12 Vermont Cafes Serving Up Local Flavor and Loads of Charm
May 30, 2019
What are some of the best Vermont cafes?
For a small state, Vermont offers an impressive selection of cafés. Whether you’re looking to grab a cup of coffee to go or want to settle in for a cozy lunch with friends, there are countless cafés to choose from in Vermont.
So many excellent Vermont cafés offer traditional favorites like breakfast sandwiches, BLTs, and Cobb salads, as well as more creative fare such as quinoa mac and cheese or bacon and ramps quiche. If you’re visiting Vermont for the first time or want to try something new, here are a dozen cafés that come highly recommended.
12 best Vermont cafes for breakfast, lunch—and in some cases—cocktails or dinner.
Hardwick Street Café in Greensboro
Hardwick Street Café is located at the Highland Center for the Arts, a state-of-the-art building inspired by Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre. The café is committed to serving local and seasonal items, as well as using foraged favorites such as fiddleheads, ramps, and dandelions. Starting in June, the café will serve a limited breakfast menu that includes fruit and yogurt, a breakfast sandwich, and breakfast tostada. Lunch and dinner offerings are offered year-round and include salads, sandwiches, special entrees, and a full bar (and beer from its world-famous neighbor, Hill Farmstead Brewery). The café highlights musical performances in the cafe and showcases larger acts at the center’s mainstage and performance studio. A stunning outdoor patio is a lovely perk for anyone stopping by for coffee or a tasty meal. (2875 Hardwick Street, Greensboro; https://highlandartsvt.org/cafe)
Amy’s Bakery Arts Café in Brattleboro
In the heart of downtown Brattleboro is Amy’s Bakery Arts Café, a local favorite known for its sandwiches, soups, croissants, and cakes. Try the Moulton mozzarella or garlicky chicken sandwich or order a special cake for a birthday party, anniversary or wedding. Amy’s Bakery Arts Café makes everything from scratch, using local products whenever possible. Outdoor seating is available on Main Street, or you can soak up views of the Connecticut River in the café’s indoor seating area. (113 Main Street, Brattleboro; www.facebook.com/Amys-Bakery-Arts-Café) – 2021 Update: The cafe is currently closed.
Peacham Café in Peacham
The Peacham Café opened in 2014, and Crystal Lapierre began operating this local gem in 2016. Daily offerings include things like buttermilk waffles with blueberry compote, cheddar ale soup, pear and feta salad, bacon and ramps quiche, and chocolate Guinness cake. Enjoy outdoor seating on the front porch and patio in warmer weather. The Peacham Café was founded by a group of community members who felt that Peacham residents needed a place to gather and share a meal. That vision and Peacham’s community spirit are evident when you step inside. (643 Bayley Hazen Road, Peacham; www.peachamcafe.org) – 2021 Update: The cafe is now operating under a new team, Avery Cisné, Jack Billings and Suzanne Podhaizer.
Dorset Bakery in Dorset
Dorset Bakery is known for its signature chocolate rum cake, homemade croissants, and specialty wedding cakes. Order challah bread French toast, breakfast burrito, or a homemade bagel for breakfast or try the Cobb salad, chicken pesto sandwich or turkey club for lunch. The café includes a dog-friendly outdoor patio in one of the prettiest towns in Vermont. (3239 Route 30, Dorset; www.dorsetrising.com)
The Sweet Spot in Waitsfield
Ever since The Sweet Spot opened in 2012, historic Waitsfield has never been better. The café, known for its eggplant sandwich and in-house roasted Awake Coffee, also serves up things like malasadas, ramen noodle snap pea salad, chicken bone broth, milkshakes, cocktails, wine, and more. The café is located along the scenic Mad River in a building that was resurrected after Tropical Storm Irene tore through Vermont (and Waitsfield’s Bridge Street) in August 2011. Goodnight, Irene. (40 Bridge Street, Waitsfield; www.thesweetspotvermont.com)
Zabby & Elf’s Stone Soup in Burlington
Stone Soup in Burlington has been serving everything from blueberry orange scones, pumpkin chocolate chip cookies, and apple cake to chicken wings, quinoa mac and cheese, and massaman curry since 1997. The cafe is known for its diverse selection of vegetarian and vegan offerings, and also has plenty of options to satisfy meat-eaters. The atmosphere is warm and welcoming, and the food never disappoints. Outdoor seating is available, and the café also offers seating next to a retractable, glass door that is open in warmer weather. (211 College Street, Burlington; www.stonesoupvt.com)
Soulfully Good in Woodstock
Soulfully Good opened a little over two years ago and has quickly made a name for itself. The café sells out of its award-winning buttermilk fried chicken salad sandwich on a near-daily basis. The café serves breakfast and lunch items, including a farmstand biscuit, vegan frittata, roast turkey panini, beet salad, and more. Soulfully Good includes dog-friendly outdoor seating, too. Starting in mid-June, the café will also serve dinner on Fridays and Saturdays. Before opening in Woodstock, owner Vicky Ferentinos operated a catering business for 16 years in New York, and eight years ago was the winning contestant on the Bravo TV cooking show, Rocco’s Dinner Party. Thanks to Soulfully Good, Woodstock is the real winner. (67 Central Street, Woodstock; www.soulfullygood.com) – 2020 Update: The cafe is under new ownership.
