By Polly Lynn
RUTLAND — Three Tomatoes Trattoria, located at 88 Merchants Row, will close at the end of April after serving downtown Rutland restaurant-goers for over 18 years.
Owner Allen Frey could not be reached for comment prior to publication, but according to a public letter addressed to the Rutland Community from the Friends of Three Tomatoes, “the decision to close was a difficult one, but centered around the termination of its lease in 2017, at which time the State of Vermont will assume the lease of the building.”
Three Tomatoes is located in the Asa Bloomer Building, which also houses many state and federal offices. The lease is currently held by Russell Corp., but that is scheduled to revert to the state in 2017. What happens then is unclear. Without assurance, Frey and his partners have decided to close.
“As this final decision was being formulated, Allen and his business partners, Jim Reiman and Robert Meyers, owners of Three Tomatoes Lebanon, went out of their way to express their sincere appreciation to their many loyal customers, the community of Rutland and their wonderful staff throughout the years — all of whom with their commitment and dedication — made it possible,” the letter continued.
“Allen has done so many great things for this town, and downtown in particular, it’s really sad to see him go,” commented Bruce Bouchard, executive director of the Paramount Theatre.
Three Tomatoes is perhaps best known for its role in hosting dinners to raise over $750,000 for the Rutland Community Cupboard and countless thousands more for the Rutland Area Visiting Nurses and other community organizations.
Darlene Kepner of North Clarendon, articulated the sentiment of many community members in a Facebook post on Three Tomatoes page, April 18. She wrote: “In so many ways I feel like I grew up here. I fondly remember being part of a wonderful staff when the doors opened… Three Tomatoes Trattoria Rutland was my Cheers. I ended great things there and most importantly began the BEST things there.”