BENNINGTON — A new cafe on North Street aims at serving up sandwiches, all-day-breakfast, and two different types of "brews."
Visitors will find 24 craft beers and several varieties of coffee at Two Brews Cafe at 230 North St. Owners Stacy and Tony Bolio say a grand opening is planned for the week of May 21 to mark the six-month anniversary of the cafe's opening.
The Bennington couple say they believe in the town and have a commitment to buying local ingredients, serving fresh food and partnering with local businesses.
"We want to make Bennington a better place," Tony said in an interview at the cafe last week.
Stacy is a co-owner of Belizimo Salon at 229 North St., across the street from Two Brews, and Tony owns T.A. Bolio Construction. The couple also own half a dozen other properties on North Street, including the Subway Sandwich Shop building.
The Bolios and their business partners, Tom Kannam and Wayland Benbow of Connecticut, saw an opportunity in the cafe space, which was occupied by the former Rattlesnake Cafe until it closed in April 2014. And the Bolios said they want North Street properties to stay in local ownership.
"Our goal was to make an affordable, quick-service restaurant that's healthy and fresh," Stacy said.
Vegetables, cheese and other ingredients are sourced from local farms, with almost all of the food ultimately coming from a 150-mile radius.
Customers build their own dish through a three-step ordering process. They first choose among several "flavors," a preset combination of vegetables, cheese, other fillings and sauce. Then they pick a protein, like grilled chicken, braised steak or garlic shrimp. Then they pick whether they want it on bread (in a panini, wrap, baguette, or crepe), or in a bowl (over a bed of kale, quinoa, rice, pasta or romaine lettuce.)
The most popular flavor, Manager Ashley Edwards said, is the "ranchero:" Avocado, black beans, Vermont cheddar cheese and Pico de gallo.
Smoothies have also been popular and range from old favorites like strawberry-banana, to orange creamsicle, or even "kale Krush" (kale, spinach, apple, cucumber)
All of the bottled craft beer is local. Coffee is from Omar's Coffee, a Connecticut brand.
Comfort food is also on the menu, from macaroni and cheese to lasagna, as well as deserts like cookies, scones and muffins.
A grab-and-go case is full of sandwiches and meals to eat on the run. Special offerings include Sunday brunches and on Tuesdays kids eat free.
Stacy said she and Tony have purchased many things from local businesses, such as vintage, reclaimed furniture from the Owls Next Annex and an outdoor fire pit from Tatro's Concrete Impressions.
"We want to bring all businesses together as one," she said.
And work inside the cafe, including installation of new windows and creating an open-kitchen setup, was done by Tony's construction business.
They're also interested in working with local businesses around "Four Corners North," the crossroads of County Street and North Street.
"We're really invested in Bennington, we really care about Bennington, and we want to see the town do well," Tony said.
Two Brews at 230 North St. is open from Monday to Saturday 7 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.
For more information, visit the Two Brews Cafe Facebook page or call 802-440-5127.
Contact Edward Damon at 413-770-6979