11.07.2012

Esperanto marches its Doughboys into Burlington, Vt.



 

Esperanto, the little restaurant at 4 Caroline St., seems uniquely Saratogian to Spa City dwellers. The eatery has been part of the downtown scene since 1995, and owner Will Pouch has created a menu rich in authentic ethnic foods and healthy street-vendor fare. Esperanto’s signature offering is the Doughboy, sautéed chicken breast diced and spiced, blended with cheeses and scallions, and wrapped in fresh pizza dough to bake golden brown. The vegetarian Doughgirl serves veggies instead of chicken. Diners can also find burritos, falafel, and jambalaya.

And now, diners in Burlington, Vt., can enjoy Saratoga’s favorites as well. Pouch opened his second Esperanto, on Burlington’s Main Street back in September. The dining room is one and a half times the size of the Saratoga joint’s, but the menu is nearly the same.

“We are creating regional specials that use local produce, especially from the farmers’ market,” said Chris Biddle, the Saratoga Esperanto’s general manager. “We’d like to use Vermont Cabot cream cheese for the Doughboys.”

Downtown Burlington features either fancy sit-down restaurants or standing-room-only eateries, Biddle said. Esperanto, with its casual-dining feel and easily portable food, fits right in the middle in its own niche. It has taken some time to introduce Burlington residents to the restaurant, but now business is picking up.

“We went around one day handing out Doughboys,” he said. “After that, we had plenty of customers. They also like the tacos and burritos.”

Future plans include more marketing in Burlington as well as expanding into other college towns. Pouch’s five-year plan is to look into such locations as Ithaca, New Paltz, and Amherst and North Adams in Massachusetts.

“People love us so much here,” Biddle said. “So we want to open as many other restaurants as we can, creating good-paying quality jobs.”

The Burlington Esperanto has a great perk, he noted.

“We have an amazing view of Lake Champlain,” he said. “It’s so cool to look out at New York State there on the other side of the lake.”

--Jennie

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