Nutty News | Food News | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice
Pin It

Nutty News 

Side Dishes: Raising the bar in Middlesex

  • Jeb Wallace-Brodeur
  • Jaquelyn Rieke

Until recently, the town of Middlesex didn’t have a single place to buy a drink. So when Jaquelyn Rieke, owner of Nutty Steph’s granola and chocolate company, applied for a license to sell beer and wine, the local liquor control commission fast-tracked the application. “The town happily approved my request about four hours after I gave them the paperwork,” she says. “Then I got the state’s approval.”

Rieke’s shop, which shares a building with Red Hen Baking Co. on Route 2, used to be dedicated to the sale of bulk breakfast cereal and chocolate confections, ranging from housemade candy bars to dipped fruits and cookies. Now she also offers meads from Honey Gardens apiaries, a selection of organic wines and 20 craft brews, plus housemade orange cream soda and ice cream floats made with chocolate stout.

The combo of sweet treats for the kiddies and alcohol for the grownups is common in Europe. “I want to institute more daytime drinking in America,” Rieke says. “I think it’s a very civilized practice, but people often express shame at the mention of it.” Want some high-test Belgian Delirium Tremens at 10 a.m. on Tuesday? You got it.

On Thursday evenings from 5 p.m. to midnight, Rieke has a bierhaus-appropriate theme: meat. That’s when a ragtime pianist shows up to play, and cured pork belly greases — um, graces — the menu.

“There’s a full bacon menu, around five varieties at a time,” Rieke says. Some patrons go for the $2 Hormel plate, while others fork over a premium for high-end local bacon. There’s also a sampler option, and you can order the pork any way you want, from “extra crispy” to “undercooked.” A truly decadent choice: the cup of melted chocolate for dipping.

For those who prefer the sweet without the meat, chocolate fondue can be applied to bread, guava paste, pretzels, strawberries and pineapple at $1 each. For $14, Rieke gives you 14 dark chocolates plus a drink.

Who’s sampling Nutty Steph’s fare? So far it’s mostly central Vermonters, says Rieke: “There’s a Middlesex crew. This is the first bar they’ve had as a gathering point.” A “good contingent of folks from Waterbury and Montpelier” shows up to welcome the weekend, too.

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.

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 © 2017 Da Capo Publishing, Inc. 255 So. Champlain St. Ste. 5, Burlington, VT 05401
Website powered by Foundation