August 27, 2021
Burlington's Monarch & the Milkweed, which has been closed to the public since the start of the pandemic, will reopen September 1 — with one major change.
The small restaurant and bar at 111 St. Paul Street will once again offer beautifully crafted cocktails, an eclectic wine list and a retail case containing Milkweed Cannabis CBD confections developed by pastry chef and owner Andrew LeStourgeon.
However, fans of Monarch's epic grilled cheese sandwich and tomato soup, chicken and waffles, maple-brûléed pancakes or Parisian pâtisserie-level pastries will be disappointed.
The food menu will now consist of pizzas and the signature salad from next-door neighbor American Flatbread Burlington Hearth. Offerings will include a new "Monarch" pizza topped with pepperoni, green peppers, corn and garlic, LeStourgeon said.
Customers who miss Monarch's original menu can look forward to occasional pop-ups of some favorites. Meanwhile, LeStourgeon urged people to keep an open mind about pairing sophisticated cocktails with pizza. "Pizza goes with everything," he declared.
LeStourgeon cited several factors that prevented him from reopening with the pre-pandemic food menu, including "profitability, the labor shortage and needing to focus on growing Milkweed nationwide." Monarch's basement kitchen has been fully occupied with producing Milkweed CBD confections during the restaurant's closure.
Monarch and its neighbor have a business connection beyond sharing pizza. Rob Downey and Paul Sayler, the duo behind American Flatbread Burlington Hearth, co-own Third Place, a strategy and funding partner for food-and-beverage entrepreneurs that have included Monarch.
Monarch's new bar manager, Taylor Watts, worked in the bar and restaurant business in New York City for 15 years before relocating to Vermont during the pandemic. Most recently, he was beverage director for a group of restaurants including Oscar Wilde and Lillie's Victorian Establishment.
"Twelve months ago, I had no idea I'd be anywhere other than New York," Watts said.
Monarch will relaunch with its pre-pandemic cocktail menu before Watts starts adding some of his own creations. "We're going to give people a taste of what they were missing and then give them a taste of what they didn't know they were missing," Watts said.
Source: Seven Days