A Long, Strange Trip for Zach Nugent

Zach Nugent has had quite a run, a long strange trip you might say. And most of that run has been soundtracked by Jerry Garcia’s guitar. He says he first heard Grateful Dead music at the age of 3 or 4. “Music was the Grateful Dead and the Grateful Dead was music. That’s all I knew,” he told me.

At the age of 12, when Zach picked up a guitar, “Ripple” was the first song he learned. “Or at least, what I thought sounded like ‘Ripple’,” he says with a chuckle.

Over a decade later, Nugent is still playing “Ripple,” but instead of in his bedroom in Royalton, VT,  he’s playing in front of thousands of people at the Capitol Theater in New York with Melvin Seals and JGB, in the same spot and alongside the same keyboardist that Jerry played with years ago.

While his home is currently in Burlington, he was raised in Royalton and attended The Sharon Academy. Before Zach returns to the Upper Valley with his own Dead Set crew at the Skinny Pancake in Hanover on 11/26, I caught up with him in Washington, DC. Nugent has been on the road since September playing across the country and is excited to get back to his home base in Vermont. “I hopped immediately on the road when Melvin asked me to join the band and I think I’ve slept in my bed twice since.”

When asked how he found himself to be filling Jerry’s musical shoes, he points to the formation of an informal, weekly, Grateful Dead jam at Burlington’s Nectar’s. What began four years ago with a few Deadheads noodling on couches quickly took on a life of its own. Every Tuesday since then Zach has helped guide a tour de force of special guests from all over the musical map to play tunes from the Grateful Dead songbook. Usual suspects include members of jam bands like Phish, Moe., Turkuaz and  Melvin Seals himself. But there’s also been less likely folks on stage, such as musicians from Lady Gaga’s touring band (yep…that Lady Gaga).

“The unifying power of Grateful Dead music is incredible” we both agreed.

While always a worthwhile evening, the one catch of the weekly Dead Sets has been that the fun didn’t start until 10pm on a Tuesday night. The necessity of hitting the road to play out of town venues on the weekends has unfortunately led to alienating would-be fans who simply can’t stay out after hours on a school night.

“Lots of people have been telling me for years, ‘I’d love to see you play, but I can’t stay up that late,'” Zach relays. Lucky for the Upper Valley, the show next Saturday starts at 9 and is on a weekend. Zach’s stoked because that means everyone can come: friends from back home, folks that have heard about him as a local legend, and even his parents – “Oh, they’ll definitely be there,” he says.

Local Food Audit

“Audit”…it’s not a particularly inviting word. The taxman has put a real damper on the concept. So, when we tell you we’re not only excited, but thrilled by the idea of self-auditing ourselves, try to stick with us for a moment. We’ll do our best to keep it interesting…

It turns out this is our 9th annual local food audit. When we first started this, we bought just over 50% of our food locally. Over the years, we’ve proudly been able to increase that number through more direct planning with farmers as they start to plant, while finding affordable and scalable local products to replace conventional options.

We’re happy to report that this year, we’ve bested all of our previous years’ performance. We’re also stoked to have run the numbers of Montpelier, Burlington Waterfront, and our new Hanover, NH outpost separately. Topping the list, the Montpelier Mini-Skinny clocked in with a hefty 76.27% of local food purchases, which just so happens to be a record for all of Pancakia. At 74%, our newest location in Hanover also outperformed any previous year’s records. And, just barely edging out their own performance from 2015, our original restaurant on the Burlington waterfront weighed in with a respectable 71.78% of our food for the month having been bought locally.

And now, how about a round of “perhaps you’re asking?!?”

