By Chea Waters Evans News editor
The deal for a new restaurant in the almost-completed Charlotte Crossing building fell through in September, but hopes for a sit-down eatery in town are not completely dashed. The commercial building, which is located at the site of the former Vermont Wildflower Farm on Route 7, is on track to house office and retail spaces as planned, but the restaurant plans are up in the air for now.
Mike Dunbar, who owns and constructed the building, said that Barb Cote, proprietor of the Shelburne Tap House, “backed out” of her plans to create the Charlotte Tap House at Charlotte Crossing. Part of the reason he said was personal timing, as well as how that timing fit with construction deadlines. He said that he remains optimistic, however, that another restaurant and bar will fill that space.
“We are still all in on filling the space with a great restaurant and have been recruiting hard for an operator,” Dunbar said. “No commitments yet, but have some good conversations going.” He said he is talking with several interested restaurant operators and that he is still open to new ideas if others want to join in the talks.
He said he is still building out the restaurant during the final construction phases of the building, as was originally planned, but is leaving some decisions unmade in order to accommodate a future restaurateur.
The remainder of the space is filled by Junapr, a public relations and communications consulting firm that is owned by Charlotte resident Nicole Junas Ravelin; a retail store by Charlotter Sara Nelson, who makes and sells jewelry under the label Elli Parr; and an IT contractor who works remotely and is renting a smaller office space.
Dunbar said he anticipates that the work will be completed Dec. 1 and tenants will be ready for business soon after, and that he is working hard to make the restaurant space available soon after that, “depending on finding an operator and time frame for fit-up.”