Plans are well underway to develop a major food, wine, and spirits center in Manchester, Vermont. Known as the Vermont Epicurean Center, the 30,000 square-foot facility will offer consumers the opportunity to experience a wide-range of culinary, wine, and spirits educational adventures.

Core elements of the Center will include a 200-seat signature restaurant, gourmet food market, butcher shop, cheese shop, brewpub, bakery café, culinary theater, hands-on teaching kitchen, dedicated wine and spirits tasting and education room, and extensive indoor and outdoor event space.

“The closest comparison to what we’re creating is Oscar Farinetti’s Eataly market concept, which has attracted top food and wine entrepreneurs worldwide,” notes Mark Vaughan, who, along with business partner Charley Dooley is developing the project. “The two main points of difference between an Eataly market and the Vermont Epicurean Center will be our strong focus on education and the close relationships we are forging with the Vermont, New England, and up-state New York farming communities.”

Adds Dooley, “We want visitors to have a holistic epicurean experience. They can come to the Center and take cooking, wine making, or brewing classes, eat in the restaurant or the pub, meet the growers at the farmers’ market, visit the farms, or have an event of their own. We intent to raise the bar on the farm-to-plate concept, not only by engaging farmers and quality food businesses, but by bringing the consumer into the process.”

The Center also will host courses, seminars, and conferences for culinary and beverage professional in the foodservice and hospitality industries, as well as on-going internships and externships for culinary and hospitality students and recent graduates. Just a few hours from major northeast metropolitan areas, Manchester is within easy driving distance for over 36 million people, making it an ideal culinary tourism destination.

The Vermont Epicurean Center is expected to open in 2016. For information about becoming a food, wine, spirits, or restaurant participating partner, email your request to