Side Dishes: More casual eats planned for downtown Burlington
Just six months ago, most Burlingtonians had never heard of a “gastropub.” Now the town is slated to get another one next spring — in the Bank Street former home of the downtown McDonald’s, vacant since the summer of 2007. The still-nameless eatery will be owned byRob Downey and Paul Sayler of American Flatbread , along with Jed Davis, a former staffer at New York restos Daniel and Union Square Café , who’s currently part of the Three Tomatoes Trattoria  group.
Davis, who will operate the resto, says it will boast numerous craft beers on tap, about 100 seats indoors and 70 to 80 more outdoors in summer. “There’s a huge basement and high ceilings,” he reports. “We intend to renovate the downstairs into a rathskeller type of thing.”
What’ll be on the menu? Lots of all-beef patties, for one thing. But the rounds at the new spot will be a far cry from the ones the fast-food workers used to sling. “The menu will be designed around products we can get locally,” Davis says. “In my conversations with farmers, I’ve heard that they have lots of ground beef they want to sell. Burgers seem to be the logical choice.”
Other fare will include local cheeses and house-made charcuterie, plus casual entrées such as meatloaf and chicken and biscuits. “I think the fun is to take those items and apply a fine-dining precision to them,” Davis opines. “The goal is really to show off the products available in Vermont.”
Are the owners worried about competition from the newly opened Bluebird Tavern  or the upcoming German-flavored Das Bierhaus ? Not a bit. “The more locally owned restaurants the merrier,” Davis says cheerfully. “It’s a great location, and I think Burlington needs this restaurant. I think it can fill a lot of voids.”
Want to help give B-town’s new gastropub a name? We’re having a contest! Click here  for a chance to be immortalized — and win a $150 gift certificate.