Looking for a place to get a drink and some food truck fare on a weekend night? Soon, in Woodstock, you can say Abracadabra.
The Pizza Lupo food truck will begin serving at Abracadabra on Aug. 10.
After hearing from residents and small business owners that it would bring fresh energy to a sleepy downtown, the Village Development Review Board voted Thursday night to permit Abracadabra Coffee to extend its serving hours into the evening on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.
And — drum roll, please — there will be a Woodstock first: a regular food truck.
Berry Milstone runs the Farmhouse Inn in Woodstock. A common complaint from his guests, he told board members, is “What do I do? Everything is closed.” Allowing Abracadabra to expand “opens things up and makes things more lively.”
One after another, supporters rose to say the young entrepreneurs behind Abracadabra meet a need for residents and visitors alike, particularly young ones.
“It’s a fun, very friendly atmosphere,” said neighbor Susie Stulz. “They are really serving as a draw to bring people into Woodstock.”
Village review board members Randy Mayhew and Jane Soule ask Antoinette Hunt questions about the expansion plans.
The Abracadabrians spend most of their time roasting single-source beans in the small operation tucked away at the end of a driveway near the village’s eastern entrance.
But this summer, they have been open in the morning and early afternoon on Saturday and Sunday, offering coffee and (depending on the day) waffles or tacos prepared by local food truck purveyors.
When they asked for permission to expand into the evening hours, town planners raised a number of concerns about parking (there is none on site), their driveway sign (which at 3-by-2 feet is twice as village regulations allow), outdoor seating and lighting and — the big one — those food trucks.
Village regulations prohibit “free-standing retail” establishments, which planners had previously interpreted as barring the food trucks that are increasingly a part of the Upper Valley dining scene.
That changed Thursday night — at least as far as Abracadabra’s operation.
Board member Randy Mayhew argued that since customers would not be consuming food “on the premises” of the food truck parked in the coffee shop parking lot — but instead eating at Abracadabra’s tables — there was room to say yes.
“I think these regulations as currently written are not clearly opposed to that,” he said. Abracadabra will have only one truck onsite on any given day.
Board members said they see the Abracadabra expansion as a promising test case, reserving the right to revisit the food truck operation in six months to be sure things are running smoothly. After the board gave its blessing, the crowd who had packed the Town Hall hearing room erupted in cheers.
Abracadabra will host its first nighttime hours on Friday, Aug. 10, with food from the La Pizza Lupo truck and the debut of its new CBD-laced Chill Brew coffee drink. They’re also gearing up to serve beer and wine.
“We’re so happy with the support and the turnout and, of course, the decision,” said Antoinette Hunt, who runs the company along with her husband, Clint, and business partner Sarah Yetter. “There will be more food, and fun and coffee.”
Abracadabra Coffee owners Antoinette and Clint Hunt celebrate after winning permission to expand.