455 North Street, was founded in 1926, the same year the first public demonstration of a television set was unveiled, the first trans-Atlantic phone call was made, and author Sinclair Lewis was awarded, but refused, the Pulitzer Prize for Literature. It now is operated by Bjorn Somlo, chef-owner of the downtown Lenox, MA, restaurant Nudel. Then-owner Mark Papas closed The Lantern after issues with the fire department over sprinkler system disagreements.

Perky Planet, a new coffee shop started by Richard Vaughn on St. Paul Street in Burlington, VT, has a different slant on business. His goal is a “social revolution” by hiring staff consisting largely of people with disabilities.Vaughn, 58, says he worked for 17 years for a software company specializing in the food-service, hospitality, and health care industries. As he said in an interview with the Burlington Free Press, five years ago a medical condition paralyzed him and he had to quit his job and relearn how to walk. Last summer, he and his family were in a coffee shop in Wilmington, NC, run by people with intellectual and developmental disabilities. It gave them the idea of following suit. (You can read their whole story here.) Perky Planet is located at St. Paul and King streets. Hours: 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Phone: 802-752-7670.

• Chef-restaurateur Matt Tatro's latest venture, Tres Niños Taqueria, made its debut Thursday in North Adams, MA, near his Italian eatery Grazie at 26 Marshall Street. It accommodates eat-in seating for 20 to 25 people while emphasizing taco and burrito takeout meals.The venue was the longtime home of Brewhaha Cafe, which moved to 437 West Main Street last year, and was occupied by the short-lived Bowlin' on the River. Tatro launched Grazie in 2016, and added the Tres Niños food truck last year. Tres Niños is located at 20 Marshall Street. Hours: 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Phone: 413-884-2137.

Over the Wall, an upscale tequila bar, is set to open Monday, February 18, in Stowe, VT, specializing in small plates and craft cocktails. It is a venture of Stowe entrepreneurs Kim Kaufman and Jimmy Goldsmith who also own the Blue Donkey a half-mile down Mountain Road and the casual and family-friendly 10 Railroad Street and Railroad Cafe in Morrisville. The new venue is a totally renovated space that formerly housed the Cactus Café. Many of the interior appointments are from a local unsalvageable 1830s farmhouse on the couple's 500-acre property in Worcester. Longtime Sunset Grille & Tap Room barkeep Otis Helfrich is curating an extensive collection of tequilas, mezcals, and Japanese whiskeys. The head chef is Max Vogel, formerly a sous chef at the upscale Edson Hill. Over the Wall is located at 2160 Mountain Road. Phone: 802-999-7398.


Drafts N Crafts, which opened just nine months ago in the former Mister Sister bar in Winooski, VT, will be closing soon, according to an announcement on its Facebook page. The "crafts" angle was that the pub allowed people to make items such as bottle openers, wine holders, and decorative boxes while enjoying a drink. The last day of business will be Saturday, February 23. Until then, hours are 3 to 8 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday. Drafts N Crafts, located at 45 Main Street, is owned by siblings Amy Pelkey and Steve Roberge. Phone: 802-448-3468.

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