Lareau Farm

home of American Flatbread

46 Lareau Road

Waitsfield, Vermont

05673

“Food is important.

What we eat and how it is grown intimately affects our health and the well-being of the world.”  George Schenk

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The Beginning

In 1987, Founder George Schenk built a ten-ton wood-fired oven on the outdoor patio of the Tucker Hill Lodge in Waitsfield, Vermont.  This wasn't his first attempt at a wood-fired oven, but it was the first incarnation of what would become the American Flatbread oven.  A second oven followed, incorporating more elements of a traditional Quebecois-style oven with an earthen clay dome.

By 1990, loyal flatbread fans lined up to enjoy their own meal of pure ingredients transformed by rock, clay, and fire. To accommodate American Flatbread’s increasing popularity, George built the current bakery at Lareau Farm in Waitsfield, VT. The first night of operation, 110 people showed up; soon after, the restaurant offered two nights of service.

Lareau Farm

The historic Lareau Farm was settled in 1794 by Simeon Stoddard and his wife Abiah.  Simeon, a descendent of influential religious leaders in Conneticut, was one of the first settlers in Waitsfield and would later become the town's second physician.  His medical practice was located in his home though he may have also travelled to the private homes of patients, as needed.  

 

Simeon and Abiah raised 12 children in the farmhouse, which is now the Lareau Farm Inn.  The American Flatbread bakery and restaurant is housed within the Stoddard's original hog barn, and the newly renovated Lareau Barn was once the Stoddard's horse and cow barn.  The family graveyard is perched atop a hill overlooking the farm and was once surrounded by apple trees.  

 

Simeon died in 1841 at 80 years old.  Shortly after his death, the farm was purchased by Robert J. McAllister, son of Alexander and Sarah Ann McAllister of Fayston.  Robert and his wife Clara kept a dairy farm on the property.  The McAllisters kept the farm for 50 years.  After Robert died in 1930, the farm passed to Phillipe and Fleurette Lareau.

 

George Schenk, founder and owner of American Flatbread, purchased the farm in 1995.  

Restaurants & Flatbread Company

In 1998, Founder George Schenk was approached by flatbread fan Jay Gould with a proposal.  Jay wanted to bring this food to his community in Amesbury, MA. In an effort to realize his dream of sharing good food, George entered into a licensing agreement with Jay Gould and Flatbread Company was born. George taught Jay how to build the oven and shared our recipes.  Over the years, Gould and Flatbread Co. successfully opened and operated 6 Flatbread Co. restaurants similar to the original American Flatbread in Waitsfield, VT.

In 2002, American Flatbread opened an additional hybrid-model bakery & restaurant in Middlebury, VT. In 2011, Middlebury Flatbread Restaurant Manager Danielle Boyce and her husband Steve bought the Middlebury Flatbread thereby becoming franchisees of American Flatbread.  

In 2005, Paul Sayler and Rob Downey, developers of American Flatbread’s Middlebury location, moved on to an opportunity to bring American Flatbread to Burlington, Vermont. 

On January 16, 2013, Flatbread Company purchased the American Flatbread brand and the American Flatbread franchise operations.  Originating from one store in Amesbury MA, the Flatbread Company will now oversee franchise operations and expansion and will steward the future growth of the American Flatbread restaurant brand.

Bakery & Frozen 

One evening, when all the dining orders had been filled, George baked some extra flatbreads in the empty oven and offered them in our local grocery store. These par-baked frozen flatbreads sold out in a day! Tom Mehuron phoned George asking for more, and in early 1990, our wholesale operation was born.

For many years, the Lareau Farm bakery operated as a hybrid bakery in this way; we produced frozen flatbreads Monday-Thursday, and offered public dining every Friday and Saturday evening.  In order to bring Flatbread and George’s philosophy to more homes across the country, we teamed up with Rustic Crust in 2010. 

 

Read more about our frozen flatbreads.