The Main Item | Food News | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

Seven Days needs your support!

The Main Item 

Side Dishes: Church & Main makes progress

Published July 6, 2010 at 2:35 p.m.

Dave Sullivan and Ned Church inside Church & Main - MATTHEW THORSEN
  • Matthew Thorsen
  • Dave Sullivan and Ned Church inside Church & Main

Few new restaurants actually start cooking when the proprietors hope they will. So it comes as no great surprise that Church & Main — whose ambitious owners have taken over the old Smokejacks location — isn’t exactly on schedule.

The proprietors had planned to open in time for the Burlington Discover Jazz Festival, but early August now appears more likely. “We’ve had a number of different holdups and obstacles,” explains principal Ned Church. “But we’re now down to details and tying up loose ends.”

Managing partner Dave Sullivan says the restaurant’s plumbing and entire exhaust system needed to be pulled out and replaced, but the plus side is that now everything is sparkling and new. “We tore everything down to the studs. We retrofitted the whole place,” he says. Dishware, chairs and a few commissioned pieces of stained glass — made by Stephen Kemp, who also did work for Smokejacks — are on the way.

One thing that is ready is the menu. Dave Fonte, who was going to be Church & Main’s lead man in the kitchen, is off the team, but a new executive chef, former NECI instructor Benjamin Brezic, swiftly stepped up. Sullivan says the contemporary American fare will include yellowfin tuna tartare tacos, a crispy sweetbread scramble with local bacon and mushrooms, and fried chicken with savory herbed waffles.

Cheese, part of Smokejacks’ claim to fame, will play a starring role on Church & Main’s menu, too, and bananas Foster with homemade ice cream will be flambéed tableside.

Vegetarians won’t be left out. “The chef’s wife is actually a vegan,” Sullivan says. “So he’s got some great vegetarian dishes.” One is a cashew-crusted tofu “steak” with jasmine rice and coconut curry.

Sullivan, a certified sommelier, is planning a wine list 80 bottles strong, and says he means to keep the markup significantly lower than at other area eateries. “We’re going to be the most affordable place to enjoy fine wine in Vermont,” he boasts. Cristal Champagne — the rappers’ fave that typically goes for upward of $400 a bottle — will be available for around $260.

Want smaller quaffs? A wine preservation system that uses argon will allow Church & Main to serve fancy stuff — such as Silver Oak cabernet — by the glass: Those selections will range in price from $5 to $40. Hop heads will find a selection of five beers on tap.

With just a few weeks before their new projected opening date, the business partners say it feels like things are coming together.

“I’m confident that my vision will be realized,” says Church. “There are lots of unique and personal touches in terms of the menu and design.”

Sullivan agrees: “Every day a new piece of the puzzle falls into place.”

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

About The Author

Suzanne Podhaizer

Suzanne Podhaizer

Former contributor Suzanne Podhaizer is an award-winning food writer (and the first 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, butcher a pig, make ramen from scratch, and cook a scallop perfectly.

About the Artist

Matthew Thorsen

Matthew Thorsen

Matthew Thorsen was a photographer for Seven Days 1995-2018. Read all about his life and work here.


Comments are closed.

From 2014-2020, Seven Days allowed readers to comment on all stories posted on our website. While we've appreciated the suggestions and insights, right now Seven Days is prioritizing our core mission — producing high-quality, responsible local journalism — over moderating online debates between readers.

To criticize, correct or praise our reporting, please send us a letter to the editor or send us a tip. We’ll check it out and report the results.

Online comments may return when we have better tech tools for managing them. Thanks for reading.

Latest in Food News

Keep up with us Seven Days a week!

Sign up for our fun and informative

All content © 2023 Da Capo Publishing, Inc. 255 So. Champlain St. Ste. 5, Burlington, VT 05401

Advertising Policy  |  Privacy Policy  |  Contact Us  |  About Us  |  Help
Website powered by Foundation