The New Kids in Town

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The New Kids in Town

Anna Maria Liccione

A happy Ian Keller, co-owner of The Hub Pizzaria and Pub

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When Ian Keller and Patrick Purcell bought the Hub Pizzeria and Pub in September 2011, they brought a fresh new perspective to the slowly declining “hub” of town.

Ian and Pat originally hail from Clark, N.J., but after being in Burlington for the past 10 years, they were ready for a new adventure. Johnson was calling to these entrepreneurs.

Prior to buying The Hub, Keller was the production manager at Select Design, a marketing company, and Purcell had been working at Higher Ground for many years. Both had also worked together at Red Square on Church St.

When they took over The Hub, the menu included 50 pizza options leading to an unmanageable amount of ingredients. They scaled down the menu to make it possible to keep the fresh ingredients in stock.

Now, every day, there is a specialty pizza, appetizer and panini sandwich. Other specials like poutine, chili and desserts can also be found from time to time.

One of their goals is to produce quality food for reasonable prices, using as many local products as possible.

Elmore Mountain Bread, Green Top Market Sausages, Cabot Cheddar and Long Trail Ale are all used in their recipes.

Keller and Purcell are looking forward to summer, where local produce can be found in proliferation.

In addition, Ian’s parents recently purchased a house in Wolcott, where Keller wants to have the ability to have a huge garden so he can grow many ingredients himself.

Keller, who has been cooking for years, is found most of the time behind the pizza counter doing what he loves: cooking.

Not only is The Hub a great place to get a bite to eat – it is also a great local music venue.

The Hub provides music and entertainment five days a week, Tuesday through Saturday, and often on Sunday as well.

“Pat is very good about going out and trying to find bands,” said Keller. With his Burlington and Higher Ground connections, Purcell is able to pull from a pool of talent.

The Hub has Seth Yacavone every Wednesday from 7-10 p.m. Dinner Jazz is on Thursday nights from 7-10 p.m.

Burlington-based indie/West African psychedelic funk ensemble Barika is one notable upcoming band, performing on Saturday, Feb. 4.

The ensemble includes Caleb Bronze (drums), JP Candelier (bass), Andric Severence (keyboards), Craig Myers (kamel n’goni, percussion), and a powerhouse of horns with Dave Purcell (trumpet), Gordon Clark (trombone) and Deva Racusin (tenor Sax). The cost will be $3 for the over-21 crowd and $5 for those under 21.

According to Keller, a new website is in the works right now, and he recently made all the items on the menu for a photo shoot.

“We just want to simplify,” he said, “to put some good high-quality pictures of the food in the space.”

Keller said delivery to the JSC campus may be a future option, “once I get clearance from the college that that’s okay to do.”

UVM students can get off-campus food delivered any time. JSC students and locals alike would like to see local food delivery from downtown.

“I want the people to have a place that they can come and eat and get a good meal all the time,” Keller said.

Loyal Hub customers have responded favorably to the changes, despite initial skepticism.

Striving for that mix of consistency and quality, one will still find some of the same people still working at the Hub, like Heather Maciag and Mark Martell, who continue to offer great service at tables and behind the bar.

But one will also find new faces, such as Purcell and Keller behind the bar and the pizza counter.

With the arrival of Ian’s parents comes a built-in handyman in his retired father.

His brother recently came to work with them at the restaurant, making this a family affair.

The Hub’s menus, including the daily specials, as well as a schedule of artists performing at the Hub and booking info for potential Hub performers, can be found online at the Hub’s website, www.thehubvt.com.

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