Newport Natural Market & Café in Newport
The oldest continuously-run natural food store in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom, the Newport Natural Market & Café offers traditional fare plus many vegan and gluten-free options. The store, which opened 38 years ago, is known for its popular panini, called The Vermonter, that’s stacked with Vermont smoked turkey, cheddar, apple, and honey mustard. The café also sells an interesting smoothie called Popeye’s Punch, which consists of spinach, almond milk, and bananas. Big points for tasty food and originality. (194 Main Street, Newport; https://newportnatural.com)
Haymaker Bun Co. in Middlebury
Tucked along the cozy Bakery Lane is Haymaker Bun Co., a pastry shop in a modern, gorgeous space with indoor and outdoor seating next to the Otter Creek. Owner Caroline Corrente, trained at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris, creates classic sweet, chocolate, and savory buns. You can try The Far East bun (sweet), which is rolled with cardamom, dates, and coconut, and topped with toasted almonds. The Boozy German bun (chocolate) is rolled with coconut and topped with pecans and a Stonecutter Spirits whiskey drizzle. Meanwhile, the Valerie (savory) is rolled with prosciutto and sautéed leeks, and topped with gruyere cheese. (7 Bakery Lane, Middlebury; www.haymakerbuns.com)
Moon Dog Café in Bellows Falls
Moon Dog opened in 2002 in Chester and relocated to Bellows Falls in 2018. The breakfast and lunch café offers everything from cherry cream cheese stuffed pancakes and dill chicken salad to tasty scones and hibiscus cream cupcakes. The café, which has a new age, feel-good vibe, shares a space with the building’s owners, who refurbished the property and opened Wunderbar—a cocktail and tapas bar that opens at 4 p.m. Moon Dog is where you’ll get a nice little helping of mindfulness along with some delicious food. (24 Rockingham Street, Bellows Falls; www.facebook.com/Moon-Dog-Cafe)
Capitol Grounds Café and 802 Coffee in Montpelier
Since 1998, Capitol Grounds Café has been a popular fixture in Montpelier. Selling coffee, espresso, baked goods, made-to-order breakfasts, sandwiches, soups, salads, quiche, and more, this café is a perfect place to stop in for lunch or grab something to go. It’s also a fun place to people-watch as the café’s wide front window overlooks busy State Street. The café roasts its own coffee for retail customers and provides coffee beans wholesale for other coffeehouses around the state. Located in the heart of the state’s capital city, Capitol Grounds is a local treasure. (27 State Street, Montpelier; www.capitolgrounds.com)
Sweet Simone’s in Richmond
Sweet Simone’s opened in Richmond in January 2015 after relocating from Waitsfield. The café is known for its granola bars, coconut cake, and scones. Its lunch menu includes tomato-basil with corn soup, eggplant panini, and chicken club. Before moving to Richmond, Sweet Simone’s owner and self-trained baker Lisa Curtis based her business at the Sweet Spot in Waitsfield, which is run by her sister and brother-in-law. At the bakery in Richmond, Curtis creates beautiful sweets every day that are inspired by local, seasonal ingredients. (40 Bridge Street, Richmond; www.sweetsimones.com)
There are so many wonderful cafés in Vermont! What do you think are the best Vermont cafes?
Sue SchlabachPosted at 07:55h, 31 May
First Branch Coffee in South Royalton is now serving delicious locally sourced lunches and they do dinner twice a week with tacos on Tuesdays and flatbread pizza on Fridays. They have Upper Pass beer available and a great atmosphere. They roast their own coffee—it is superb.
EricaPosted at 08:18h, 31 May
Thank you for the tip. Sue! I will definitely check it out. Have a nice weekend! -Erica
Colleen WarrenPosted at 03:31h, 01 June
Check out Brownsville Butcher & Pantry!
EricaPosted at 08:28h, 01 June
Hi Colleen – That is on my list of places to check out. Thanks for the tip! -Erica
RoselynePosted at 06:53h, 01 June
Que de cafés dans le Vermont! Cela me réveille d’heureux souvenirs passés avec toi il y a quelques bonnes années déjà et cela me donne une furieuse envie dans venir te rejoindre et te revoir pour découvrir ensemble tous ces cafés qui sont des plus attrayants. A bientôt par mail. Bisous
Greg GerdelPosted at 19:34h, 01 June
This list includes several cafes I know well – and heartily endorse your descriptions. Some Montpelier area notes for further exploration: Alla Vita, next to Capital Grounds, now has indoor seating in addition to seasonal outdoor seating and serves distinctively different, and delicious, breakfast toasts (7 to 10 a.m.) and a variety of Panini and salads for lunch. Also worth a stop for either breakfast, lunch or dinner is the Hippie Chick Pea on Elm Street (M – F, 8 – 8).
Over in Middlesex, just down Route 2 from the always wonderful Red Hen Bakery (which seems to have been discovered by I-89 commuters, if not everyone in New England) is the newly opened Bear Roots Farm Market. The building previously occupied by a very tired country store has been dramatically renovated and now offers fresh, local produce and artisan specialties, along with flowers and vegetables for planting. A timely arrival when the Scribner Farm did not reopen their stand this year.
EricaPosted at 20:33h, 01 June
Thanks, Greg! Great suggestions. I have been to Red Hen but need to check out the others. Thanks and hope you are doing well! -Erica
Carol EgbertPosted at 07:54h, 11 June
Soulfully Good Cafe is the heart of Woodstock. Wonderful food, cooked well, served with love, kindness and smiles. Have breakfast there and then lunch and soon dinner and you will be back again and again. Mmmmmm good!
EricaPosted at 10:07h, 13 June
Hi Carol — Such a wonderful spot! So glad you have this amazing place in town. -Erica