Perhaps you’re asking: “how do you define ‘local’?” Good question! Transparency is so important especially when there is no official definition of ‘local food’ and no certifying agency. For example, “Vermont plus 35 miles” is pretty broad for Burlington when Montreal is closer to it than Brattleboro. Also, we all certainly love our craft beers, but few of their ingredients are sourced locally. Is that local? At the Skinny, we use the acronym “S.C.E.N.E.” (Security, Community, Economy, Nutrition and Environment) to identify five primary benefits of buying local. When in doubt about whether an ingredient counts as ‘local’, we measure said ingredient against this acronym “S.C.E.N.E.” Of course, mesclun mix from a farm up the road is local. But we also count locally brewed beers, roasted coffee beans and other value added products produced in the region too all of which contribute to the local economy, community, perhaps security and environment too.

Perhaps you’re asking: “why do some of our locations perform better than others?” It turns out different folks from different towns have slightly different tastes. We may sell more of one product in one town and another in the next. As a result, our “product mix” is different each month. As some crepes are more locally-sourced than others, that alone will lead to a difference between locations. Especially as we extend to regions a bit further away, the availability of local products is constantly changing based on who’s growing it and weather patterns.

Perhaps you’re asking: “why aren’t 100% of your purchases local?” Our goal has never been to be 100% local. Our goal is to buy as much local food as possible. In order to do that, we need to keep the volume UP, which means we need to keep the food affordable enough for folks to eat on a regular basis, which means we need to occasionally source ingredients that aren’t local. Also, people really like Nutella, strawberries, bananas and avocados.

Perhaps you’re asking: “who cares”? We do. Were we to maintain this average throughout the year, it means we spend over $2,000,000 a year into the local food economy, about 8x as much as we bought locally when we first started. In an era where a butterfly bats its economic wings in China and everyone’s pensions plummet, we take comfort and pride in keeping our cash right here in Vermont.

Getting To Know Bow Thayer

3513157Bow Thayer is no stranger to the Vermont music scene.

What started out as small “picking parties” with friends in the backyard of his house in the late 90s evolved gradually into the Tweed River Music Festival, of which Bow was the founder. His love of the region is extremely apparent in both the depth of his music’s natural and homey tones, and the poetry of his lyrics.

 

Thayer is known for his musical inventiveness, and the blending of different genres such as classic rock, punk rock, singer/songwriter, jam band, jazz, bluegrass, and old-time music. Additionally, and perhaps most notably, Bow is known for the creation of the Bojotar—a blend between a banjo, an electric guitar, and the Dobro—essentially, in Bow’s words, “a banjo with an extra low string, or a guitar with the low E taken off and a banjo string added.”

 

3513151In Bow’s latest album, Sundowser (2015), the magic of the Bojotar is on full display. Adding a new, yet eerily familiar twang, the hybrid instrument perfectly compliments the earthy, warm, atmospheric, and toe-tapping vibes of Thayer’s rich melodies. It’s a cool instrument whose popularity seems destined to increase—Bow joked, if you come and see him play the Bojotar at the Skinny Pancake Hanover soon, a few years from now, “when this thing really blows up, you can say you saw it first!”

 

American Songwriter describes Bow as the “best artist to come from New England in recent years.” From the first time we saw Bow play (at an event at the King Arthur Flour headquarters in Norwich, VT, while serving up crepes from our mobile station) we could clearly see why.

 

Bow has graced the stage with artists such as John Hiatt, Richard Thompson, David Lindley, Edgar Winters, Joe Walsh, Booker T. Jones, Levon Helms and more… Although, he notes, quite humbly, he was “just the opening act” for most of them.

 

3513153Bow is based out of a recording studio he built out of hemlock trees he harvested off of his own property and timber-framed himself, spending money only on the metal roofing covering the structure. The studio is appropriately fashioned with solar panels for all of Bow’s musical energy needs to boot.

 

It was from this remote studio along the White River that we had the chance to catch up with Bow, and chat with him about his residency at the Skinny Pancake Hanover:

Skinny Pancake (SP): Given all the entertainment distractions of the modern digital world, how important do you think it is for people to go out and see live music these days?

