Bonnet & Main plans mid-May opening

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MANCHESTER — Bonnet & Main: That's where it's at.

Expect to hear that refrain often when the new cafe opens in the Northshire Bookstore in mid-May.

The two women opening Bonnet & Main cafe, Fiona Morton and Suzanne Fontaine, are working hard to put the finishing touches on their new cafe that sits in one of the most desirable spots in town.

Morton and Fontaine both come with a food service industry background. They've been working most recently up on the mountain.

Morton has 30 years of running a baking business in Connecticut, providing desserts to local markets and restaurants. Morton moved to Vermont 9 years ago and has been supplying desserts to retailers in the Stratton, Londonderry and Chester areas. She most recently owned Sweet Fe's.

Fontaine has about 20 years of experience. She has been a fixture at the West River Farmers' Market in The Londonderry area and developed a reputation for her Asian fare. She also owned The Pantry in South Londonderry and worked at the Fire Tower Restaurant at Stratton the past four years.

The two have known each other through the food industry for a couple of years, they said.

Fontaine had reached out to Chris Morrow, owner of the Northshire Bookstore before but just missed the opportunity. She said another email in February received a positive response and she called Morton to see if she was interested in forming a partnership and making a go of it.

It all came together and the race was on to put a cafe together nearly from scratch.

The women get along like they've been friends since youth, and break into accents and complete each other's sentences effortlessly.

They know, however, that the stress of running a seven-day a week operation will stress them. They said that having worked in the environment for a long time has them prepared. They know what they're getting into with the hours, finances, other challenges.

"That's why it's good that there's two of us," Fontaine said. "We're not going into this lightly. We're in it for the long haul."

When Bonnet & Main opens, it will nearly be a new place.

They've renovated much of the kitchen area with new appliances and are redoing the large upstairs dining area.

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Gone are the small tables with four chairs and in are couches, large tables, tall tables, and a few small tables.

The floor shave been refinished and the entire place has new paint.

Hours to start will be 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday and Saturdays.

The menu to start will be breakfast items like muffins, croissants and pastries, along with hot items to go or to eat in.

Lunch will includes soups and sandwiches with ready-to-go items as well options to eat in.

There will be daily specials as well and the menu will expand with time.

The pair are already planning expansion once they get their feet under them to includes the potential for dinner and later evening hours. They expect to work with the bookstore to coordinate and plans for a wine and beer license are in the works.

Coffee will be provided by Equal Exchange, a worker-owned company out of Massachusetts that provides organic, fair-trade coffee purchased direct from independent farmers.

They also plan to offer locally roasted coffee on a rotating basis with Ungrounded Coffee Roasters out of Rawsonville to start.

While the pair don't have a hard date to open, they do have a date circled on the calendar in the middle of May.

Some of their plans are dependent on deliveries and getting everything ready.

They do plan a soft opening, so keep your eye peeled for an open sign.

A bigger celebration is planned down the road.

Contact Darren Marcy at dmarcy@manchesterjournal.com or by cell at 802-681-6534.


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