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‘The Lobby’ restaurant to open in Middlebury

MIDDLEBURY — After many weeks of planning and renovations, Michel Mahé has set Saturday, Feb. 15, for the grand opening of his latest restaurant, called “The Lobby,” at 7 Bakery Lane in downtown Middlebury.
The opening, Mahé stressed, is contingent upon his receipt of two final permits — one for occupancy, the other related to health inspection.
“It’s been a long time coming,” Mahé said of The Lobby, which he had originally hoped to open last year. “The building needed a little bit of attention.”
The building most recently housed the Jackson’s on the River restaurant. Mahé, a prolific restaurateur, has for a long time wanted to bring a dining establishment in Middlebury and saw the former Jackson’s space as the right venue. The Lobby will be Mahé’s fifth restaurant. He already owns the very successful Black Sheep Bistro and Park Squeeze in Vergennes, the Bobcat Café in Bristol and the Bearded Frog in Shelburne.
Asked about “The Lobby” moniker, Mahé said it fits the ambiance he has tried to create of the lobby of a vintage hotel or movie theater.
Mahé’s business plan calls for a tavern-style establishment with seating for around 70 patrons. He spoke of a menu that will feature fixed-price entrees, as well as pub fare — including gourmet burgers.
“It’s designed not to compete with anyone, but to add to what is already (in Middlebury),” he said of the menu.
He plans to renovate the building’s exterior deck, overlooking the adjacent Otter Creek, in time for warm weather.
The Lobby will be staffed by 30 full- and part-time workers.
Mahé is not closing the door to the possibility of opening another restaurant in the future, but he currently has his hands full.
“We’ll digest this one, first,” he said. “This one should keep us pretty busy.”
The Lobby will be open seven days per week. The restaurant will initially offer dinners and then phase in a lunch menu within a week or two of opening, Mahé said.
John Flowers is at johnf@addisonindependent.com.

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