- 28 North Main Street, St. Albans, VT, 05478
(Published in 7 Nights 2004-5)
There are two clocks on the wall behind the polished black granite bar at Chow! Bella. The one marked "St. Albans" is 17 minutes ahead of the one marked "Burlington."
"It's our boss' idea of a joke," the bartender explains. "She says that since we opened this place, Burlington is behind the times."
That's a proud statement coming from a Rail City restaurateur, but chef-owner Connie Jacobs-Warden has reason to boast after a successful expansion tripled the capacity of her versatile Italian eatery. With white tablecloths and mirrors, the new Chow! Bella looks more Montréal than maple festival, but still happily accommodates big families hungry for pasta, steaks or flatbread pizza. Or you can get a romantic table for two on a raised platform near the window.
Bella is the date restaurant in Franklin County. It's also got live music three nights a week — Saturdays in the new room out back, which alternately functions as nightclub, corporate meeting quarters and wedding-reception area. Big Joe Burrell, jazz guitarist Jerry Lavene, vocalist Tammy Fletcher and the bluesy Nobby Reed Project are all regulars.
"Most people who live around here come in at least once a week," according to the bartender. But out-of-towners will sure like the prices — $60 buys a couple drinks, appetizers, entrées and dessert-to-share — and doggy-bag-required portions. And the parking is free and plentiful on North Main Street in St. Albans. Hey, it saves time...