31 New Places to Eat, Drink & Be Merry
This season the après-ski scene heats up around Vermont as new international, exotic and just plain cool places open in ski towns.
Vermont is one of the rare places in the world where you can find world-class food—from farm-to-table restaurants to artisan cheeses and small-batch craft beers—in the strangest of places. This year, new mountain town restaurants have opened in places as diverse as gondola car cabins and an Airstream trailer. And across the state, we’re seeing an influx of increasingly diverse menus and ethnic food. From South Indian dosas at Dosa Kitchen (Leda Scheintaub and Nash Patel’s new restaurant in Brattleboro) to tacos that feature Pan-Asian spices at Over the Wall in Stowe to a new ramen bar in Waitsfield. One thing ties them all together: the fresh, wholesome ingredients that come straight from the Green Mountain state.
When Dot’s of Dover, the Deerfield Valley’s legendary breakfast spot, burned down early in the morning during one of the biggest storms of January 2019, something incredible happened. First, staff at NOSH, a new restaurant in West Dover, started a GoFundMe.com account. Locals and skiers alike banded together to raise upwards of $20,000 to help Dot’s owner of 18 years, Betsey Reagan, rebuild. “Dot’s of Dover has always been a place for locals and weekenders to gather for good food and better company,” wrote staff on the GoFundMe page.
Over the next few months, Dot’s reinvented itself as a food truck and was scheduled to reopen the rebuilt restaurant as Betsey’s Dot’s of Dover in November.
West Dover’s other newcomer, NOSH, opened in December 2018 at the former site of Fennessy’s, and has been going strong since. General manager Mark Cascardi was previously the food and beverage manager at Mount Snow, and chef Robert Mazza used to be the chef at Harriman’s Farm to Table at the resort. The restaurant serves elevated, farm-to-table comfort food, with local burgers and entrees like the white bean and spinach ravioli tossed with lemon roasted shitakes, Swiss chard, sweet corn and basil fondue and parmesan reggiano. Grab a drink at the newly opened Loft at NOSH, open Fridays and Saturdays. The black table cloth dining room features a fireplace, leather armchairs and its own food and drink menu, and is 21-plus.
At Mount Snow’s Carinthia Base Lodge, which opened in December 2018, check out Iron Loft, a new bar and grill on the top floor that serves small plates to share, like the prosciutto and fig sandwich with Brie and arugula pesto on sourdough bread, or the cracked pepper parmesan chicken wings. With big windows that look out on Carinthia Parks, an extensive list of Vermont drafts, wines and cocktails like the Mountain Cider Banger—Green Mountain Orange Vodka, apple cider, Galliano and an orange twist—it’s the perfect place to grab a bite and a drink after a day at the park.
For coffee and an epic breakfast burrito with scrambled eggs, chorizo, home fries and house-made pico de gallo with avocado mash, check out High Timber Lounge, also at Carinthia. Big doors open onto the deck on sunny days. And if you have a sweet tooth, try one of Ingrid Heyrman and Peter Creyf’s piping hot sugar waffles on weekends at the Waffle Cabin, also new for this season at Carinthia. The pair import a special variety of sugar from Belgium.
In downtown Brattleboro fans of the 2018 cookbook Dosa Kitchen: Recipes for India’s Favorite Street Food should check out authors Nash Patel and Leda Scheintaub’s new café storefront
downtown, Dosa Kitchen. Dosas are light and slightly tangy crepes made from a fermented batter of lentil and rice, and they form the basis for South Indian cuisine. Try a traditional dish like the Masala Dosa, with potatoes, house chutney and sambar, or dishes like the Grafton Cheddar Dosa, imbued with the earthy flavors of Vermont.
The couple have been serving up affordable soul food from their food truck since 2014 and the new café offers made-to-go curries for people headed to the mountain, as well as hot food to order. Keep an eye out for Scheintaub’s new pastry venture, Leda’s Ladoos, early next year. “Indian ladoos are spiced, round pastries that tend to be very sweet. I’m interested in creating a version that avoids processed sugars and blends creative flavors,” says Scheintaub.
