Member Highlight: Oakes & Evelyn

Apr 24 2024

Member Highlight: Justin Dain, chef/owner of Oakes and Evelyn


Tell us a bit about you, your background and your path to opening Oakes and Evelyn.

I grew up in Waterbury Center, Vermont and started cooking at the age of 15 at Stowe Mountain Ski Area.  I loved the environment of the kitchen mentality and started exploring culinary schools for after high school.  During high school, I worked in Stowe area restaurants to gain experience and learn as much as possible of the craft.  After high school I went to The Culinary Institute of America for my AOS degree.  Following the CIA I went to NECI for my BA in business food management.  After college I went to The Boston Harbor Hotel where I worked my way up to Chef de cuisine of Meritage Restaurant, 4 stars and 4 diamonds.  After my time in Boston I went to the Reluctant Panther in Manchester Vermont. This was my first executive chef job and was amazing to learn and showcase my thoughts and flavors on food in the area.  After the Panther, I went to The Hanover Inn and opened PINE Restaurant in 2013.  Very proud of what we achieved at this restaurant and was really able to showcase New England ingredients and many local farms.  


How and why did you open up your restaurant in Montpelier?

In 2020, Covid gave me the opportunity to pursue opening my own restaurant and begin the venture into being a restaurant owner in the Capital of Vermont. Myself and Amanda Champagne, the executive sous chef of the Hanover Inn, began looking at spaces in the Waterbury Area.  With much consideration we liked the space at 52 State Street in Montpelier.  We loved the open space concept, and that it was a smaller size for our concept.  We Opened Oakes & Evelyn February 3rd of 2021.  


Where does your restaurant's name comes from, and give us some highlights about your menu or menu planning.

The Name Oakes & Evelyn are Family names- Thomas Oakes was my grandfather who was a great influencer in me following my dreams of cooking and going to culinary school.  Evelyn Garbe was my great Aunt who raised my father.  She taught me the importance of food and even owned a small farm in Vermont.  

Our menus change more frequently than the seasons, but our new “spring” menu is amazing! We love the spring and summer months here in Vermont in the restaurant world.  We have a variety of new raw bar items, small plates, large plates and amazing desserts.  We also have a great fresh in house made pastas that change with the flavors of the seasons.  We are so excited for a busy summer in the Heart of Vermont.  

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