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Bar Back 

Side Dishes: The “Antidote” to a boring night?

After closing in late April in its original location on the corner of Main and Green streets, Bar Antidote in Vergennes has reopened in a larger spot down the road. Thanks to lots of help from friends and family in the community, says owner Harper Michaels, “It’s a completely renovated space.”

With the capacity to serve about 60 customers and a plan to develop a beer garden in the backyard, it was logical to expand the hours and the fare. “We saw a lot of wiggle room in Vergennes where we could fit in,” Michaels explains. Along with snacky late-night eats and his signature cocktails — such as lychee martinis, Cosmos and a lemon-vodka drink called “The Daisy” — the spot offers lunch and dinner every day but Tuesday. “We’re serving a full menu, creative American pub fare,” Michaels says. “We’re trying to keep it inexpensive and imaginative at the same time.”

To that end, he hired Ian Huizenga, former executive chef of the Storm Café in Middlebury, to run the kitchen. Originally from Monkton, Huizenga took jobs “up and down the Eastern seaboard” before settling down to cook in his own community. He hopes to “get people going out and eating again” with fresh versions of classic dishes along with a few of his own creations. The current menu, which will be expanding soon, includes wings, fries and a burger, plus steak frites with a cherry-bourbon glaze and slow-roasted ribs in house-made barbecue sauce.

“I’m trying to keep things creative, lively and fun,” Huizenga says, noting that once the dust has settled he’ll offer some exciting specials and start whipping up weekend brunch. The ultimate goal: “We’re trying to make it a community center for the Vergennes community and the area.”

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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


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