By Katy Savage
WOODSTOCK—Brandon Sharkey was hustling about the kitchen of his new restaurant, Eat Woodstock – making eggs and muffins, opening and closing the refrigerator while the other kitchen employees were doing the same.
“It’s hectic,” said Sharkey, the chef and owner who was learning how to organize the kitchen. “I need a station for all the things we sell the most,” he said. “You don’t know what you need out.”
Sharkey, 31, has been in the restaurant business for 16 years, learning under a variety of chefs in the area who specialize in all types of food, including Mexican, Thai and Italian. He was most recently the sous chef at Molly’s Restaurant and Bar in Hanover.
“I tried to learn as much as I could,” said Sharkey.
Sharkey had always dreamed of owning his own restaurant. He runs Eat Woodstock with his wife Darcy, 24. They live in White River Junction with their 1-year-old daughter, Rainey.
“We’re doing this all for her,” Darcy Sharkey said.
Both Sharkeys have restaurant backgrounds. Darcy used to work at a Thai restaurant, which is how she and Sharkey came to know each other.
“He just wants to serve people food,” said Darcy.
She and Sharkey stayed up late at night crafting and dreaming of what a menu for their own restaurant could look like.
Sharkey leases the building from the owner Patrick Fultz, who owns the Sleep Woodstock motel next door.
Sharkey saw Fultz was looking for a chef and applied for the job.
“It’s so cool,” said Sharkey as he took a break from the kitchen during the opening day of Eat Woodstock on Saturday, May 26. “I’m elated.”
Sharkey specializes in something unique to Woodstock – burgers. Sharkey has brunch burgers with bacon, cheddar and fried egg, and maple aioli. He has Murphy burgers and barbeque burgers.
Sharkey makes all the food from scratch. He air-dries the burgers, lets them “rest,” hand forms them and adds a “secret ingredient.”
“I’ve cooked over 500,000 burgers in my life,” said Sharkey. “I’ve got burgers down. I wanted to do something that I could do exceptionally well that you can’t get everywhere.”
Sharkey, a former artist who is also a musician, said he likes the artistry of making food. “It’s like an equation, when you’re making recipes,” he said.
There was a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the grand opening on Saturday, May 26. A number of people were in the restaurant, including visitors who were staying at Sleep Woodstock and locals.
The building was formerly a cafe until it closed down about two years ago.
Eat Woodstock is open from 6 a.m. to 4 p.m. Breakfast is served all day and the restaurant starts serving lunch at 11 a.m.
Photo by Katy Savage
Brandon Sharkey and his wife Darcy recently opened the new Eat Woodstock restaurant in West Woodstock.