Side Dishes: New ’cue, additional Asian, Mexican munchies
It’s been eight long months for central Vermont BBQ fans. The January demise of Finkerman’s in Montpelier left the area’s pulled-pork proponents empty-handed. But now they’re licking their lips over Ed’s Barr-B-Q — in, you guessed it, Barre. On August 18, the joint became more than just a catering service and sauce company when it opened for take-out business at 248 North Main Street.
Known for crime-themed barbecue marinades that range from the milder “Misdemeanor” to the hefty “Capital Offense,” Ed Lamorey expects to open for full-service dining at the beginning of October. “We bought the building,” he explains, “including the apartment on top. We’re doing take-out three days a week around our renovations. Right now we could seat about 45, but when we’re done, it’ll be more like 90.”
His concept, in keeping with the names of his sauces, is unique, to say the least: “We’ve started putting up bars on the windows and working with the police department to get a few more items. The waitresses will have holsters.” He goes on to elaborate that the food is “Southern barbecue with a Northern twist. The meat is Memphis-Kansas City style in the way we sauce it. Everything is made from scratch. Our corn bread and baked beans have real Vermont maple syrup.”
Until the prison doors swing open, customer can bring home ribs, pulled pork and wings for lunch Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Dinner is Friday only.
Winooski’s single square mile is already home to Chinese, Thai, Vietnamese and Pan-Asian restaurants. Now there’s a new Thai and Japanese place in Vermont’s “Little Asia.” Food 88 is located where the Blue Star Café used to be.
Champ Chompupong, also owner of Burlington’s Bangkok Bistro, is offering most of BB’s Thai menu, along with sushi, Japanese rice and noodle bowls. “The Crazy Bowls are very popular, and Vermonters love our Tom Ka,” says the smiling Chompupong.
Hearty servings of spicy curries and pad Thai, and Japanese katsus and teriyakis, are a great deal: $5.95 for lunch and $8.50 for dinner. But the real steal is the $1 sushi. With a minimum of four pieces, diners can stack up the seafood until they’re stuffed. “The rent in Winooski is less than Burlington, so we can afford to charge less,” Chompupong explains.
Plan C? Burlingtonians hungering for the vibrant flavors of authentic south-of-the-border cuisine may not have to wait much longer. Two savvy restaurateurs — Franke Salese of Junior’s Italian and Patrick Finnigan of Finnigan’s Pub — are teaming up to open an as-yet-unnamed Mexican cantina in the spot formerly occupied by the ultra-hip Waiting Room and Plan B.
Salese promises that the joint will be decorated with vibrant colors and that the waitstaff will be accomplished. But how will the strikingly non-Mexican duo ensure that the empanadas are the real deal? Although the executive chef will be a transplant from the Italian eatery in Colchester, there are also “a couple of chefs coming up from Mexico through this friend of mine,” Salese explains. Hmmm.
If all goes well with licensing, they’ll be dishing up the comida — from 4 p.m. to 2 a.m. — as early as October 15. “The place is pretty much set; we’re just going to spruce it up,” Salese says.
Part of that sprucing includes the addition of a few TVs. On Sunday, the eatery will open at noon so hungry customers can catch the afternoon football games. After all, there’s nothing like a little pigskin with your posole.