The owner of Third Place Pizzeria restaurant in Castleton is opening another restaurant in Poultney in June.
But this one will be different, with co-owner Andrew Bretting calling it like a “Smash Burger bar” that will be found at the site of the former Taco Experiment restaurant at 25 Main Street.
Partnered with current Castleton senior business Major Caden Capman, this new restaurant, with its name still pending, “will be another branch of the Third Place idea and motto,” Bretting said.
Patrons can expect to see the same friendly smiles, while at a lower price point, and the only thing Thirds lovers will be missing here is the pizza, he said.
When asked what he was most excited for with the future opening, Capman proudly said, “It’s a great town and community, and a fun and exciting new adventure.”
Bretting agreed, offering almost the exact same answer.
With burgers, fries, and affordable prices, this new ‘Third Place’ in town will be a must-go-to for Castleton students, he said.
When Bretting was a Castleton student from 2012-2016, he took courses with professor Philip Lamy, head of the sociology department, in which Lamy introduced Andrew to the theory of the third place from the book the “Great Good Life,” by Ray Oldenberg.
The theory states that there are three major places where a person spends their life; first is home, second is school or work, and third is pubs and community meeting places.
“It was always talked about how there was no third place in Castleton for students, professors and community members,” Bretting said.
Post-graduation, Bretting had the idea of creating a third place to put in Castleton, and actually calling it Third Place.
“Castleton doesn’t have a third place, so why not make a third place and actually call it Third Place Pizzeria,” he said, recalling his thoughts back then.
Initially, however, Lamy disagreed with the name fearing people would basically think there were two places better. The Third Place can also too often incorrectly be associated with just drinking, but Bretting knew he could change that notion
He brought his dream to life on May 5, 2017 – at only 23 years old as a 2016 graduate – and opened Third Place Pizzeria.
“A third place is a place in your community, where you go to engage in your community,” Lamy said, adding that he’s so happy it has worked out so well.
Bretting said during the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, the same community is what helped keep Third Place alive.
“Community support during COVID was better than I could have ever imagined it would be,” he said before stressing he “wouldn’t be anywhere without his amazing staff, and everything they do for the restaurant.”
For those unacquainted with Third Place, the menu offers a wide variety of foods to fit any craving you may have. According to Bretting, his favorite foods on the menu are the Brotherly Love sandwiches, the burgers, and obviously the pizza. Bretting also said the chicken wings remain an all-time fan favorite menu item.
However, he mentioned that he knows his pizza isn’t for everyone, because not everyone prefers a crispy thin crust.
Robert Boucher, freshman at Castleton University, is a fan of the pizza, and loves how different some of the offerings are.
“They have really unique food that you can’t find anywhere else, like the Mac and Cheese pizza” said Boucher.
Patrons say when you go there, you can expect consistency, affordable prices, and a lively environment that promotes bonding between community and college.
“And where else can you leave class at 3 and have your professor buy you a drink at 4?” Lamy said.
As for the best part of owning Third Place? Bretting said it’s having a relationship with the students, because he is able to still feel young, and over the years he is able to build relationships with the students and see them grow up.
The students also get to see a role model who is a Castleton alumnus who has made it for himself, even in this small town.
If you were to ask Bretting how he feels about the impending merger of the Vermont State Colleges into Vermont State University, however, he would point you to his “FU VSU” merch.
“We support Castleton, you can’t take away our name,” he said.
Third Place from the year 2013 has been a place for students, faculty, and community members to come together and all bond, Bretting said.
“This place is proof that there is something special here in Castleton,” he said.