Nite Jars owner hopes it will suit the area to a tea
By Patrick McArdle
STAFF WRITER | November 19,2012
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NORTH BENNINGTON — Nite Jars, a teahouse and coffee shop, joined the Marigold Kitchen, a pizzeria that uses fresh, local ingredients, this year.
The new business was created to meet an ideal, according to owner Kage Brower
“When I am somewhere, when I’m on vacation, I want to walk into an establishment with a friendly staff, clean bathrooms, great products at a reasonable cost and the next day, you want to wake up and go there again. ... The main reason I (created Nite Jars) is this is the place I look for,” he said.
Located on Main Street in North Bennington, next to Kevin’s Sports Pub and Restaurant, Nite Jars is open from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., unusual for an area establishment but perfect for Bennington College students who are among Brower’s top customers. Brower said for college students, “if there’s not a place like this (in the area,) they’re just yearning for it.”
Brower said Nite Jars is also giving him a chance to educate Vermonters on the right way to serve and drink tea but he hopes it’s also more.
“The main thing I’m doing with Nite Jars is there’s plenty of good teahouses out there. Of course, there’s plenty of good coffee shops but I’ve never been to a teahouse where you can get great shot of espresso or a cappuccino and likewise, you rarely go into a great coffeehouse and get a proper cup of tea,” he said.
Brower, grew up in Cambridge, N.Y., but said he always loved North Bennington. After going to college in Boston, he came back to the area in 2002 and bought a home in 2006. He lived upstairs and thought about uses for the downstairs, primarily a teahouse.
Then the neighboring building where Marigold’s was already located became available and he bought it. Eventually, after a friend ran Marigold’s for a year and a half and improved the quality of the pizza, according to Brower, Brower took over about two years ago.
Running the pizzeria, Brower realized that he could open the door between the pizzeria and what would become Nite Jars, combine some of the equipment and open the teahouse he thought North Bennington needed.
“I never thought about owning and running a pizza shop and I’ve also never thought about owning and operating a teahouse but I wanted one. ... So now I have this weird predicament where I do own one and I am working in one,” he said.
The name comes from several sources. Like many dedicated tea drinkers, Brower drinks it from a jar and the business is more “night-oriented” than a morning coffee shop. As a “bird nerd,” Brower appreciates that a night jar is small nighthawk and the birds are mentioned in “Come Down in Time,” a song by Elton John, one of Brower’s favorite artists.
Nite Jars, which also sells baked goods from downtown Bennington bakers, opened in March, but closed for the summer and reopened Oct. 1. Brower said he closed over the summer because all of his staff and many of the customers are students from Bennington College but found customers were willing to come back.
“I texted a few people at Bennington College, told some of my friends and the first night it was like it had never closed. The same students were back in here. The same locals started coming,” he said.
Brower said he hopes people continue to appreciate that both establishments pay attention to details like getting good local ingredients and teaching all the employees “how to pull a great shot of espresso.”
Each place has a website, at www.marigoldkitchen.info and www.nitejars.com.