Side Dishes: A potential new favorite opens while two others close
Few restaurants have been as hotly anticipated as Don Pedro’s Authentic Mexican Taqueria in Winooski. It’s no surprise, then, that when the casual Main Street taco stop opened on Thursday, August 11, it was overrun with diners eager for a taste of al pastor tacos and Mexican rôtisserie chicken. The volume was so high that owner Pierre Mesa has made the decision to open only for dinner until he hires enough staff to make it through lunch, as well.
In December, I named Waitsfield’s Barn Door Restaurant at 1824 House Vermont’s best new restaurant of 2010. Last month, it closed. According to innkeeper Emily Mendell, daughter of owners Connie and Dean Mendell, the demands of the wedding and events end of their business were too great for them to keep the restaurant open. “The events took off a little faster than we expected, which is great for our business and our family,” says Emily Mendell. “To be fair to our customers and ourselves, we had to choose one or the other, and we chose events.”
Barn Door chef Luke Stone, who offered housemade charcuterie and menus starring a different local ingredient each week, has joined the staff of Hen of the Wood at the Grist Mill in Waterbury. Michael Forrest, executive chef at the Mendells’ Rochester restaurant, the Village Porch Bar & Bistro, is now catering chef at the inn.
Burlington’s the Green Room took its final bow last Saturday night. The owners have no immediate plans to reopen elsewhere, according to a server, but Seven Days has heard that a potentially game-changing eatery will take over the St. Paul Street space. Stay tuned!