The Lobby, chef Michael Mahe’s most recent restaurant, opened for business on Feb. 15 on Bakery Lane. The French chef said that he’d been interested in Middlebury “for ten years, but finally got it.” The building formerly housed the restaurant Jackson’s on the River.
The Lobby serves a variety of dishes, including five different burgers, several salads, vegetarian and vegan options, and entrees such as scallops in lobster sauce and grilled chicken with french fries. The Lobby opens for dinner starting at 5 pm, and will begin serving lunch on Feb. 24.
The restaurant’s vintage decorations and lighting give it a fun atmosphere, said owner Michael Mahe.
“It’s different from the other restaurants, so I think that it’ll add to the town,” he said. The lounge includes 1920’s furniture, a dark hardwood bar and a projector that displays retro food pictures that would make Instagram users jealous.
Above the bar stands a plaque which features a quote from early twentieth century comedian W.C. Fields: “Once during prohibition I was forced to live on nothing but food and water.” That particular decoration is one of Mahe’s favorites.
In addition to the bar, the lounge area offers a space for patrons to relax or enjoy appetizers. The unique multi-leveled upstairs offers patrons a view of the river outside, and downstairs is a “lounge-bar-hangout zone,” said Mahe.
“They’re all unique, my restaurants, but this is just the route we decided to take here,” Mahe said of the refined yet playful ambiance. “Our motto here is let’s have some fun.”
Mahe is not new to the food service industry in Vermont. He currently owns several other eateries around the state, including Black Sheep Bistro in Vergennes, The Bobcat Café and Brewery in Bristol and The Bearded Frog in Shelburne Village.
The Lobby’s gourmet food is cheaper than some local restaurants’, like American Flatbread or the Storm Cafe. “I think what the Bobcat has shown me is if you create a local place that is affordable, accessible and casual enough, people will show up in droves,” Mahe said.
Prices for the burgers range from 11 dollars for a traditional burger to 17 dollars for the more expensive lamb burger.
“I would say it’s under market as far as what we’re charging” said Mahe.
To make a reservation, call (802)-989-7463, or visit www.lobbyrestaurantvt.com.