Looking for a new restaurant or bar to try after a day of hitting the slopes? We cover them all.
Vermont’s apres-ski scene heats up with hot new chefs, bars and restaurants, wine bistros and watering holes. Here’s a rundown of who’s new in town —and a few of our old-favorites—from south to north.
If you are driving north or south on I-91, stop in Brattleboro. The downtown has experienced a culinary renaissance in recent years, thanks to the reopening of the historic Brooks House Building where several new restaurants have set up shop. Try Turquoise Grille, which serves Turkish cuisine for lunch and dinner seven days a week. The top-rated Denver, Colo., restaurant Duo opened a classy outpost here last season where it’s been serving modern farm-to-table cuisine, such as warm beets with orange ricotta, hazelnut basil pesto and porter beer-braised lamb with Moroccan couscous.
Over the mountain in Wilmington, three new restaurants have come online in the past few months. In August, Mangia e Beve opened with elegant Italian fare and homemade breads, pasta and gelato. Earlier this year, Cask & Kiln Kitchen set up shop in the restored Parmalee & Howe Building at the intersection of Route 9 and Route 100. The main dining room downstairs features a more formal setting, serving dishes-to-share such as wood-fired cobia cassoulet. Upstairs has a casual adults-only bar and lounge. The restaurant offers upscale comfort food, seasoned meats, seafood and modern takes on classic cocktails. Another newcomer, the Village Roost specializes in non-GMO foods and serves up soups, sandwiches and burgers just off its retail market.
The new Taconic Hotel is scheduled to open December 20 with Burlington chef Adam Raftery (of The Wooden Spoon) preparing Vermont-based fare at the helm of its restaurant The Copper Grouse. The 87-room hotel is part of the San Francisco-based Kimpton chain of boutique modern hotels. Meanwhile Stratton Mountain Resort welcomes new chef Jan Giejda (formerly of Dorney Park, Pa.) to revamp the menu at Table 43.1 and oversee the resorts’ other eateries, including Grizzly’s in the remodeled base lodge.
Ludlow draws people from around the state to The Downtown Grocery for its smoked meats and local fare, wine bar Stemwinder and the Cajun/Creole/Mexican menu mash-up at Mojo. This season’s surprise newcomer is the Homestyle Hostel in a yellow Victorian. True to its name, Homestyle serves up homemade gnocchi and fried chicken with waffles that are getting rave reviews. The hostel itself is clean, fresh and very affordable. Killington/Pittsfield If you didn’t make it to The Backroom after it opened mid-season in Pittsfield last winter, book now. Chef Kevin Lasko cooked in such New York greats as Montrachet, Mercer Kitchen—and ran Park Avenue—before he decamped to Pittsfield. He and Katie Stiles have turned the backroom of the Pittsfield General Store into an intimate dining room for 20 where the menu changes based on what local ingredients are best that day. Each meal is a delightful surprise served in what feels like a private dining room.
Bluestone Pizza, arguably the best pizza in Waterbury, is opening a second location at the junction of Route 100 and Route 17 in Waitsfield. Meanwhile, Chris Harmon, the chef formerly at The Elusive Moose, moves over to the cozy Hyde Away. Sergjio Shantoza, who moved from San Francisco to open Waterworks in Winooski, is the new chef at the beautifully redesigned Mad River Barn, an institution that new owners Heather and Andrew Lynds have turned into a stylish country inn and tavern. Stop in for beer and burgers specials on Mondays or for a date night meal of duo of duck confit with apple chutney and spaetzle.
With Cork wine bar, Bluestone Pizza, The Reservoir and Hen of the Wood all within a short walk, the craft food and beverage scene in Waterbury is booming. Last winter Prohibition Pig expanded, adding a brewery that serves small bites, house-cured meats and a fabulous line up of beers. The new digs are just across from the Craft Beer Cellar. And more gastropub now than pub, Blackback Pub got a new chef last winter in Jamie Nelson (of Ake’s Den in Waterbury and Stowe Mountain Golf Club’s The Cottage). It may be the only place in Vermont that has featured a Vermont Turkey and Wild Boar sub, among its other creative comfort food fare. If you’re in a food coma by now, don’t risk driving: Fairfield Inn and Suites oped to open its new 84-room hotel just across from Shaw’s on Route 100 in November.
This past October, former ski racing coach Danielle Nichols Moffat and her sisters, Katie and Morgan, opened a stylish new outpost of their Waterbury wine bar, Cork. Meanwhile, Eric Warnstedt of Hen of the Wood fame cranks up a new brewpub, Doc Ponds, just across the street from the new Field Guide boutique hotel. Doc Ponds has a stellar line-up of Vermont craft brews on tap along with signature cured meats and a killer selection of vinyl classics. Stop by before or after bowling at the new Stowe Bowl at the Sun & Ski Motel. Or try the new skating rink outside TopNotch’s The Roost.
Up at Stowe Mountain Resort, check out the new Spruce Peak ice rink and plaza. Also make sure to reserve at Solstice at Spruce Peak and see what the new executive chef Ronnie Sanchez—a three-star Michelin chef who just moved from Snowmass—is concocting. On the beer front: This summer Trapp Family Lodge revved up its new brewery, which it hopes to open to the public by spring. Until then, you can taste the brews at the resort or buy bottles of its award-wining Bohemian Pilsner. Michael and Laura Kloeti of Michael’s on the Hill fame are now running Crop Bistro and renaming it the Idletyme Brewing Company, after the camp that was once at the location. The Alchemist, famed brewers of Heady Topper, is busy finishing construction on a brewery to open in the spring. With all that good beer, you may want a strong coffee the next day. Katrina Veerman has the answer: she’s oved PK Coffee fom its spot in Audra Hughes’ great new Commodities market (natural foods, great local products and more) to he small retail complex just across Route 108 from Piecasso.
A plethora of new eateries and drinkeries, if we can call them that, are joining the stalwart local favorites in Mo’Vegas. An offspring of 10 Railroad Street, the MoVegas Fill Station opened in early November with a wide selection of beers on tap to fill your growlers as well as cigars, snacks and other sundries. Also new this past November is a tasting room at Green Mountain Distillers down Route 100 where you can sample new one-offs. The Rogue Artisan’s Café opened in July on Portland St. as both a gallery for beautiful cutting boards and other crafts and a bakery/café and dinner spot. One of the great surprises is at Riverbend Market and mini mart at 18 Bridge St. There you will not only find a freezer of local meats, but excellent take-out Nepali food, thanks to Nepali Cuisine. You can also sample a slew of some of Vermont’s finest craft beer at Lost Nation, which opened on Old Creamery Rd. two years ago. The brewery’s tap room, which stays open until 9 pm, also serves up home-cooked favorites such as Cubano sandwiches and herb grilled chicken dinners.
Last season, French Way Bakery opened above 158 Main Restaurant & Bakery in Jeffersonville. Grab a crusty baguette and get at least a dozen of chef Jean Marie Rabot’s melt-in-your-mouth montecao lemon cookies. Then head across the street to the Farm Store where you can pick up all sorts of local meat, produce and even grains.
If you want a locally sourced breakfast or lunch, scrumptious cakes or hand-dipped candy apples, try the Kilgore Cafe. Since it opened last summer, it’s been the place to stop in Montgomery Center on the way to or from Jay Peak. It’s now open for dinner with nightly specials and an open-mike night on Tuesdays. And if you have not been since it was remodeled and reopened in 2013, head to the The Inn (formerly The Inn at Trout River) for their concerts and elegant dinner specials, such as pork medallions served with a local maple glaze and apple sweet potato cake.