6 Vermont Restaurants to Try in 2016

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6 Vermont Restaurants to Try This Year

Looking for new restaurants in the New Year? Here are six Vermont restaurants to try this year. Whether you prefer fine dining or old fashioned diners, you can’t go wrong with these six restaurant picks. (Special thanks to Vermont food writer Melissa Pasanen for her Brattleboro suggestions.)

Pizzeria Verità

156 Saint Paul St., Burlington


Serving dinner
I’ve lost count how many times I’ve enjoyed dinner at Pizzeria Verità. Located a block from City Hall Park in Burlington, the space experienced frequent restaurant turnover until Pizzeria Verità opened in 2012 and became one of the most popular restaurants in the city. Sit at a table or grab a seat at the bar and you’ll have your choice of wine, beer and spirits, from bottled La Luca Prosecco and Chianti on tap to Fiddlehead IPA and a house Negroni. The dinner menu includes tasty antipasti dishes and salads, as well as delicious, creative pizzas. My favorite? Pizza with Brussels sprouts and prosciutto. Weekends are busy, so make a reservation or make the most of your time by having a glass of wine at the bar while you wait.

SoLo Farm & Table

95 Middletown Rd., South Londonderry
Serving dinner
A visit to southern Vermont isn’t complete without dining at SoLo Farm & Table. Chloe and Wesley Genovart reopened the former Three Clock Inn in 2011 and have made it into one of Vermont’s most celebrated restaurants. Chloe, who was raised in my hometown of Manchester, ran the dining room at Per Se in New York’s Columbus Circle while Wesley was the founding chef at Degustation in the East Village. Located in a classic farmhouse, SoLo offers a cheerful, intimate space with bright wood floors and tall, white trimmed windows. Menu items range from chicken pipián with stewed squash and potatoes to rabbit and ricotta cheese ravioli to Atlantic halibut with Littleneck clams, fried artichokes and grapefruit salsa verde. Even though SoLo is more of a fine dining experience, it should be enjoyed beyond birthdays or anniversaries. After all, going to SoLo is a special occasion in and of itself. (Note: SoLo is closed for its early winter break and reopens Friday, Dec. 18, 2015).

Duo Restaurant

136 Main St., Brattleboro
Serving dinner, weekend brunch
Food writer Melissa Pasanen highly recommends Duo Restaurant in the historic Brooks House block in downtown Brattleboro. Earlier this year, Melissa wrote a piece for the Boston Globe titled, Three New Restaurants Worth Drooling Over, which featured Duo. In her story, Pasanen mentioned how Denver restaurateurs Stephanie Bonin and Keith Arnold opened Duo in September 2014 and designed it after their 10-year-old Colorado restaurant of the same name. “Guests can see Duo’s farm-inspired food being created in the humming open kitchen at the restaurant’s heart,” Pasanen wrote. “Ingredients and flavors are fresh and lively and presented beautifully on the plate.” Diners at Duo can enjoy everything from mushroom croquettes to porter beer braised lamb to smoked whitefish chowder. When I asked Melissa if Duo Restaurant was a good one to feature on this list, she replied, “Yes. Duo, definitely.”

Guild Tavern

1633 Williston Rd., South Burlington
Serving dinner
It’s hard to believe Guild Tavern was once a Ground Round. Thankfully, Guild has ushered in an exciting, new chapter and made the building’s chain-restaurant history a distant memory. Chef owner Phillip Clayton sources everything locally, from Red Hen Bakery bread and Pitchfork Farm salad greens to Woodcock Farm cheese and Misty Knoll chicken. The steaks, which are locally sourced, dry-aged, hand cut, and grilled to order over a hardwood fire, are the main attraction. Not much of a meat eater? Try the buckwheat tagliatelle or cast iron salmon with celery root and roasted mushrooms. Guild’s open kitchen, blue soapstone bar, and cozy yet abundant dining space make you want to settle in for a relaxing, wood-fired meal.

Chelsea Royal Diner

487 Marlboro Rd. West Brattleboro
Serving breakfast, lunch, dinner

Another spot recommended by Melissa is the Chelsea Royal Diner, a classic 1930s diner that has been moved a few miles west of its original site. Todd Darrah and Janet Picard focus very much on local at their diner, where chickens lay eggs out back and vegetables grow in their garden. The diner also serves grass-fed beef and local produce from neighboring farms. Enjoy everything from eggs Benedict to corned beef hash to maple barbecue chicken. As Melissa puts it, the Chelsea Royal is “bringing farm to table to an old-school diner.”

Doc Ponds

294 Mountain Rd., Stowe
Serving late lunch, dinner
This rustic beer pub opened in August on Route 108 in Stowe. Run by the same team behind the exceptional Hen of the Wood restaurants in Waterbury and Burlington, Doc Ponds offers 24 beers on draft–including brews from Hill Farmstead, Lost Nation Brewing, and Zero Gravity–plus burgers, fries, smoked chicken, fried oysters, calamari, mussels, salads, pies, and milkshakes. Dave and I stopped in for a quick bite on a Saturday evening back in October. We sat at the bar, shared the soup special (a tasty butternut squash chorizo) and ordered two $7 Doc Burgers. Not that we go out to eat all the time, but dinner at Doc Ponds was one of the more memorable meals we’ve had in a while. That says a lot for a burger and beer joint. We’ll definitely be back the next time we’re in Stowe.

