Bonnet & Main plans Monday opening at Northshire Bookstore

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MANCHESTER — Bonnet & Main, a new cafe in the Northshire Bookstore, expects to open its doors next week, perhaps as early as Monday.

The most recent incarnation of the cafe ensconced in the bookstore plans to have the coffee flowing, barring any last-minute snags.

Owners Fiona Morton and Suzanne Fontaine said that, as of press time, everything looked good.

Food was being delivered, new furniture filled the dining area, a renovated kitchen stood ready and final pieces were going into place as a race toward the finish was underway earlier this week.

Upstairs in the dining area, new paint, refinished floors and all new tables and chairs, couches and more fill the area.

Tables with four chairs, some long tables, a raised table, large round table, and cozy couches and chairs will provide a variety of seating options to create a warm and inviting environment.

Art is on the way and the dining area will feature the work of local artists. The first installation will be works by painter Shelli DuBoff, who was recommended by the Southern Vermont Arts Center.

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The artist will change every six weeks, providing an opportunity to show work without any commissions taken from sold pieces.

Morton and Fontaine said they consider offering the space to artists to be a community service to support the local art community.

The owners are also expect to offer the space for other events down the road with expanded kitchen hours.

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Downstairs, Bonnet & Main features a kitchen area that is showcasing a slightly rearranged customer area with window seating, new deli cases and counters. Most of the equipment behind the counter is new, too.

A chalkboard menu greets customers. Relocating the coffee prep area has created more room to prevent the traffic jams around the counter that occurred in earlier versions of the cafe. Customers will either grab their drink and go to a relocated coffee prep area or take a number and head to the dining area where their order will be delivered, eliminating the crowd of people standing around waiting for their orders.

Bonnet & Main will be open 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays for a while as the owners get their legs under them.

As summer rolls around and days last longer, hours will be expanded.

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Morton and Fontaine said their menu is mostly set and will be available online when they open. There will be daily specials.

The women promise great coffee — both drip and espresso-based coffee — to go with a variety of food for breakfast and lunch.

The owners said they plan to offer a loyalty program.

Not everything is changing. One thing that will continue is the pair's connection to The Fire Tower Restaurant & Tavern in Stratton, which will have a cross-marketing agreement and continued mutual support role.

Morton supplied desserts and Fontaine worked there. Bonnet & Main will be getting behind-the-scenes support from Fire Tower while Bonnet & Main will continue to provide desserts to the mountain restaurant.

For now, the race is on toward a soft opening without a lot of fanfare. There will be a grand opening celebration at some point after Memorial Day.

Contact Darren Marcy at or by cell at 802-681-6534.


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