Have you ever gone to a big city with a great Japanese market and realized what Burlington was missing? Beginning in May, you won’t need to be sad to go home anymore. That’s when Kazutoshi Maeda and Chris Russo of San Sai Japanese Restaurant will open a market of their own at 197 College Street.
The market, which Russo says he hopes to call Bento, will feature high-quality Japanese groceries, including sake, wine and beer. “It’s stuff that you can’t get around here at this point — stuff that nobody carries,” Russo adds.
Prepared bento boxes and sushi will be for sale, but Russo also hopes to empower customers to make their own Japanese food at home. He’ll sell knives and sharpening stones to assist in the skillful cuts necessary for dishes like the raw fish, local meats and uncommon salads he makes at San Sai. If interest is sufficient, Russo says, he’ll offer cooking classes, too.
Since its founding in 1999, Panadero Bakery has morphed from a cottage business at the Burlington Farmers Market into a brick-and-mortar bakery in Burlington’s Old North End. Now it’s undergoing another transformation into Barrio Bakery.
Jessica Bunce, who purchased the bakery with her husband, Ryan, two years ago, says they felt the need to distinguish themselves from Panera Bread, which opened in Burlington in late 2011 and has since expanded to South Burlington. “It’s been really confusing for our customers since they moved in,” she notes.
The name was inspired by the time the Bunces spent living in the distinctive barrio neighborhood of Tucson, Ariz. “‘Barrio’ means ‘neighborhood’ in Spanish, and when we first dreamed of opening a bakery, we wanted it to be a place that would serve as a neighborhood hub,” Bunce says, though there won’t be any Spanish or Mexican pastries in the case.
The Bunces are also renaming the nights when they bake and serve pizzas. On Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, 203 North Winooski Avenue will become Pizza Barrio.
— A.L. & C.H.