by Carla Occaso
MONTPELIER — The tortoise that used to reside in the children’s book room of the former Rivendell Books has moved across the street into Bear Pond Books and workers have already started toiling away to turn the building on the corner of Langdon and Main into a restaurant.
Mary Alice Proffitt, of Calais by way of Georgia and North Carolina, is renting the property at 100 Main St. from Karl Miller. Proffitt said she has teamed up with restaurateur Jimmy Kennedy of Mississippi to serve “Southern comfort” food. Kennedy is well known in central Vermont for running the popular River Run restaurant in Plainfield for many years. Proffitt, standing in front of the property dressed in blue jeans and a bandana on April 13, said she did not have time to answer more questions because she had to get back to work.
The project came to public attention when Proffitt submitted plans to the Design Review Committee and then the Development Review Board. The Design Review Committee recommended approval for her application for design review, change-of-use and site plan during its March 24 meeting, pending assurance that a ramp to allow wheelchair access would be made out of extremely durable material, such as granite or metal, to protect it from the sidewalk snowplow. In addition, Proffitt has asked for and received permission to install windows on the wall facing Langdon street that currently is covered in red clapboards. The windows would be either four double hung windows (such as are in the upper floors) or two large picture windows. Proffitt also plans to create a new sign and awning. The application has also received approval on April 6 from the Development Review Board.
The property is on the National Register of Historic Places.