In Manchester Center, a new Mediterranean restaurant called Social House opened in June 2019. The restaurant features small plates, designed to be shared and paired with creative house cocktails. Try the Squid Ink Fettuccini, a pasta dish tossed with Maine lobster, blistered tomatoes, sea beans, fresh basil, parmesan and lemon cream. The restaurant is chic but cozy, with big beams in the dining room and a copper-plated bar. Co-owner and maitre’d Debbie Pazos worked for seven years at the three-star Michelin-rated French seafood restaurant Le Bernardin in New York City prior to moving to Vermont in 2013.
If you’re looking for a cozy coffee shop where you can hunker down on a plush couch with a great cup of locally-roasted coffee, head to Bonnet and Main, which opened in May in Manchester. Pick up a breakfast bowl, like the Southwestern (with black bean corn salsa, avocado and a fried egg served on sweet potato or oatmeal) or order a sandwich to go.
Nearby, Stratton’s well-loved village restaurant Benedict’s is adding three gondola cabins as private seating options for groups this season. With newly renovated interiors outfitted by Stratton-based Vermont Barns, they make for the perfect Instagram-worthy brunch nook.
In August, Au Jus started serving up hearty homestyle meals like their pulled chicken sandwich, topped with barbecue sauce and swiss cheese, in Windsor—the perfect stop after a day of skinning at Mount Ascutney.
At the base of Killington Resort, a new bar and restaurant called Hops on the Hill opened at Mountain Green Resort in early November, serving Vermont craft brews, cider and wine with creative pub fare in the location formerly occupied by Rutland Beer Works.
Also at Killington, look out for a new craft cocktail program at Snowshed and Bear Lodges and the Long Trail Pub. Try sharing a small plate off of the new bar bites menu, like the local beef brisket sliders, glazed with maple and bourbon on a potato hash.
Okemo Mountain Resort is revamping many of its dining areas this season with a host of new menus. Upstairs at Summit Lodge, the new interior features an open floorplan, with exposed beams, natural stone and new lighting that evoke a (fancy) Vermont barn.
Downstairs, entering the new Robin’s Roost feels like descending into a speakeasy, with pressed-metal ceilings, a new spacious bar and fireside seating with high-top tables and
upholstered chairs. The new menu features Southern-style comfort foods like chicken and biscuits, along with a revolving list of craft brews and signature cocktails made with house syrups and Vermont ingredients.
At the mid-mountain Sugar House Lodge, the lower level, now called the Mudroom, will be a kid-friendly zone with grilled cheese and mac n’ cheese. Over at Solitude Day Lodge, the mountain’s most popular lunch spot, Epic, has been rebranded as 43° North with a menu inspired by the dishes of northern France.
In Middlebury, an 1840s stone building called The Mill that sits on the edge of the Otter Creek has been remodeled and is the new home of The Mad Taco and Dedalus Wine Shop—both new to Middlebury. The mill was formerly the site of The Storm Café. Grab a cup of coffee at Lost Monarch Coffee, a hip, third-wave spot that shares the same space.
There’s a new brewery in downtown Waitsfield—Collaborative Brewing Company. Since we went to press with the Holidays issue, Collaborative Brewing opened a hip, super fun new tasting room in Waitsfield complete with a cozy vibe and vintage arcade games. Try a fresh brew, like their “Sesh Prince,” a delicious session India Pale Ale that’s smooth and fruity with a low ABV (and, incidentally, a low carb count). Keep an eye out for their malt-driven lagers and ales at Mad River Valley restaurants and their colorful and creatively designed cans in stores around the Valley this winter.
In Waitsfield, Stoke Ramen Bar serves up authentic ramen with fresh Vermont ingredients to create fusion dishes like the Dark Wing (ramen noodles, chicken broth, cashew tare, braised duck, egg, roasted garlic aioli and pickled daikon with pea shoots) in an open-concept dining room that opened this fall. For local produce and meats, head to Roots Market in Middlesex, the storefront for Williamstown’s Bear Roots Farm which opened in May.
