BRATTLEBORO -- When it comes to culinary pedigree, it's hard to match the experience Wendy and Mike Gouin bring to The Grille on Canal Street.
Mike cut his teeth at the Skyline Restaurant at the old Hogback Ski Resort, starting as a dish washer and working his way up to line cook. He's also got stints on his resume from the Old Red Mill and the Chelsea Royal Diner.
Wendy started out as a waitress at the Steak Out restaurant, eventually becoming a manager.
Mike has his own towing company -- MP Gouin Inc. -- but he and Wendy have been thinking about opening their restaurant for a long time.
"It was my dream," said Wendy.
When the Steak Out closed, which Wendy said was a surprise for all the employees, it seemed a door had closed. But then the location at 209 Canal Street came available and it seemed another door was opened up to the couple.
"There was an opportunity," said Mike. "It was there and we jumped."
Before they could open to the public however, they had a lot of work to do.
"It took us six weeks to gut the interior and refinish it," said Wendy, who grew up in Brattleboro.
The Grille officially opened on Oct. 31, 2013, and both Mike and Wendy have been spending almost all day, every day there.
"I'm an all-in type of person," said Mike, who grew up in Halifax.
Mike, with two employees, cooks and works the back of the house and Wendy and two servers work the front of the house. In addition, Mike and Wendy put their two children -- Katelyn, 15, and Kyle, 12 -- to work as well.
The interior is brand new, with four kinds of seating -- dinner tables, bar tables, booths and counter -- for all different types of customers.
"People are totally in awe when they walk in," said Wendy. "The comment we hear most from first-time customers is ‘We had to see what it looked like.'"
Mike said from talking with people it seemed like the neighborhood needed an inexpensive breakfast and lunch spot.
"We have a lot of regulars already," he said.
The Grille is open 6 a.m. to 3 p.m., with breakfast served all day and lunch starting at 11 a.m. They are building a lounge in the back of the building and hope to be open for dinner soon, said Mike.
The Grille also has a full bar and is available for special functions. For more information on utilizing the space for a wedding or birthday party, call The Grille at 802-490-8406.