3.27.2012

Not the same

I went to the Prohibition Pig in Waterbury for the first time last week. It was kind of a jarring and disorienting experience -- a good metaphor for post Irene life in the village -- as things have changed.

The awkwardly-named Prohibition Pig has moved into the old Alchemist space. 
Inside the restaurant, the space is the same:  But it's not.  The bar has moved outwards, the pool table is gone, there are new bathrooms (these two items count as good things), the strange and eclectic art on the walls is gone, and the overall effect is rather more sterile and cold.

I think that the missing artwork contributed to my sense of dislocation more than anything else:  I felt like the ghost of Rod Serling would walk through door, cigarette in hand, and portentously intone:
"Waterbury, Vermont, things look the same... but they're not.  What's changed?  Are the residents of this Vermont village living in the Twilight Zone?" 
But what about the food and 'libations'?  I had a burger ($8 -- and the burger came with a pickle, and nothing else, not even a lonely potato chip), a beer ($7.50 for a full pour) and then the Pig's version of a half pour -- really, a very inconsequential, trivial snifter of beer, which cost $3.25 -- so this experience cost over $20 with tax and tip, which was rather rich for my taste and wallet.  I did not think it was a good value.  

Finally as someone who has spent a certain amount of time in North Carolina and Florida I tend to be unenthralled about the notion of Southern food in Northern climes -- I just don't associate Vermont with grits and collards.  And Waterbury already has a southern themed barbeque joint... the Cider House (which admittedly has a very different vibe).

So I would say that the jury is still out on the Prohibition Pig.  It's different and a lot pricier than the establishment it replaced -- no more $4 beers. The Alchemist was very popular and drew people from all over and pretty much single-handedly jump started nightlife in this small town.  We'll see how the new place evolves.  It would count as a good thing if Waterbury has a night-time parking problem again. 

The Alchemist is dead.  Long live the Alchemist (in memory, anyway).