At Sugarbush Resort, Rumble’s Kitchen will now be Rumble’s Bistro & Bar, with a slightly more upscale menu featuring the same locally-sourced ingredients in a fresh format.
In Montpelier, Caledonia Spirits, distillers of Barr Hill and Tom Cat spirits, opened a new bar and new distillery. Visitors can now order sophisticated cocktails like the Big City Cat—Tom Cat Gin, sweet Vermouth and bitters with cherry and orange.
In Richmond, One Radish has closed, but Fairfax-based Stone’s Throw Pizza is opening a second restaurant in that location. With delicious house vegan sausage, vegan crème brulee and woodfired pizzas like the Nomad, a pie made with house kimchi, glazed pork belly and local leeks, it’s a great stop after night skiing at Cochran’s.
There have been a lot of changes this season in Stowe. In early 2019, the Mountain Road in Stowe saw a new apres-ski joint open up when Over the Wall, a taqueria and tequila bar opened in The Red Brick House (formerly home to Cactus Café). The building was owned by Stowe Derby co-founder Erling Strom through the 1940s and features Asian-LatinX cuisine, like the ginger soy carne asada tacos.
Just down the Mountain Road, McCarthy’s closed this fall in Stowe after 45 years—the diner was known for its homemade corned beef hash and for being a local hangout. The Skinny Pancake, the Vermont chain known for its more than 10 farm-fresh creperies, is expected to take over the space. The Town & Country Bar & Game Room just reopened after bar renovations. It’s a cozy, rustic, chic space that features a familiar menu of nachos packed with locally sourced ingredients and a game room with Nintendo and Pop-a-Shot. If you’re staying at Town & Country, grab some oysters and a cocktail at the converted Airstream trailer bar at The Deep End, which opened this summer. For an entrée, try the Woodsman, one of their woodfired pizzas, with house-made venison sausage, Cabot cheddar, mozzarella, smoked foraged mushrooms and fresh rosemary.
Stowe Mountain Resort is bringing piping hot Belgian waffles made-to-order back this season at The Waffle, a walk-up bar at the top of the gondola. For après-ski, head to the Whistle Pig Pavilion at Spruce Peak, and try the Manhattan—with 10-year Whistle Pig rye whiskey distilled in Shoreham and Boss Hog maple bitters.
If you’re looking for the perfect Vermont cheese or a wine to pair it with after a day at Stowe or Trapp Family Lodge, head to the new Woodstock Farmers Market in Waterbury Center. Pick up a sandwich like the “Moonlight in Vermont” which features roast turkey breast with Cabot cheddar, apple slices and mayo on sourdough bread.
For delicious and wildly affordable Thai food to eat in or take out, try Siam Valley Thai in Morrisville. Owned by veteran Stowe chef Pantita Pasukdee, the restaurant opened in May and features curries made with house-made pastes and delicious deserts like fried banana with coconut ice cream.
And if you’re looking for a cozy coffee shop (drip only) with pastries by a New England Culinary Institute-trained chef, check out North Country Cakes in downtown Morrisville. Their maple bacon donut is the perfect treat for your ride up the Mountain Road.
To the north at Craftsbury Corners, Blackbird Bistro started serving up farm-to-table fare and craft cocktails in November. Sip on an “Excuse Me Sir!” with balsam-infused gin, Aperol, maple syrup, fresh lime and tonic while you dive into Sweet Rowen Poutine, with hand-cut fries made from locally-sourced potatoes, gravy and Sweet Rowen farmstead cheese.
Last season, Craftsbury Outdoor Center revamped its dining hall to become a Vermont Fresh Network Gold Barn Member—a distinction awarded to restaurants that source ingredients from at least 15 different farms and purchase 35 percent or more of their food from local growers. That’s on top of the fresh cucumbers, zucchini, cabbage and winter squash they grow in their gardens to preserve for winter delicacies.
Featured Photo Caption: There’s just nothing like sharing a dosa with friends after a long day on the slopes. Soon, you’ll be able to stop by and do so at the new Dosa Kitchen storefront and cafe in downtown Brattleboro. Photo courtesy Dosa Kitchen