Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The Worthy Kitchen OPENS in Woodstock VT!

The eagerly anticipated GRAND OPENING for The Worthy Kitchen restaurant on Rte 4 in Woodstock will happen Tuesday August 27 at 3 PM. Brunch will start September 14 at 9:30 AM.
Not quite a year after opening a burger-and-craft-beer joint in an 1800s former railroad freight house in South Royalton (SoRo), the partners behind the Worthy Burger will open a second spot in Woodstock.

The Worthy Kitchen inhabits the old East Ender Restaurant at 442 Woodstock Road. Owner Jason Merrill describes the new restaurant as a “craft-beer diner” and a test kitchen for a constellation of spin-off businesses.
Merrill, who is again partnering with Dave Brodrick and Kurt Lessard, says that the Worthy Burger’s cozy atmosphere has outgrown the physical space of the freight house in SoRo.  The former, East Ender, twice the size of the Worthy Burger, closed in 2011 and provides a new airy, sunset filled place for folks to gather and enjoy local foods. 

Merrill thinks the Worthy Kitchen’s formula — casual, farm-to-table dishes and unique craft beers — will prove a good match for the town. “We know that Woodstock needs this kind of restaurant,” he says.
Brodrick is the current owner of a craft beer bar and restaurant called The Blind Tiger in Greenwich Village in New York City. Lessard is the owner and operator of Lessard Property Management. He also does accounting for several businesses in Woodstock, including restaurants. Merrill has been chef at the Jackson House in Woodstock, the Hanover Inn in Hanover, N.H., and various restaurants in Arizona.


Like that of Worthy Burger in SoRo, the menu will be limited to “five or six items,” mostly rotating specials. Among them might be the Worthy ’Wich, a sandwich of the day on house-baked bread; Worthy Noodles, creative variations on ramen; and fresh fish specials. (Merrill works with Wood Mountain Fish.)

The Worthy Kitchen plans to “highlight an animal or farm each week,” such as ducks from Kiss the Cow Farm. Those, Merrill suggests, “might end up in smoked-duck carbonara.”
Chef Scott serves with a smile
The centerpiece of the kitchen will be a wood-fired oven, which the staff will use in novel ways, for instance, to prepare the building blocks of a clam chowder. Merrill explains: “We’ll roast the clams and the mirepoix, give the bacon a crispy edge and toast the herbs for smoky flavor.”

Two things that oven won’t be used for are pizza “There’s way too many pizza places around,” Merrill says and burgers, which will remain a SoRo staple.

Desserts that will make your mouth water will also rotate on the chalkboard.

Commercial catering is offered under the name Worthy Catering and will begin operations immediately in a state-of-the-art kitchen with a large, mobile, wood-fired grill in a Worthy Truck and Trailer that will also appear at various outdoor events around the state.

The restaurant will seat 99 and has a separate function room for special events.

On the beverage side, the new restaurant will offer 20 artisanal beers on draught, six wines, hard cider, and kombucha, an effervescent fermentation of sweetened tea.

“We’ll also make our own sodas, lemonades and teas,” said Merrill. “On Saturdays and Sundays, our brunch will include house-made Bloody Marys.”

For my first dinner at The Worthy Kitchen I chose the Wood Roasted Fish-Line caught Halibut with Caper Ailoi. In fact my whole table ordered this dish and we all cleaned our plates. The fish was exceptionally flaky and fresh and the ailoi really complemented the wood roasting. Our table tried the Vanilla Pot de Creme and Chocolate Bread Pudding for dessert. The bowls were all but licked clean. My dark beer loving husband opted for no dessert but continued to enjoy Smuttynose Porter on draught for the evening.
The building also has a lovely porch area to enjoy cocktails or a meal at sunset.
The wait is over The Worthy Kitchen is now open for business.

More Images from the 'Soft Opening' August 23: Photos by Nanci
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