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Friday, Dec 1, 2023

Newly opened Shiretown Marketplace serves up comfort and community

Located just past Twilight Hall and tucked into an offshoot of College Street is Shiretown Marketplace. A relatively new addition to the downtown Middlebury food scene, Shiretown is a burgeoning favorite among local residents and Middlebury College students alike. 

Open for breakfast and lunch Tuesday through Sunday, Shiretown Marketplace offers both a sit-down eatery and a marketplace, which sells locally sourced snacks and provisions. The marketplace also boasts an extensive selection of craft alcohols. 

Items on the breakfast menu include challah french toast and huevos rancheros, while popular meals on the lunch menu are the BBQ pork sandwich, french onion grilled cheese (a winter special) and the tri-tip sandwich.  

While providing a reliable selection of local favorites and comfort foods, the menu aims to also be dynamic and responsive. In an interview with The Campus, Shiretown owner Kevin Archambeault described how the business rotates menu items, explaining how some dishes might transition from brief featurettes to engrained staples. 

“We started on a monthly basis, switching out a number of different items while still keeping the tri-tip beef sandwich and pork sandwich as staples,” Archambeault said. “At this point, though, we are changing seasonally while also running a number of different specials each week and test marketing with those.”

The test marketing with which Shiretown is experimenting seems to be working, as students of the college have praised both the eatery and Archambeault.

“The staff are super friendly, and the owner is always asking my opinion on certain dishes. The food is so delicious and full of flavor,” Theo Kogan ’26 said. 

“I really like how Shiretown Market reminds me of back home. It has a great vibe and is incredibly homey, and it is an excellent place to study and chill out,” Jack Underwood ’26 said. 

Shiretown currently has six employees but is looking to expand come spring and summer. 

Future additions to the space include a renovation of the exterior patio in order to add seating and dining areas outside. They also plan to reopen the vital creemee stand, which made its first reappearance in summer 2022 after Shafer’s, which originally operated the stand, closed in 2021. 

As of now, Shiretown is able to host small group gatherings, comfortably seating 50-person events.

“We currently have an event coming up with the college where people are rotating through different tables while sampling different dishes,” Archambealt said. “We are available for banquets and small gatherings for private events, and the proximity to the college makes it easy for students to walk here for events and other functions.” 

 Originally from Greenwich, N.Y., Archambeault worked in restaurants throughout his school-aged years and began a career as a graphic designer and photographer in California in 2004. 

After meeting his wife in Hermosa Beach, Archambeault bounced up and down central California, before settling down in Paso Robles to begin work at an up-and-coming winery in 2009.

“Being a tasting room manager, I quickly realized that there was such a demand for food along with wine, which reignited my culinary side of things,” he said. “I started catering events at wineries and ended up catering barbecues for 250 to 300 people at a time at the Derby Wine Estates.”

Archambeault and his family left California in 2018 and moved back to the east coast to be closer to family. Settling down just south of Middlebury in Cornwall, Archambeault said he and his wife were intrigued by the array of craft beverage opportunities in Middlebury. 

After working for Otter Creek Brewing for a little while, he and his wife signed the lease on the current Shiretown space on College Street and began to realize a dream many years in the making. 

“I pushed myself to learn carpentry and remodeling, and as we moved into this space, my father and I did all of the work ourselves,” Archambeault added, referring to the personal family relics that adorn the store’s walls. “We tried to tie in all of these elements that told the story, and we wanted to make sure that we put our stamp on it. We want to have a story behind everything.”

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Archambeault’s work schedule is anything but light — he works in the restaurant from 5 a.m. until close, often staying later into the evening to ensure that all operations are running smoothly.

“I guess I never really dreamed that this would all happen,” he said. “But now that we are making it happen, it is not hard to wake up in the morning and come here. It is awesome.”

Cole Chaudhari

Cole Chaudhari '26 (he/him) is a Copy Editor and Staff Writer. He previously served as a News and Local section writer.   

Cole is majoring in History and English & American Literatures. This semester he is interning at a venture capital firm.   

In his free time, he enjoys playing with his dogs, socializing with friends, and shedding tears at YouTube compilations of the best moments in American sports history.