Crop Bistro and Brewery on the Mountain Road is headed in a new direction, with a familiar hand on the helm.
Michael and Laura Kloeti, proprietors of Michael’s on the Hill Restaurant in Waterbury Center, will take control as co-owners with Bill Davis, who has owned the property since 1994.
Patrons can expect a new menu, new management and a fresh feel, but “we’ve only just started,” said Laura Kloeti.
Crop will close briefly next week, taking May 11-13 to train staff and make some bigger changes. A new menu will launch May 14, but the full effect won’t be complete until later in the summer, with a possible name change in the fall.
“We want the staff to provide good service and want to provide good food,” Kloeti said. “We want people to come in and feel like they’re taken care of.”
Even in a well-respected restaurant, it can be difficult to retain talented employees — there is a finite amount of growth possible when working in a small establishment. The addition of the new enterprise will allow for restructuring of management, kitchen brigade and staff, as well as opportunities to get creative with menus at both locations.
“Michael’s is on cruise control now,” Kloeti said. “We’ve got such great staff there, and we want them to have an opportunity to grow.”
A handful of menu items from Michael’s on the Hill have made their way onto the current Crop menu, including luscious Vermont cheddar fritters with fire-roasted jalapeno and lime aioli.
Kloeti said more of Crop’s own beers, made under the brewmastery of Will Gilson, will be incorporared into the cuisine, such as a rich and flaky caramelized onion and gruyere tart made with Crop Helles lager.
Pastry chef Alex Cavalli has been experimenting with a wort reduction incorporated into an oatmeal cookie, which will add a sweet, beery aftertaste to an ice cream sandwich made with the confection.
The s’more pie from the recent “Michael’s Diner” restaurant week menu may make its way over as well; it’s a nostalgic confection of sweet chocolate, salty graham crust and silky, scorched housemade marshmallow on a swath of berry sauce.
While the new location won’t have the same fine-dining feel — or price point — as Michael’s on the Hill, the commitment to Vermont ingredients will remain the same, with locally sourced produce, and plans for a garden in the space behind the patio.
“We really love this place,” said Kloeti, citing strong community ties to Stowe — the Kloetis live in the town — and a desire to create great experiences for patrons, especially local customers, with family-style and community events.
“This has always been a place where people gather,” Kloeti said of the Crop building.
The site’s history dates back to a blacksmith shop and cider mill in the 1800s; more recently, it was home to the locally beloved Shed Restaurant.
“We want to bring that back,” Kloeti said.