Haymaker Bun Co. and The Arcadian reflect on a year

By HAEUN PARK

BENJY RENTON
Caroline and Matt Corrente, owners of Haymaker Bun Co. and The Arcadian, are set to host a four-course dinner for 60 people to celebrate the one-year anniversary of both service establishments.

Caroline and Matt Corrente, owners of Haymaker Bun Co. and The Arcadian, are spending a lot of time reflecting on the last 12 months. This Sunday marks the one-year anniversary of both eateries, a milestone that the Correntes are celebrating by hosting a special four-course dinner. The event, announced on their Facebook page at the end of October, sold out within five days, capped at 60 reservations.

Both Haymaker Bun Co. and The Arcadian are located at 7 Bakery Lane. During the daytime, the riverside building is under Caroline’s domain, where her Haymaker staff serves French pastries, buns and café drinks. By night it transforms into the Arcadian, a restaurant that hosts an Italian fine-dining experience run by her husband, Matt.

“In the morning, I’m trying to channel this French, metropolitan-focused bakery with an excellent coffee program and a really tight collection of ever-changing pastries,” Caroline said. “Then it flips to nighttime, where we are trying to do modern Italian [food] with fresh, handmade pastas, wonderful fish, and great, Italian wines. They’re two different vibes which is refreshing, but they work very well together.”

The dual space, formerly The Lobby, opened in November 2018.

“The fact that it’s been a year [since opening] is crazy,” Caroline said. “In one sense it feels like the time has just flown by, and in another sense it feels like I’ve been doing this forever. I can’t really remember life before this place.”

Running the two businesses hasn’t been without trial and tribulation. Due to the old age of the building, the Correntes ran into heating issues in their first winter. Their hood system had sucked all the heat out of the building and caused it to run cold for a few months. The couple also had to replace a broken main oven. Caroline Corrente said that before Haymaker, she wasn’t very familiar with staff management, something that she credits her husband as having more experience with.

“It’s been a learning curve coming into restaurant ownership,” Caroline said. “Matt has a lot more experience than I do. Overall, we’ve been really lucky with just a great team here.”

Although the two restaurants are relatively new, the Correntes are not new to the area. The couple moved to Middlebury from Burlington in the summer of 2015, three years after Caroline graduated from the University of Vermont. Before starting on their own venture, Matt worked as the head chef of Two Brothers Tavern and as opening chef at Notte. Caroline worked as a baker at Otter Creek Bakery at that time.

“I think that we were attracted to Middlebury in the first place because it’s not just a plain old small town in Vermont,” Matt said. “The college keeps the town current. It brings in new faces year after year, and that to me gives Middlebury something that a lot of small towns don’t have: a sense of worldliness.” 

Matt also mentioned that many Italian Professors from the College have come to the Arcadian. “It’s nice to have them show up and tell us that we have spelling errors in our menus and keep us honest in that regard.”

The couple emphasizes the importance of what the community brings to their business.

“I’m overwhelmed by the support that we’ve gotten from the community in general,” Caroline said. “At Haymaker, it’s so wonderful to see friends bumping into each other and sitting together when they hadn’t planned to see each other that morning. Members of the community having a place to come together is wonderful.”

Overall, Matt and Caroline emphasized the relationship between their businesses and their community.

“People are using us to celebrate the best things that are happening in their lives,” Matt said. “We are very humbled by that. Making other people happy through our food and service is what keeps us coming back every day to do it.”

When looking towards the future, Haymaker Bun Co. and The Arcadian are thinking about extending their hours in the morning and expanding their lunch options. They also mentioned potentially expanding to a barn location due to their popularity.

“We want to be able to say yes to everybody who wants to come in and eat,” Matt said. “There’s always those big college weekends where we feel like we just need a big room that we can put everybody in and feed them. We’ll see if the barn ever turns into a reality.”

Ultimately, the celebratory anniversary dinner represents not only the passion the Correntes have for the food that they make, but also their fondness for the town of Middlebury.

“I love what we do here,” Caroline said. “I love making people happy with great food and great wine. I love giving people these great experiences both in day and night time. I love being able to support local farms and producers and give roughly 35 amazing individuals a job here. All these things accumulate and just make me wake up excited and energized every day.”

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