BENNINGTON -- How now, brown cow? If you haven't yet made the trip up the Paradise Inn hill to the Brown Cow Café, you're missing out on an all-new, full menu eatery with a vegetarian bend.
Owner Amy Buckley said the Brown Cow offers a varied menu of healthy options, daily baked goods, and a revolving selection of soups and quiches. "(We) plan to help fill the void for vegetarians and vegans," left by the closing of Izabella's Eatery further east on Main Street, she said.
In comparison to the building's previous eatery, It's All About The Bean (a change from the earlier Bean & Leaf Cafe), "It's a different restaurant, period," said Buckley. She did, however, spend time working at the former café under its owner, Dominic Murgido, who took the coffee roasting equipment and continues to run a local roasting business in Bennington. (Buckley's daughter also worked at the Bean, and she said all three of her children were involved with the new venture.)
Buckley said the restaurant business turned out to be completely different from the coffee roasting one. While new to running her own small business, she said things had gone well since the Brown Cow opened Aug. 27. "It is a full-time job," she emphasized, requiring juggling bookkeeping with baking. The North Bennington resident worked previously as a designer for McAdoo Rugs and at the offices of Keefe & Wesner Architects. In the past when traveling, Buckley said she would visit cafés and think to herself, "I can do that."
In addition to healthy, local fare, the cafe also caters to those on a gluten-free diet. On Sundays, the Brown Cow now features a table service brunch. "(Sunday mornings), people are looking for more of a full breakfast," Buckley said; an observation she made after having to direct Paradise Inn guests to other local options for breakfast.
Building improvements earlier this year included a fresh coat of paint and an addition to the kitchen. Revolving artwork hangs on the walls and the larger space now includes a variety of seating options for groups or private, reserved functions.
Through the winter, tentative plans are being made for a series of coffeehouse or music events; "anything to get through the winter."
Next summer, Saturdays will be added back to the regular hours of operation.
The Brown Cow Cafe is currently open Mondays through Fridays from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., and for brunch on Sundays between 9 a.m. and 1 p.m. The cafe is located at 139 Main St., just west of the Paradise Inn. Daily specials and updates can be found online at www.thebrowncowcafe.com or on Facebook. For more information call (802) 681-7489.