 

Bow Thayer (BT): It’s really hard to try and keep live music going, and there’s probably many factors to that… One being that there’s so much entertainment right in your house, and even now in your pocket on your phone. There are things that are distracting people these days from going out and committing to seeing live music. Most people would agree it’s very, very important to have live music, but it’s not on people’s priority list, and there’s just so many other things in competition with it. That’s why I think it’s so cool to have a company like the Skinny Pancake that’s actually going the extra mile to bring live music out to the community.

 

SP: How do you think food and music work together?

 

BT: They’ve gone hand-in-hand since the beginning of time. There’s always been that correlation; look at BBQ and the blues… I think you’re really onto something here… I could go on and on about certain metaphors and all this stuff, you know? Music is food for the mind, and blending the two just go hand-in-hand. Feed the body and the mind at the same time!

 

SP: What do you hope to get out of your residency at the Skinny Pancake Hanover?

 

BT: The whole reason I want to do a residency is so I can go work my music out in front of people! I could sit here [in my studio] for 14 hours a day, figuring it out here and recording it, but it doesn’t mean anything unless it’s in front of people.

It gets back to the whole thing of live music, you have to see what works. You can’t see what works by just bouncing it off the wall, you’ve got to bounce it off of other people. You’ve got to get feedback.

 

The people who have been coming to the shows so far sit right down in front and listen… And I don’t care if there’s 2,000 or two people there, I’m going to do the same thing. It’s just so important to have a live audience that you can, on a regular basis, go and work stuff out in front of.

 

So, I’m already getting everything out of this residency with the Skinny that I could want, and that’s a consistent place to work on my musical ideas, in a live format!

 

SP: You’ve played at a lot of different places throughout your musical career. What makes playing at the Skinny Pancake special?

 

BT: I feel really comfortable advertising to my people who have enjoyed my music over the years to come down to the Skinny Pancake. It’s cool. It’s a young, energetic staff, it’s friendly, the food’s good, it’s comfortable, there’s a great selection of drinks, and it SOUNDS GOOD. Honestly, I can’t say that about a lot of the places I’ve played. I’ve got people who like to come up from CT, NY, and MA, and it’s so important to have a place that is quality. If I am going to put my name out there and inviting people up, it’s got to have quality, and the Skinny Pancake is just the right blend of all of it.

 

SP: What’s your go-to crepe and drink of choice at the Skinny?

 

BT: Anything with a buckwheat crepe shell! I’ve had most of the food on the menu, and it’s all wonderful. I’m one of those dudes who can’t really eat wheat anymore, so the menu is perfect for me… And the local ciders, particularly the Eden Cider, I’m addicted to! You’ve got food I can eat, it’s healthy, and the staff is awesome! It’s totally cool.

 

Catch Bow Thayer’s residency at the Skinny Pancake Hanover live every Wednesday evening from 7:30-9:30pm for a night of great tunes, great food, great people, and great fun!

It’s a bird…it’s a plane…it’s a crepe?

Howdy Folks,

It’s a big weekend here at the Burlington Waterfront! A couple months ago when someone said to me, ‘Hey! Have you heard about the Vermont Air Show?” I thought, “Hm, that sounds rad.” Upon further inspection: Wow what a ‘Fluffin awesome Air Show this is!

How awesome is this? Well, for starters, this event is to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the remarkable Vermont Air National Guard. For those of you who don’t know, the story of Vermont’s National Guard begins in 1775 when Ethan Allen and his Green Mountain Boys led the attack on Fort Ticonderoga. In the spirit of Vermont’s future progressivism, this attack was the very first victory of the American Revolution. Like many of Vermont’s firsts, this victory led to many additional great things for our nation.

USAFWhat else we got? Well, we have a serious of flying air demonstrations with all sorts of jets, parachutes, and someone called a ‘Wingwalker.’ I’m not sure exactly what this fellow will be doing but I’m sure it’ll be mighty impressive.

