By Lettie Stratton
Shelburnites are probably familiar with The Lemon Peel on Falls Road, but they may not have yet met its new owner and head chef, Michael Orfan. He has been open for business full time for about four weeks and said he’s starting to see some regular clientele come into the café.
After attending culinary school in New Jersey, Orfan was in and out of several restaurants and worked in fine French dining for 10 years before coming to Vermont. He said he might eventually change the name of his new Shelburne establishment, but for now, “The Lemon Peel” is familiar.
Once he gets settled in, Orfan said he may hold a grand opening but for now he’s trying to keep it casual. Previously, The Lemon Peel offered crepes and some soups but Orfan has expanded the menu to include paninis, a full breakfast menu, baked goods, and more. “Everything is made here from scratch,” he said. A quick glance at the menu will leave your mouth watering for a taste of Orfan’s handiwork. With Heirloom Squash Risotto, Jack-O-Lantern Bisque, Apple Bacon Gruyere Panini, and more, you can’t go wrong. “The omelets seem to be popular no matter what I put in them,” he said.
Orfan cooks with simple, raw ingredients. “It’s the nuts and bolts of food,” he said. His goal is to get 80-90 percent seasonal and local ingredients whenever possible. Right now, he does as much as he’s able to source and afford. Orfan changes up his menu about once a week and plans to make his dishes more intricate and involved as time goes on.
After a pending application for a beer and wine license, Orfan wants to offer tapas, house-made charcuterie (his specialty), and music on Friday and Saturday nights. He’s also in search of local artists to display their work on the walls of The Lemon Peel, so stop by 195 Falls Road in Shelburne to inquire or to try a delicious baked good. This writer recommends the cinnamon buns!