Juniper's Fare - Waterbury, VT
There's a new place that just opened up on April 6th in Waterbury, at the junction of routes 2 and 100, near Snowfire auto. This restaurant used to be located in Waitsfield, but just recently moved to Waterbury. I'm very glad they did.
I was intrigued by a sign I saw this last Friday that said "Friday Night Take Out - Italian" outside this restaurant that used to house the Feed Bag but had been empty for quite some time. I stopped in that afternoon and talked a bit with the folks there about how these things work, and such. They have a website: junipersfare.com and their prices are amazing (hours are listed on their website).
So they serve breakfast and lunch, and have Friday Night Take Out from 5-8PM, where you call in your order after 1PM and pick it up to take home between 5 and 8.
I went to the website and found out that they're a money making operation for Franciscan Farms, run by a community of non-demoninational Franciscans (who ordain women and call themselves charismatic). They grow a whole lot of their own food, and also buy from other local sources. So the food is fresh and good, and locally produced!
I've only had one thing from there, so far. I stopped Monday morning and bought a breakfast sandwich. It was $3.55 (with tax), and it had one egg, one full slice of bacon, a slice of Cabot cheddar, and a Red Hen bakery bun. The bun was a little big for the sandwich, making the proportion seem off. They make up the breakfast sandwiches ahead and put them in a hot case (that actually keeps things nicely hot), so it wasn't totally fresh, but it had been made that morning. Those two things being said, this was a wonderful breakfast sandwich. The bacon was delicious, and of course I love Cabot cheddar. I assume the egg was fresh and local as well. I brought my sandwich back to the office and ate it there. I usually prefer a bit of horseradish sauce on my egg sandwiches, but this had a great flavour and I was perfectly satisfied, though I did have a little bread left over.
The price for this was just a bit more than for an egg mcmuffin (iirc, it's been a while since I ordered one of those), but it was so much better quality, and local food to boot. I will be back, for sure.
Their Friday Night Take Outs usually consist of a vegetarian lasagna, a meat lasagna, sketti and meatballs, and some special item (this last Friday it was fried haddock). The haddock came with mac and cheese, coleslaw, Red Hen bread, and dessert. For $8.50. You heard me right. :)
All the other options come with bread, salad, and dessert. The cheese lasagne is $7. The meat lasagna and sketti and meatballs is $7.50.
The prices for lunches and breakfasts are similarly low.
For breakfast there's omelettes, fry ups, granola and yogurt, muffins (made fresh every day), oatmeal, pancakes, and Franscican toast (french baguette dipped in egg and fried). They also sell what they call Vermont Artisan coffee and Green Mountain Coffee, as well as Vermont Artisan teas.
For lunches they have salads, hot and cold sandwiches, Pizzettas (grilled 10" pizzas), and a kid's menu.
I'm having lunch there today, I'll report back on what I find. :)
OOok, so I've eaten here a couple more times. Most recently I picked up some breakfast on the way to work today. I got "Wakie Wakie Eggs and Bakie" which is two eggs any style, home fries, Red Hen toast (two slices), three slices of cantaloupe, and two slices of local, thick cut bacon. First, I need to say, the bacon is divine. The eggs were good, and better after I put a little salt and pepper on them, a little less "hard cooked" than I like but probably anyone else would think they were perfect (Ok, I like my scrambled eggs almost rubbery ;D). Lovely yummy toast and fresh, RIPE cantaloupe. Now, I'm not a fan of home fries most of the time. They're often just sorta mealy, greasy, maybe soggy, not very flavourful (at least where you get them mostly in Vermont). These were not greasy or soggy or mealy. New potatoes, cut in wedges, lightly seasoned with actual seasoning (maybe a touch of cayenne? I'm not entirely sure, but SEASONING!!) and maybe lightly fried on the cook top. They're cooked all the way through, but still a bit firm, with a bit of a crust that actually survived the trip to my office in the take away box (which is biodegradable). I might actually finish them this morning (normally I wouldn't waste the stomach real estate on it, and I didn't notice there were home fries when I ordered or I'd have asked them to just give me more fruit, I'm glad I didn't realize).
Also, they're SO NICE. My order was taking a little bit of time to come out, but I wasn't in a hurry and I wasn't feeling like it was excessively long because many people came in just as I did, so they were a little backed up. But the guy at the counter told me he messed up the ticket and that's why it was taking so long (without my having asked), and he gave me a complimentary fresh-baked granola blueberry muffin. I don't have room for it in my tummy yet, but it smells WONDERFUL. :)
I also noticed that one of tonight's specials for Friday Night Take Out is fish fry, with HADDOCK. I love Haddock. So I've already placed an order for that and some of the meat lasagne (they say it has ground beef, pepperoni, and steak in it, we'll see). So that comes with salad, bread, and a dessert. :) I imagine the fish fry has fries, I hope it comes with salad, too.
And another thing, they have a creamee stand, and also hard pack ice cream, and a snack bar with snack bar-y things that is open in the evenings. GREAT addition to Waterbury! Woo!
Cool! It's a tough job but someone's gotta do it!
I have my lunch now. I got a reuben with a half salad with homemade buttermilk ranch dressing. I was supposed to get a pickle, but it appears they forgot it. They forgot to put thousand island on my reuben, too. But I can forgive those things. :) The total was $6.82 (including tax).
The reuben is on toasted bread. While it isn't rye, it is Red Hen bread, and that's still very good bread. The corned beef is tender, and was grilled before putting on the sandwich. The swiss cheese has a wonderful flavour, and the saurkraut tastes pretty darned good! The salad is a mesclun mix and I had the choice between half salad or fries. The salad is fresh, crisp and tasty. If they don't grow it themselves, it seems likely that it's Pete's Greens, which is always a good thing. The buttermilk ranch tastes fantastic. The tomatoes don't seem anything out of the ordinary, but they're in good shape, and would probably have more flavour if they weren't cold. The salad is finished with grated carrot which tastes, shockingly, like carrot. :)
While I was waiting (it wasn't that long of a wait, they have a TV that was showing a mass in, I assume, Italy, but someone was changing it while I left, so I don't know what it ended up on) I got to see burgers that a couple of other guys ordered, and they looked good. Thick, meaty, and smelled lovely. The restaurant has a good deal of comfortable seating. There's loads of rustic Franciscan monk art all around, but that's to be expected. They were training new staff.
All in all, I'm very pleased with this place and I hope it does well in its new location. :)