There’s a new restaurant in town. This week, Emily’s Bar and Bistro opened in the former Stoke Ramen space in the Village Square Shopping Center in Waitsfield (next to Dirty Paws Pet Spa). Owner Emily Etesse, a longtime fixture of The Valley bar and restaurant scene, said “The timing is just right.” She’s worked in the food and beverage industry for 37 years. As a teenager, she worked in one of the first upscale restaurants in Saratoga Springs, NY. After studying geography at SUNY Geneseo, she played electric violin in a band in Burlington. She then spent stints in Lake Tahoe and Santa Barbara, working in the food and beverage industry, before landing in The Valley in 2000. “I knew I wanted to raise my two boys here,” she said. Her sons are both students at Harwood Union High School.
Etesse said she wants Emily’s Bar and Bistro to be a blue collar bar. “I want a place where people can go and not break the bank,” she said. “My goal is to take the vibe from Wunderbar” at Sugarbush, which she was an instrumental part of, “and mesh it with old Egan’s. Really good comfort food, affordable, just that place where you can go and relax and hang out and have a good time.”
The menu will include chowder and soup, grilled cheese and more. Etesse said she’s “starting out simple, the goal is to be the spot to grab lunch. Waitsfield needs that.” Emily’s will be open from 11 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. Friday through Tuesday and, if there’s enough demand, Wednesday, too. She’s spruced up the space, including a full paint job and new light fixtures and dimmers.
“I learned what it was like to run a smaller business while working at Tucker Hill” Inn, she said. “They taught me a lot.” For now, Etesse is a one-woman show, though she’s looking for help in the kitchen.
“Gratitude is my fuel,” she said. “I’m so grateful for the guests that choose to come to our Valley. I’m grateful for all the friendships I’ve developed and all the people I’ve worked with in the local community.”