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Crumbs: Mule Bar Opens Thursday; ArtsRiot Plans Burlington Café; Vermont-Made Bourbon 

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Dry-aged steak frites. Battered monkfish cheeks with chips. Chef Jean-Luc Matecat will be spinning some serious victuals when Mule Bar opens on Thursday at 38 Main Street in Winooski.

The spot will open on schedule after a fevered renovation led by woodworker Eyrich Stauffer. The promptness befits a crew of guys used to opening restaurants: Partners Scott Kerner, Joey Nagy and Wes Hamilton have at least four eateries among them, including Montpelier’s Three Penny Taproom and three Mad Tacos.

Nagy is mum on what exactly will issue from Mule Bar’s 15 taps. “We want to surprise everyone,” he says. One thing is for sure, though: There will be a ginger beer from Dave Rooke, creator of Rookie’s Root Beer.

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They have their hands full with the South End Food TruckStop, but ArtsRiot’s PJ McHenry and Felix Wai are also busy chipping away at floors and transforming 400 Pine Street into a new gallery/café.

Come July, the former Fresh Market will reopen as an event and gallery space, as well as a 14-seat café with Chinese/Asian fare cooked by chef Richard Witting.

Wai says the partners thought hard on “what Burlington was missing,” and decided that it included noodles, dumplings and creative Chinese dishes. “It’s food that has more diversity than people realize,” says Wai, who has family in Hong Kong. “[Noodles] are something I crave all of the time.”

The still-unnamed café will focus on lunch, Wai says, and the kitchen will source local ingredients whenever possible. However, accessibility will be ArtsRiot’s holy grail. “If someone wants to spend $3, we’ll have something for them,” says McHenry.

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We may be a thousand miles from Kentucky, but Vermont is about to gain its first-ever bourbon, from Smugglers’ Notch Distillery in Jeffersonville.

Co-owner Jeremy Elliott says the distillery’s Straight Bourbon Whiskey will be available in the tasting room starting this Saturday, but it may go fast — he’s taking reservations on the first batch of 200 bottles.

The 100 percent rye whisky was aged for six months in “new charred white oak,” Elliott says, and should be available in state liquor stores by

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About The Author

Corin Hirsch

Corin Hirsch

Bio:
Food writer Corin Hirsch joined the Seven Days staff in 2011. She is the author of Forgotten Drinks of Colonial New England, published by History Press in 2014.

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