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Let me begin by shamelessly pandering to the students who may be reading this post, and say that this downtown venue is a beautiful space that could significantly enhance your social life. High ceilings, brick walls, exposed pipes, and ample room for live music and other performance ops — this is not your sketchy dive bar. At least it shouldn’t be. Nor should it be an extension of the Gamut Room or the Grille. We’ve talked a lot about how this space should look, feel, and function, and a vision for the place has gradually come into focus. Here it is so far.

  • First of all, who is “we”? So far, we’ve followed a pretty loose process in planning for this space. Basically, I’ve met with a dozen students or so since the middle of the summer, and consulted, as needed, with other administrators. This is not a closed planning group, and we’d love to have more participants — students, faculty, and staff. If you are interested in getting involved, please let me know. I will also be sending an email inviting participation within the next week.

  • We are committed to expanding the “we” beyond the College, and establishing a programming board that includes representatives from town. To that end, an important next step will be to hold a meeting with interested townspeople.

  • The College is now in the process of applying to the state for a license that will allow us to serve beer and wine. We are considering the possibility of serving dinners five nights a week — say, from 6:00 to 9:00 p.m. based on a menu of local and organic foods. Under this arrangement, we could invite guest chefs from area restaurants to cook and serve meals. Dolci could be part of this mix.

  • The College will manage and operate the space. However, within that framework there will be room for a wide range of programming. For instance, dinners might include live music, from student bands or a cappella groups. After 9:00 p.m. on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday nights, the venue would function as a bar/nightclub, and feature live music, deejays, and perhaps dancing. The programming board would be responsible for setting the stage. As a licensed space, the venue would be open to all.

  • Atmosphere: slightly upscale, urban-Euro feel, with a focus on the arts, especially digital media (imagine video art projected on a wall). Bistro seating with plenty of room for people to stand and talk. Noise levels should not prevent conversation. Capacity will be about 120.

  • What will happen during the day? A lot rides on this question, and the answer will be a gauge of town/gown collaboration. The venue should be a place where the town and college meet — a civic center of sorts, where community groups can gather and people from the College share their work with the larger public, and vice versa. For instance, suppose we scheduled one class a week in the space, and townspeople were invited to attend and participate? This kind of cooperative venture will be crucial to the success of this project, and a subject the programming board will want to address.

  • What should we call this place? Here’s a suggestion: 51 Main Street (yes, that’s the address). Please share your ideas in the comments section.

No Responses to “The space formerly known as Eat Good Food”

  1. Hallie says:

    I know that I, and I think other students as well, would like to feel more involved with the town of Middlebury. I think using the new space as a community center during daytime hours will help fulfill that, as long as the events that take place there are not just college events transplanted to a new location. I hope the community will take an active role in programming as well.

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