Mark Collier / Staff Photo Waitress Taylor Merriam tops off John Walter's cup of coffee as she makes rounds checking on the tables she's responsible for at the new L & M Diner in Barre. Walter, of East Calais, joined Fred Pearce, middle left, of Williamstown, Renee Pearce, middle right, also from Williamstown, and Mike Otis, far right for breakfast and good conversation Saturday morning.
BARRE — Creemee season is on its way and the L & M Diner on North Main Street in Barre will be serving 24 flavors come May 1.
“No one else in the world knows what a creemee is, but people around here love their creemees, they can’t wait,” says Alicia Coletti, co-owner of the diner.
She and husband Ted Coletti opened the diner’s doors in November of last year and have had a great response to their new venture. Owners of the Mountain View Snack Bars in Morrisville, Stowe and Hardwick, the Colettis are very familiar with the spring creemee fever in Vermont, the first real ushering in of favorite summertime activities, even if it’s still freezing.
The Colettis moved to Vermont from Long Island, New York, about nine years ago, joining family who had already made the move.
“We thought we’d try it and we stayed,” Alicia said.
They also tried out running the first of their eventual three snack bars when the owner decided to sell his Morrisville Mountain View. After a few years they opened a new one in Hardwick and after another few years opened their Stowe location. Both Alicia and Ted attended the College of Culinary Arts at Johnson and Wales University in Rhode Island and owned a sandwich shop before moving to Vermont. The diner seemed like a logical next step.
“We heard the (Barre) building was for sale and we looked at it just as they were finishing up the street, which looked so nice. The place looked so cute and it seemed like a fun thing to do,” Alicia said.
So the Colettis bought the building and set to work renovating the kitchen and tweaking some of the interior work. They put together a menu of diner fare incorporating and upgrading some of the snack bar offerings. With homemade specials and soups everyday, freshly made burgers to order, and fresh cut French fries it’s no wonder the L & M is getting great reviews. So says patron Christopher Maloney: “This old diner has needed an operator who knows traditional diner fare. Now it has it. The quality of ingredients is excellent.”
With three snack bars opening up for the summer season soon and the diner in full swing, the Colettis have their hands full. But if the diner continues to do well, opening another could be in the cards one day.
“We got L & M up and running and it’s running smoothly. It’s been fun; it’s different than what we’re used to. Opening a new place is kind of the exciting part of it all, to see what it will do. We like the excitement of starting something fresh,” Alicia says.
Though neither of the Colettis foresaw being in Vermont or owning seasonal restaurants, it is something they’re enjoying.
“It’s cool. I like Vermont. We moved from Long Island because it’s so hectic for the kids. I am glad to be here — overall it’s a better place for them to grow up, not such a rat race,” Alicia says.
Their two girls are the inspiration for the name of the diner: Lexington and Madison. Alicia says the hardest part about opening up the diner is that she and her husband no longer have the winters off to spend with their daughters.
But there have been no major hiccups for the couple, and the response from their lunch and weekend crowds has been nothing but positive.
“I like interacting more with the customers. It’s more fun, getting to know them a bit better,” Alicia says.
The Colettis hope that some of the new offices coming into Barre and the revitalization efforts overall will encourage business further.
“It’s great to be here in Barre; it’s different than what we are used to. It’s looking so nice,” Alicia says. “The people here have been really helpful. When we were first here, they led us in the right direction and involved us in the business community.”
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