Pin It

Missing Mexican 

South-of-the-Border Cuisine Goes Way South

La Carreta, Rosita's and El Mariachi are gone. Miguel's Stowe Away in Burlington lasted less than a year. Then, on April 7, the long-lived Miguel's Stowe Away Lodge in Stowe - family-owned for 30 years - closed its puertas. What's troubling Latin and Tex-Mex restaurants in Vermont?

Miguel's proprietors couldn't be reached for comment, but other area business owners have some ideas. Monique Duckworth, who owns Stowe's 15-year-old Cactus Café - the town's only remaining Mexican restaurant - doesn't think "Mexican is going passé, or anything like that." What's the problem? The economic climate in general, she suggests. "It's getting harder and harder for small businesses to make a living in Vermont with this whole Catamount Health Insurance, proposed 1 percent tax on fuel and propane . . ."

Valerie Rochon of the Stowe Area Association agrees. "The businesses in Stowe are being absolutely strangled," she complains. "How much more serious does it have to get . . . before the legislature does something about it?"

Rochon notes that in addition to skyrocketing property taxes and rising utility bills, the weather also plays a role. "God has a little bit to do with our marketing efforts. When your bottom line is iffy and your revenue is somewhat sporadic because of poor weather . . . you go out of business . . . The fact that any [restaurants] are still open is a testament to their will power and their business management skills."

Is Duckworth concerned about her café's future? Although it makes her nervous to be the "only game in town," she professes to be hopeful. "When we first started, it was really hard . . . but we keep up with everybody else now." Also, she's confident about the "word-of-mouth recognition" she's gained with locals. Another plus: "There's really something on the menu for everyone," Duckworth points out. "And we have a really tight staff - like family."

Got something to say? Send a letter to the editor and we'll publish your feedback in print!

Pin It

More by Suzanne Podhaizer

About The Author

Suzanne Podhaizer

Suzanne Podhaizer

Contributor Suzanne Podhaizer is an award-winning food writer (and the former Seven Days food editor) as well as a chef, farmer, and food-systems consultant. She has given talks at the Stone Barns Center for Agriculture's "Poultry School" and its flagship "Young Farmers' Conference." She can slaughter a goose,... more


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Seven Days moderates comments in order to ensure a civil environment. Please treat the comments section as you would a town meeting, dinner party or classroom discussion. In other words, keep commenting classy! Read our guidelines...

Note: Comments are limited to 300 words.

foodie poll

How do you feel about eating GMO foods?

  • I don't understand what the fuss is about. I eat them and I'm fine.
  • As long as they're FDA-approved, I don't mind consuming them.
  • GMOs are in most staple foods, so I'm resigned to eating them.
  • I wish they were labeled so I could make informed choices about when to eat them.
  • I'm concerned about potential long-term health effects of consuming GMOs, which haven't yet been studied.

View Results

Latest in Food News

Recent Comments

Social Club

Like Seven Days contests and events? Join the club!

See an example of this newsletter...

Keep up with us Seven Days a week!

Sign up for our fun and informative

All content © 2016 Da Capo Publishing, Inc. 255 So Champlain St Ste 5, Burlington, VT 05401
Website powered by Foundation