Home Plate Proprietors Don Winner and Matt and Ashley WoodsMad River Valley Neighbors

Ashley & Matt Woods and Don Wenner have known each other for years as ’neighbors’ in the Mad River Valley.

Ashley is truly part of the local fabric having grown up in Warren.  And although husband Matt hails from far off England, they choose to raise their 3 children here.

Don was born and raised in New Jersey – a loyal Mets and longtime Bruce Springsteen fan.  For many years, Don and his wife Ilse were 2nd homeowners who visited at every possible opportunity in order to give their boys a rural life experience. In the summer of 2015, the Wenners relocated from Jersey City, NJ to Moretown to try full-time ‘living in Vermont’.

It was time to think about Don’s next venture and that led him to the East Warren Community Market one afternoon to find Ashley. Having grown the EWCM to a thriving co-op, Ashley was a great resource.

Common Dreams

Ashley told Don she was restless and shared her idea of starting a restaurant. That was the last thing on his mind when he woke that morning, but Ashley’s enthusiasm was contagious. And she didn’t know Don had long flirted with the idea of starting a little breakfast place, though it never got further than that.

Their vision was to create a fun, family-friendly, going-out-to-eat experience for locals, 2nd home owners, and tourists alike. They set out to offer food and drink of the highest quality, locally-sourced when possible, delivered with exceptional service.

The more Don & Ashley talked, the more they realized their business philosophies were aligned and their respective strengths could be complementary.

Ashley has a rich history of baking, catering and food service. Ashley & Matt owned Waitsfield’s beloved Very Small Donut Company until they sold it in 2000.  Together, Matt & Ashley played a strategic role during the start up of the local café & art-house Big Picture Theater. In 2011, Ashley jumped at the opportunity to manage the fledgling East Warren Community Market.

Matt moved on to the renowned Pitcher Inn in Warren VT as concierge and chief go-to-guy.

Don’s background is in finance. He worked at the Federal Reserve Bank of NY for 25+ years, as a financial planner for Strategies for Wealth & taught finance at New York University.

Home Plate Mad River Green Waitsfield VTFamily-Friendly Local Vermont Restaurant

As they fleshed out the business plan, the elusive missing piece was the physical location. They pursued several sites but in each case the cost of necessary infrastructure improvements or conversions were prohibitive.  Then, in February 2016, just when they may have been close to putting the idea aside, they caught a break. A recently-renovated restaurant in Waitsfield closed – and the space was available for lease.

With overwhelming community support and a lot of help from their friends, Home Plate opened its doors in June 2016. The rest, as they say, is history. Don, Ashley & Matt are thrilled to have the opportunity to serve you at Home Plate!