The event is expected to attract up to 40,000 folks a day (wow!), so there’s plenty on the schedule to attract anyone who likes looking up at the sky and listening to a lot of ‘oh’s’ and ‘ah’s’. Event runs from 9-4 each day so be sure to stop by for a truly unique experience on our beautiful waterfront. I’ve also heard there’s a great crepe place nearby with lots of live music and tasty food specials ; ).

New Food Specials

The 99% Burger

This burger is packed local and housemade ingredients. A 6 ounce VT Beef patty, topped with Cabot cheddar cheese, housemade 1000 Island dressing, housemade Bread & Butter pickles, and Jericho Settlers Farms romaine lettuce. Served with a side of fires and a pickle…12.95

Summer Melon Salad

Pitchfork Farms arugula tossed in honey lemon vinaigrette topped with Norris Berry Farm cantaloupe, local cucumbers, crispy prosciutto, and Hi Land Farms chèvre…10.95

The Taco The Town

Local chorizo sausage, VT Bean Crafters black beans, Champlain Creamery queso fresco, fire roasted Pitchfork Farms bell peppers and roasted onions inside a cumin cilantro crepe shell. Served with a side of local greens and housemate tomatillo salsa…12.95

Blueberry Yum Yums

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Howdy Folks!

Rejoice! The Blueberries are here! And we wouldn’t be a local food restaurant if we weren’t taking advantage of the sweet and savory opportunities provided by these little bundles of joy.

While our Burlington Waterfront location is emphasizing the sweet side of these berry good blues – our mobile operations have also been providing some interesting takes on the sticky sweetness this fruit can provide in season. At one of our favorite weekends of the year, Grey Fox Bluegrass Festival, our crew took some VT Creamery Chevre and paired it with some Bluebs from just down the road for a swavory treat. At Summervale this past week, we doubled down on the blue, combining the fruit with Jasper Hill’s Bayley Hazen Blue cheese. Oh blueberry yum yums, so many ways you can fulfill our urge.

And, alas, I’ll leave y’all with a blueberry joke:

What do you get when 500 blueberries go through a door at the same time?

Answer: A blueberry jam!

New Food Specials (Burlington Waterfront)

Little Italy

VT Smoke & Cure sweet Italian sausage, Jericho Settler Farms cherry tomatoes, Maplebrook Farms mozzarella, and local roasted broccolini inside a basil crepe shell. Served with a side of local greens…12.95

Blueberry Lemonade Crepe

Norris Berry Farm blueberries, lemon juice, and granulated sugar wrapped in a sweet crepe shell topped with powder sugar and side of Cabot whipped cream…5.75

Weekend Brunch Special (Served Saturday & Sunday until 2:00pm)

Lemon Blueberry French Toast

Three slices of housemate lemon poppy seed bread topped with Norris Berry Farm blueberry jam and side of Cabot whipped cream…9.50

Ohhhh…Summervale: We Love You!

Howdy Folks,

Vermont Brewfest has come and gone which means the season of Waterfront festivals is officially in full swing. With marquee weekends like Tumble Down, Maritime and Grand Point North on the horizon, let’s first take a step back and see what else is going on in less touristy parts of town.

One of our favorite weekly get-togethers anywhere in the world, never mind just Vermont, is the majestic, revelatory experience that is Summervale on Burlington’s Intervale. This magical evening of local food, craft beer and cider, live music and agricultural celebration is certainly a can’t miss of the summer.

After a couple mis-fires with weather the first couple weeks, last night’s event was in full swing. If you’re new to town or never been – be sure to check one out this year. The summers in Vermont come fast and furious, and they’re over before you know it, so head down to the Intervale one Thursday night. The evening is truly one of the most best expressions of the joy that is a Vermont summer night.

