Charis Churchill and Aaron Scoti established Bent Nails Bistro on October 25, 2021, at 4 Langdon St., a prime location in Montpelier’s downtown area. Previously occupied by Sweet Melissa’s and the Langdon Street Café, both known for their musical ambiance and limited food offerings, the venue holds historical significance as the birthplace of the renowned musical “Hadestown,” developed by Vermont-born artist Anais Mitchell. Churchill and Scoti intend to maintain the establishment’s art-incubator atmosphere within Bent Nails Bistro.
Bent Nails Bistro proudly showcases Scoti‘s stunning found-object sculptural creations inspired by his renowned Bent Nails Studios in Marshfield. To add a touch of her creativity, Churchill, who has a background in costume design for Lost Nation Theater in Montpelier, personally upholstered the bar stools in various colors and materials. The intimate and inviting stage at the bistro serves as a platform for open-mic nights, comedy shows, and local bands, as well as captivating burlesque and drag performances. Upstairs, Churchill and Scoti rent Airbnb space, envisioning it as accommodation for touring acts performing at the venue or in the area.
The menu at Bent Nails Bistro features a delectable selection of European comfort food led by the culinary expertise of chef Stephanie Otten, who boasts a decade-long tenure at The Uncommon Market in Montpelier. Highlights include sandwiches such as the classic croque monsieur, a tantalizing Caprese melt, and nourishing spinach and kale salads. The main course offerings range from traditional favorites like coq au vin and boeuf Bourguignon to comforting classics like mac and cheese, gumbo, ratatouille, and spaghetti and meatballs.
Churchill brings over three decades of bartending experience to the establishment, including a stint at Sweet Melissa’s. At the same time, Scoti, garnered popularity as a musician, captivating audiences with energetic ’80s cover band performances at Sweet Melissa’s.
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, Sweet Melissa’s owner Melissa Bove Merrihew, realizing the challenges faced by venues, approached Ingham with an offer to take over the business. However, considering the uncertain circumstances, Scoti declined. Contemplating how to navigate the business landscape during widespread closures, Scoti found inspiration when Churchill proposed revitalizing the space together. With her extensive experience working in bars, Churchill’s proposition proved enticing to Scoti, leading to the establishment of Bent Nails Bistro on October 25, 2021.