Down Home Kitchen

Update: Down Home Kitchen Closed Dec. 31, 2019

100 Main St., Montpelier
Serving breakfast, lunch
Down Home Kitchen opened in August in the former Riverdell Books building on Main Street. With a big focus on biscuits and gravy, cheese grits, fried catfish, and fried chicken, Down Home Kitchen is all about southern comfort. Owner Mary Alice Profitt worked in food service in Georgia and North Carolina, and it’s clear she knows her stuff. You can also enjoy lighter fare at Down Home, such as the tomato omelet, grilled catfish, and the Down Home Salad with smoked trout (my personal favorite). The restaurant’s bakery case includes gluten-free biscuits, pies, quiches, cookies, muffins, and a banana bread to die for. Another thing to love about Down Home Kitchen is the restaurant’s front bay window that overlooks Main Street—it’s a perfect place for people watching in Vermont’s capital city.

Which Vermont restaurants are you looking forward to checking out in 2016?

Food & Drink, Restaurants
  • Rosalie
    Posted at 17:58h, 03 December Reply

    Solo is one of my favs!

    • Erica
      Posted at 06:57h, 04 December Reply

      It is so good, Rosalie! We went to SoLo twice this year and can’t wait to back again.

  • Edward
    Posted at 21:21h, 04 December Reply

    What happened to Verde?! This place should be up there as well.

    • Erica
      Posted at 22:57h, 04 December Reply

      Hi Edward – I haven’t been there so can’t say. I will check it out one of these days! Thanks, Erica

  • Steve
    Posted at 12:23h, 05 December Reply

    I didn’t expect to see a restaurant on the list that I actually have been to. But it just so happens that we stopped at the Chelsea Royal Diner on our trip to NY to fist family for Thanksgiving.

    • Erica
      Posted at 14:37h, 05 December Reply

      Hi Steve — Great to hear from you! I hoped you enjoyed the Chelsea Royal. Hope all is well, and happy holidays! -Erica

  • Tom McCarthy
    Posted at 12:50h, 15 December Reply

    Hi Erica- Based on your info I went to Chelsea Royal in Brattleboro Sunday. I was on my way home to CT after spending weekend locked up helping son with college apps. I was going to do Mcd’s or 99 for lack of brain power to do otherwise and then remembered your post. It made my weekend. What an awesome place and great find. I had the Local Grass Fed Burger with Horseradish and Grafton Smoked Cheddar. Wow.it was really amazing and waitress was so nice. Thank you. You made my weekend.

    • Erica
      Posted at 18:49h, 15 December Reply

      Hi Tom — I am so happy to hear that! Sounds like a delicious meal — so glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for saying hello. It’s always a pleasure to hear from readers! -Erica

  • Scott
    Posted at 16:29h, 16 December Reply

    Went to the Chelsea maaaany years ago on one of our first Vermont trips. I remember a few things. How quiet it was outside (we’re from Jersey) and how dark the empty field was behind the place, How the VT State Police barracks across the street had one patrol car in the lot (NJSP has dozens parked at any given time) and that the chef was a Jamaican guy. He came out to ask how our burgers were and I thought that was cool . (The burgers were good too btw!)
    Haven’t tried any of the others you’ve listed. SoLo is a possibility as we’re usually in that area when we visit.

    • Erica
      Posted at 15:32h, 17 December Reply

      Hi Scott — What a nice memory! SoLo is lovely and not far from Manchester. Kid-friendly, too (we’ve brought Phoebe there twice). Hope you have a lovely holiday season. -Erica

  • Kpw
    Posted at 20:29h, 16 December Reply

    Wow! . . . Great List! I really agree with Three of these Choices and now need to Visit the Other Three!!!
    Keep up the great work . . . We’ll keep reading and keep eating!
    – Kpw

    • Erica
      Posted at 15:31h, 17 December Reply

      Thanks, KPW! Great to hear from you. Hope all is well! -E

  • Tom McCarthy
    Posted at 14:48h, 15 March Reply

    Hi Erica- Further to my note above giving you props for my visit to the Chelsea Diner in Dec I must tell you that you have done it again. My wife and I were in Stowe in February and went to Doc Ponds a couple times during our stay and we both loved it. Food was inventive, atmosphere was perfect in an upscale casual way and sitting at the bar with the great beer selection was fantastic after busy days. We can’t wait to go back and cant wait to keep ticking off the others. Best, Tom

    • Erica
      Posted at 16:38h, 15 March Reply

      Hi Tom — That’s great to hear! Glad you liked Doc Ponds, too. Definitely a great spot to check out. Keep me posted on the other restaurant visits! Thanks so much. -Erica

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