On to specials and events…

Specials

The “Charred” Mushroom Burger 

A 6 oz local beef patty topped with Boggy Meadow Fiddlehead Tomme, garlic wilted Pitchfork Farms Swiss chard, chanterelle mushrooms, and a garlic herb aioli. Served with a side of fries and a pickle..12.50

Summer Stir Fry Crepe

A wasabi scallion crepe shell filled with Pitchfork Farms peppers, onions, bok choy, carrots, and snap peas tossed in a housemade stir fry sauce. Topped with a soy glaze and served with a side of local greens..9.75

The Intervale

Local arugula pesto, Maplebrook Farms smoked mozzarella cheese and Jericho Settler Farms tomatoes on housemade focaccia. Served with a side of local greens and a pickle..9.95

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Tall Tall Trees

Mike Savino is not your grandaddy’s banjo player, and Tall Tall Trees is definitely not your average indie-folk outfit from NYC. Whether performing with a full band or solo, Savino runs his instrument, dubbed by fans as the “space banjo” or “banjotron”, through a slab of effects and loopers, bowing, drumming, and strumming out multi-textured arrangements on the fly to support his lyrically driven songs. Most recently, Tall Tall Trees has been touring the US and Canada collaborating with beatboxing violinist, and of Montreal alum, Kishi Bashi.

“Bearded man sings songs, violates banjo” – CMJ

New events posted all the time!

Subscribe to our events on Facebook

View our Full Music Calendar on our website

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www.skinnypancake.com

#lovelocal

Crepes + Tunes = Love

 

Hey Folks, We’ve got an incredible music line up of music and events for the month of June…

In Hanover:

Madaila Benefit for Vital Communities

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The Skinny Pancake Hanover is super excited to bring one of Burlington’s biggest bands, Madaila, to the Upper Valley! Proceeds will go to Vital Communities, a local non-profit dedicated to making our region a better place to live, work, and play. Get your tickets now! $10 adv/ $12 door.

 

Bow Thayer Residency!

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Every Wed in June 8:30-11pm

Website – Facebook

Bow Thayer’s music is always evolving—from luscious backwoods folk rock to the progressive explorations of his last album, Eden. Bow had the joy of introducing the Bojotar to fans and friends alike, including some of his musical peers and heroes such as Bela Fleck, Richard Thompson, The Steep Canyon Ramblers and Warren Haynes.

 

Bluegrass Brunch

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Every Sunday at Noon

Everyone knows – Sundays are for Brunch. But, adding live Bluegrass music from the best of local pickers!? Yes, that’s exactly what we’ve done. Come see for yourself!

 

In Burlington: 

Harsh Armadillo

Harsh Armadillo

Friday June 24th – $5

Harsh Armadillo is a 9-piece steamroller out of Portsmouth, New Hampshire. They combine funk and hip-hop roots to produce an original live sound that gets the party thumpin’—It’s all about bringing you deep into that pocket groove, and then spitting you back out with a melted face and burnt insoles. Come experience the love.

 

Summervale

Can’t wait for the first Summervale on July 7? Join us on Tuesday, June 28 from 6 – 8 PM at Skinny Pancake for “Green Drinks” to get ready for a stellar Summervale 2016 season!
 
Summervale is the Intervale Center’s community celebration of local food, farms, family and friends. Summervale takes place every from July 7 – August 25 from 5:30-8 p.m. with live music, local food, Slow Food Vermont tastings, City Market activities, and more! Free admission (donations gratefully accepted), with food and drinks for sale from 13 local vendors including Skinny Pancake and Citizen Cider.
 
All Summervale proceeds benefit the Intervale Center’s work strengthening community food systems in Vermont. A non-profit since 1988, the Intervale Center believes that good food can change the world.  They manage 350 acres of land for sustainable agriculture, conservation and recreation in the heart of Burlington;  work statewide to help farmers strengthen their businesses; protect Vermont’s water quality by planting 20,000 native trees across the state each year; and ensure that anyone who wants delicious, fresh local food can access it.

New events posted all the time!

Subscribe to our events on Facebook

View our Full Music Calendar on our website

Follow us on Soundcloud

www.skinnypancake.com

#lovelocal