Friday, June 08, 2007

Barre In Transition

Barre, my fair city, seems to be on the up and up. Despite a string of bad press (there has been plenty), we are currently experiencing a surge of new businesses and youthfulness that seems to be signaling a bright future. The picture above is of El Sol moving in to the vacant Quiznos, the latest in a long list of new shops in the downtown. Here's a rundown:

  • The Pit Stop - 24o N Main St. A breakfast and lunch diner that is "Nascar with a Puerto Rican flair." They took over the old Farmer's Diner two months ago.
  • Granite City Brewing - 14 N Main St. Two brothers started a brew supply store a year and a half ago that turned into a brew pub last month. Pretty good small batch brews that change with the day and food that's so far been a bit trying, but positive.
  • LACE - 159 N Main St. This weekend marks the grand opening of Local Agriculture Community Exchange, a Vermont food market/cafe/community kitchen/community space. LACE is the brain child of Ariel Zevon, Warren Zevon's daughter (Werewolves of London, Lawyers, Drugs and Money, etc). Her godfather, Jackson Browne, is performing a pair of fundraiser concerts this weekend (I'll report after the Sunday show). The LACE hysteria is getting ridiculous, as the press has started to swarm, people are coming to the shows from a reported 24 states, and even the state's complete congressional delegation, Bernie, Leahy, and Welch, are going to be on hand.
  • The Firehouse at Barre - 8 S Main St. The owners of a local flower shop, Emslies, are taking over the City's recently decommissioned classic circa 1900 fire station. Planned to open later this month, the building will include an "urban garden center," cafe, and craft gallery.
  • Espresso Beuno - 136 N Main St. Young Barre couple (one an established barista) opening an espresso bar serving a variety of specialty coffee drinks using a local dairy and roastery. Opening mid-July.
  • El Sol - 210 N Main St. Mexican restaurant relocating from the commercial strip in Berlin. Best Mexican food in Central Vermont. Laugh if you must, but it's the only place I turn to get my fix.

Warren Zevon & Jackson Browne - Mohammed's Radio, December 1976


Anonymous said...

Whoa... sounds rad -- you should get a venue going on! :) I'll have to stop on through sometime... xxx, KHMatthew

Anonymous said...


Flatlander said...

The weird thing is that just yesterday, I was having lunch there with a friend and he told the guy behind the counter that he wishes that they'd buy Julio’s. The guy behind the counter said they had looked at a number of Montpelier locations but couldn’t find any that were the “right place at the right price”. Then the guy said to my friend, “What do you think of Barre maybe?” To which he replied that he thought the people in Barre would scoff at $9 for a pair of tacos. He has a good point but if the interior is nice, it’ll be a destination for people outside Barre too. I’ve heard from so many people that they like the food there but are creeped out by the place. So, hopefully, people will support it and travel to Barre to eat there. I know I’ll be there.

scully said...

We tried to visit the new Granite City Brew Pub (sounds like a Flintstone's place) last Sunday but it was closed. So our group wandered down main street and actually commented that Barre had a different vibe. We didn't know of any of the places mentioned in JDS's post at the time, but we still felt the change in the air. We ended up at Sean & Nora's because it was discount wine night.

I am not sure how JDS defines "central Vermont" but I would suggest he consider trying The Bare Mexican in Randolph the next time he is slumming. I was leery of the place at first, but gave it a try one night when the wife was out of town and I was damn impressed! Highly recommended.

Now for the name dropping... In the early 90s I was living in California and through connections I would sometimes work benefit concerts, and sometimes I would get free all access passes. One night I got the latter to a show featuring Bonnie Raitt, John Prine and Jackson Browne at the Santa Barbara Bowl. Jackson had just released "I'm Alive" and he used the event to share his new music. I was standing back stage during his set, after listening to the other great musicians (Bonnie and John doing Angel from Montgomery live is always a treat). As I was standing there I felt a hand on my shoulder and a voice say "This is f@#kin' great stuff." I turned and saw that it was John Prine. I like to think I just nodded and said something cool, but I think I said "hhumbeded durrrr yeah." At the after show we had a make-your-own burrito bar. Mmmmmm.

Bob F. said...

We have a LACE by me too: