Pin It

Resetting the Table 

Side Dishes: Eateries move from shock to recovery

click to enlarge The Pitcher Inn after flooding
  • The Pitcher Inn after flooding

It’s been just a few weeks since Irene pummeled Vermont, but the progress made by the state’s scrappy restaurateurs (among others) is awe inspiring. Formerly flooded eateries everywhere have reopened, though some phone lines are still down and updates come via Facebook and blogs.

In hard-hit Waterbury, Arvad’s Grill & Pub and the Reservoir reopened within four days. The owners of the Alchemist Pub & Brewery, whose main floor was waist deep in water, plan to reopen in December; their cannery and tasting room on Crossroad opened five days after Irene, bang on schedule.

A number of Waterbury’s food businesses were working feverishly to get operations back up. The Vermont Peanut Butter Company manufacturing plant on Commercial Drive was ruined by more than three feet of water and mud, but owner Christopher Kaiser asserted it would be back in production “within a month.”

The offices of Vermont Artisan Coffee & Tea Company met a similar fate — hip-deep water wiped out the company’s inventory. The roasters still work, though, and the company is filling custom orders as it works toward full recovery.

In Waitsfield, American Flatbread at Lareau Farm opened five days following the flood, after a tide of volunteers accelerated its cleanup. On more devastated Bridge Street, the Green Cup and MINT Restaurant and Tea Lounge were still gutting and considering their futures.

Down at Warren’s Pitcher Inn — where the entire basement tavern, Tracks, was submerged, and staff kayaked out a few cases of wine — rebuilding was proceeding hot and heavy one week after the flood, with a target reopening date of September 16 for the restaurant and October for the tavern. Still, as tens of thousands of dollars of undrinkable wine sat on the terrace — from a cellar that took 14 years to build — manager and sommelier Ari Sadri kept the situation in perspective. “What we lost is just stuff,” he said, adding that the staff was overwhelmed by volunteers after the storm. “If I had to go through another natural disaster, I would choose to be in this community.”

Montpelier’s Kismet and That’s Life Soup have reopened. In Quechee, Simon Pearce Restaurant lost its prep kitchen (and glassblowing studio) but was “charging ahead” toward service within the next week or two, according to Ross Evans, director of marketing. Neighboring Parker House Inn and Restaurant was substantially damaged but had reopened as of press time after a herculean cleanup; nearby Shepard’s Pie on the Green was planning to open by the end of this week. Businesses in Woodstock and Killington — the Woodstock Farmers Market and Woodstock Inn and Resort among them — remained closed.

In White River Junction, Mel’s Gourmet World Cuisine — also known as Taste of Africa — had recently expanded its kitchen on Bridge Street to accommodate new contracts. A few days later, owners Mel and Damaris Hall watched in horror as the White River flooded in. Within 10 days, they found a new space on Pine Street. Volunteers worked to get it open in a compressed time frame, a mission Mel Hall dubs “Kitchen Impossible.”

For periodic updates on benefits for Vermont’s farmers and eateries, check Blurt, the Seven Days staff blog.

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

Pin It

About The Author

Corin Hirsch

Corin Hirsch

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.


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

What are you MOST interested in learning more about?

  • Food-related events, festivals and other gatherings
  • Bars and restaurants — where should I eat out?
  • Farms and agriculture — what's up with the people producing our food?
  • Issues: What are the social, environmental and economic impacts of my food choices?
  • How to cook better meals at home

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