The corner of St. Paul and Main streets in Burlington will be reanimated come Friday, when Esperanto opens in the former Souza’s Brazilian Steakhouse space at 131 Main Street.
Will Pouch cofounded the original Esperanto 17 years ago in Saratoga Springs, N.Y. He’s imported many of the eatery’s hallmarks to Burlington, including late-night hours and street food from around the globe. The signature Dough-Boy — diced chicken breast and melted cheese baked in pizza dough — will anchor a grab-and-go hot display that’s also stocked with twice-baked potatoes, chimichangas and Dough “cousins” filled with a rotating roster of local produce. (Pouch says American Flatbread’s Rob Downey, an old friend, is hooking him up with local producers for meat, cheese and veggies.)
A wide range of dishes, from quesadillas and tacos to gyros, jambalaya, and Thai chicken curry, round out the menu, and a daily specials board will be heavy on vegetarian plates, such as curried-lentil-and-tofu stew.
Decked out with artwork from muralist Alexis Herzog, Esperanto will be open daily from lunchtime to the late-night hours.
This Thursday, singer-songwriter (and Middlebury College alum) Anaïs Mitchell will kick off her Vermont Barnstorming Tour at the Inn at Baldwin Creek in Bristol. It’s the first of four successive nights when Mitchell will perform in working barns across Vermont — other venues include Rockingham Hill Farm in Bellows Falls, Pete’s Greens in Craftsbury and Burlington’s Intervale Community Barn. Each performance will feature a farm-to-table dinner, with a portion of the proceeds benefiting the Vermont Local Food and Farms Fund. (The Inn at Baldwin Creek will serve curried-pumpkin soup, venison chili and other autumnal dishes.) For more information, visit highergroundmusic.com.