story and photos by Vicky Tebbetts
WOODBURY — It’s hard to miss the purple flag waving vigorously above Route 14 in Woodbury, proclaiming “food” in golden letters. Late summer’s flowers tumble from planters attached to several wooden benches, framed against an impeccably redone building with a hand-lettered sign. It’s … well … pretty.
But don’t let its high-end charm fool you. This is a store for everybody: It’s enchanted, and it’s rural Woodbury. Inside the Woodbury Village Store, Jasper Hill’s Bayley Hazen Blue and Vermont Brie from Blythedale Farm could be matched with Rice-a-Roni and Pringles. Bud Light and Michelob are offered alongside Boyden Valley Honey Hopper, with 14th Star’s Golden Wheat from Saint Albans, and Sunshine and Happiness from Middlebury’s Drop-In Brewing among those on tap.
Proprietor Jessica Waters and her husband Zach Kirkpatrick opened the store five months ago. Their mission is clear: “We are here for the community and we carry what people want — not what we want.” So it’s okay if worlds collide at the Woodbury Village Store. It appears to be working with an inventory that is a mix for everyone. If you need a notary, live bait, ice, an ATM or to weigh your deer this coming November, look no further — undeniably, the Woodbury Village Store has a strong local following.
Conveniences aside, at the Woodbury Village Store, pizza is the center of the universe. We’re talking homemade, handcrafted, make-your-dreams-come true pizza pies created by Kirkpatrick. Kirkpatrick started cooking when he was six, barbecuing when he was 12 and smoking meat at age 16.
Meet homemade sauce, hand-tossed crust, and the Psychedelic Woodchuck. With ham, pepperoni, bacon, and sausage on a magically concocted, mouth-watering barbecue base, Kirkpatrick says that this combo draws people from all over. Veggie lovers, don’t fret – there’s a Psychedelic Vegetarian, too. “Our main focus is food,” noted Waters. “An hour after picking up a pizza, people have called to say, ‘that was the best pizza of my life.’”
The word has spread that the new store owners make great pizza. Central Vermont Realtor Martha Lange, who has a summer camp on Woodbury Lake, decided to give it a try. “When I asked for the pizza menu,” said Lange, “they responded, ‘We will help you live your dreams when it comes to pizza!’” From the choice of any topping they wanted, they decided upon three pies: the Specialty, the Hawaiian and the Brisket with cheddar and onions. “They all had incredible, home-cooked flavor,” said Lange, who appreciates the service, as well. “It’s always nice to chat with the owner and chef of the food you’re eating, and hear about the local food providers they support.”
Beyond pizza, Kirkpatrick smokes brisket, pork shoulder, ribs and wings out back, much of which originates at Greensboro’s Sawmill Brook Farm. The savory, smoky finished products are featured in recipes such as the signature “steak bomb,” or offered for sale by the pound. Potato, macaroni and other classic salads made from scratch are popular, and homemade spreads such as pesto mayo dress the deli meat sandwiches. Things will shift a bit for the coming winter, when Waters ushers in center-stage crock pots of soup and chili.
If you’re still not sure, Waters and Kirkpatrick encourage you to give it a taste: Anything. Go ahead. Have a nibble. “We want people to come out of their comfort zones and try new things,” said Waters. Even if you buy something and don’t like it, you may return it. The entire store is covered by a 100% guarantee (with the exception of beer on tap).
The Woodbury Village Store somehow manages to make the most of the food as well as the convenience needs of rural Vermont. It all becomes obvious, once you hear more about Waters’s background as a professional organizer, Kirkpatrick talks about his love for “spectacular” eats, and the former innkeepers (who now live above the store) detail their 80-hour work week. They know how to make it beautiful while welcoming everyone. It’s pretty, it’s eclectic, it’s convenience-store basic and it works together in harmony: one pizza at a time.
Woodbury Village Store Grand Opening Party
Saturday, September 17, 2 – 6 p.m.
What do you get when you cook up some music, meat on the smoker, giveaways, and a corn-hole competition? A grand opening! The Woodbury Village Store will host its Grand Opening on September 17 with special guest Chad Hollister rocking the crowd. If you haven’t visited the Woodbury Village Store yet, here’s a great opportunity. Located on Rt. 14 and Valley Lake Rd., Woodbury.