BRATTLEBORO -- Born and raised in New York, Ken Flutie worked in restaurants as a line cook and sous chef with classical to traditional training during college, but following graduation, Flutie worked in retail for 30 years. Over the years however, Flutie learned from Italian women, who he affectionately refers to as the "Nonnas," recipes and a passion for cooking.

Flutie kept his recipes and love of Italian cooking personal by serving family and friends and sometimes catering events until after he retired in 2005 from the retail business working for Phillips Van Heusen/Calvin Klein, when he became a professional chef.

He and his partner, Paul Faust, moved from Naples, Fla., to Brattleboro in 2005, where Faust had been managing art galleries for nearly 20 years. They opened the Blue Moose gift shop and gallery in 2009, The Café Lotus, situated behind the Blue Moose, was for sale and they decided to apply his cooking skills in the café business by offering hand-made sandwiches, salads and breakfast offerings. Eventually, the café evolved into a bistro with Flutie beginning to serve his classic Italian recipes a la American or "Ken" style in the evening. The menu now offers "new comfort" cuisine or familiar comfort foods with a modernized and refined twist and is open for dinner Wednesday through Saturday, from 5 to 9 p.m.

All items are a la carte and range from a Portobello sandwich to a pulled pork sandwich to a hamburger to a Flat Iron Tagliatelle. The menu also includes home-made egg pastas and meatballs, a beef, veal and pork combination.

"Whether it’s food or wine, I think of Italian food as passion with big flavor. Eating out should be more than just getting food," said Flutie. "It’s a dining experience, form the wine selection to dessert. The entire meal has been planned for you with the flavors and ingredients in mind."

The Blue Moose Bistro now offers a new lunch menu with table service and a selection of wines and is open Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.