The Blue Paddle Bistro opened its doors almost seven years ago but its character, its ambiance, its success, indeed its very foundation are rooted in the friendship of nearly a quarter-century of its owners, Phoebe R. Bright and Mandy Hotchkiss.
It began as JM Noonies Deli in downtown Burlington — the first of a nine-deli operation — and matured through the usual trials and tribulations of life – as well as a few directional turns – finally blossoming into the Blue Paddle Bistro. Locals, tourists, and residents from all over northern Vermont, truly enjoy the atmosphere of this intimate and cozy restaurant.
“Our restaurant is truly a labor of love,” said Mandy. “We live - and work - in a great community, we love our customers, and we take a lot of pleasure in pleasing them with our food. We truly cherish each and everyone who compliments us by walking through our door.”
Phoebe R. Bright
In the years between JM Noonies and the opening of the Blue Paddle, Phoebe worked in several successful restaurants in Portland, Maine and New York City. She said her most exciting and rewarding culinary experience was working with chef/owner Anita Lo of Annisa, the famed restaurant in Lower Manhattan. In both taste and appearance, all the food which emerges from her Blue Paddle kitchen reflects her passion to create, with each and every order, a memorable repast. Phoebe maintains that her food is simple in nature. “I never want a plate to be pretentious – it’s about the flavors complimenting each other,” she said.
Mandy brings the business and people experiences of an eclectic variety of jobs, before and after JM Noonies, to management of the Blue Paddle. From a recreational sports position with the University of Vermont to managing a wooden canoe company, to running a rock climbing business in Maine and to other career adventures, Mandy fuels the excitement and energy evident every day at the Blue Paddle.