To all of you....
01 October 2020

How to possibly convey the magnitude and spectrum of emotions that bubble to the surface when reflecting on all that The Eatery is, and has been. While we were the temporary gatekeepers that gave a special building steeped in history another incarnation, it was you all that made it what it became, and what it was. It was a unique place of gathering that again and again seemed to magnetically attract such an abundance of kind souls and good energy. Strangers became regulars, guests became friends, and many of those we worked with are, and will continue to be, close like family.

In many ways, the Eatery fueled itself, though not without the tremendous effort and dedication of the finest restaurant team imaginable (and human beings in general). There were too many smiles and too much laughter to even begin to recount the tales, though there's never really ever too much of either in life. Moments of joy and grief and everything in between, as is only right when life is lived to the fullest; honest and authentic.

It's been an honor to be there for you when you celebrated special occasions and momentous transitions, and a pleasure to be there for those spontaneous pop-ins, as well. We picked up food from farms and farmers we call friends. We heard stories and learned much from passionate people doing what they do with integrity. It was important to us to support these folks and exceptional craftspeople, and you supported them by supporting us. It was meaningful to know and relay to you where the food we prepared was grown and by whom. It is empowering to be connected to the food we eat in an age of industrialized food systems and disconnection from the natural world. We structured our practices to be in accord with the international Slow Food organization and encourage folks to support other endeavors that strive to do the same.

It wasn't always easy, in fact it rarely was. The highs were as fulfilling and joyous as the challenges were inversely mirrored. But it was because of the nourishment of community and connection that we gave it our all and that made it all worth it. We never ran a restaurant before and honestly had very little experience. We learned on the fly and also intentionally did things different. We cooked with care and love because we were so often cooking for family, friends, neighbors. The world became a bit smaller at The Eatery. Neighbors met. Chairs pivoted and tables talked. There was a palpable sense of friendliness and connection and a melting of division. Food and drink, the great common denominators, paired with kindness and a building established to provide for the community and that did so for almost two hundred years... We got to be a part of that, and to some degree facilitate that experience for you all. Now it's time. We're hanging the keys back on the wall. It's been truly an honor.

For all those who were a part of it in any capacity at all, thank you. From guests, to purveyors, to staff, I think we all might find some warmth and nourishment in knowing that things like this are possible and can exist, even if just for fleeting moments in time. In our case with the Eatery, it was just shy of seven years. It's surreal. And sad. And also a really, really good thing. And though it's the end of an era for the Williamsville Eatery, it's still our home and community that we value dearly, so we'll be around...

With love and respect,

An epic adventure....has come to an end. After months of discussion, the three of us have decided to say goodbye to the Eatery and close it down.

There is one special individual responsible for what has unfolded in this beautiful and historic building for the past 6+ years - Robert Goldenhill. Thank you, Rob, for putting your trust in Dylan, Lauri, and me. And for the opportunity to create a sweet spot for our beloved community of Williamsville.

To Bob Crego, our mastermind business plan guru and financial wizard, who shepherded us through the complicated process of becoming a real restaurant.

Lauri's parents, Gene and Betty Horton, were so key to getting us open with their creative problem solving and hands-on labor.

My Dad, Walt Richardson, and his wife Sue, who supported and encouraged us from the west coast. They were able to experience, in person, the warm buzz of a busy night before he died.

And finally, a heart-felt thank you to our intrepid staff members. You all were so instrumental to the magic that happened here. The depth of your talents and work ethic was inspiring. I know you all will have success in your future endeavors.

Our intention, from our earliest conversations between the three of us, was to make this place for the village of Williamsville-our home since 1987. We wanted to make food that we enjoyed making for ourselves at home, using ingredients that were locally grown as much as possible. We were inspired by the principles and ethics of the international Slow Food Movement, and our goal of earning the coveted Snail of Approval award was realized in the summer of 2015. We also knew we wanted to be members of the Vermont Fresh Network, and for the past 3 years we have earned their Gold Barn Honor status, which acknowledges the many tens of thousands of dollars our little establishment has contributed to Vermont's local agricultural economy.

I mention all of this because it circles back to you, dear friends and guests of the Eatery-these were your dollars. Your support, and sharing your enthusiasm about the Eatery with friends and family, fueled us and inspired us. We'll always remember the raucous happy birthday sing-alongs, the romantic moments we witnessed, and being a part of engagements, births, and yes, even deaths. We were honored to be a part of your lives in that extraordinary building - these are sweet memories, indeed.

With gratitude,

I write to you feeling equally broken hearted and relieved that we are closing the Eatery. With challenges beyond the pandemic, the pandemic sealed the decision that I had been resisting tooth and nail. And yet, I have reached clarity that our decision will support each of us Richardsons.

So much to reflect on.
I had never worked in a restaurant, nor had any desire to; all that changed seven years ago. The opportunity to create an environment with two of the most special people in my life, in Williamsville-our own cherished community, in the historic and magical Williamsville General Store... thank you Rob Goldenhill!

From the get-go, serving our friends and neighbors felt more like a party than work. And each year, the party grew. Over the years, we witnessed the full expression of human life-marriages, births, birthdays and anniversaries, illnesses and recoveries, as well as loss-the passing of beloved guests.

The Eatery was what it was thanks to a constellation of people. My parents, Betty and Gene Horton worked from the conception, helping with carpentry, upholstery, fashioning the interior. Even the front wooden screen door through which you entered in the warm seasons was made by my dad. And how fortunate we are to live in a community of talented, generous craftspeople who left their mark in stone, metal, clay, and wood.

Thank you Bob Crego and Megan Richardson. If it wasn't for you two, the Eatery would not have experienced the success it did.

People often marveled about the Eatery's spirited vibe, that the whole staff seemed to sincerely enjoy the work and each other's company. So true. Dylan and Glenn and I were blessed to work with a uniquely blended Eatery family, with whom hosting each night's party was a joy.

With giddy pride, I served you our beautiful food. And with mental images of our local farmers who grew so many of the ingredients-I was confident that the food was going to nourish you.

Finally, without You Dear Guests, there never would have been an Eatery. You animated our space with your smiles and laughter, rich conversations, friendship and hugs. At the end of the evening when you all left and we turned off the music, we basked in an exhausted, exhilarated, dreamlike buzz. Thank you for your piece in creating the beautiful mosaic of Eatery memories.

With love, and joy to have crossed paths!