Vermont’s restaurant scene represents a panoply of regional and international flavors. It’s possible to take a tour of the world without leaving the state. To help you embark, we have gathered, in the next few pages, a small taste to whet your appetite.
Leunig’s Bistro & Café — 115 Church St., on the Church Street Marketplace, Burlington. Experience Leunig’s and you’ll believe its motto: “The panache of Paris and the value of Vermont, right in the center of downtown Burlington.” It has charming decor, creative food, and a well-appointed bar, plus an art deco lounge upstairs and live music for dinner. The sidewalk patio at the corner of Church and College streets offers a prime spot for downtown people-watching (or for being seen). Serving lunch, dinner, and Saturday and Sunday brunch (first-come, first-served), when the restaurant’s special-blend coffee and fresh-squeezed orange juice make a great start. (802) 863-3759. www.leunigsbistro.com.
J. Morgans Steakhouse — At Capitol Plaza, 100 State St., Montpelier. In 2011 J. Morgans was extensively renovated to create an airy, contemporary space. But the popular running trains are still there, and the award-winning menu didn’t need renovation. J. Morgans kudos include Best Steakhouse, Best Seafood, Best Brunch in Vermont, Best Independent Restaurant. It’s a place diners who know about its aged and hand-cut in-house beef, specialty pastas, fresh seafood, and oven-roasted prime rib (Friday and Saturday evenings while it lasts) return to again and again. Among the favorites at the generous Sunday brunch are chef-prepared omelets, Belgian waffles, and maple bourbon glazed ham. (802) 223-5222; www.jMorganssteakhouse.com.
One Federal Restaurant & Lounge — 1 Federal St., St. Albans. Hosts Chef Marcus and Erika Hamblett opened One Federal in 2009 after years of training in fine establishments around the country. Chef Marcus is NECI-trained and was an instructor there as well. All this shows in One Federal’s menu and hospitality. Everything on the menu is hand-made from scratch and cooked to order for lunch and dinner. In addition to a gluten-free menu, there’s plenty of comfort food. Think Southern-fried chicken, turkey pot pie, Vermont cheddar poutine. Pork shoulder is dry-rubbed and smoked for 18 hours, then shredded to make the Federal Pork-wich. Check out the amazing One Fed Frickles, beer-battered and fried pickles. And don’t miss the roasted beet salad. (802) 524-0330; www.onefederalrestaurant.com.
Toscano Café/Bistro — NEW FOR AUG -- 27 Bridge St., Richmond. Serving locals and tourists alike since 2003, this cozy little bistro offers Old World charm in downtown Richmond, a short, 20-minute drive from Burlington. Lace curtains, fresh flowers, and the soft glow of candlelight create a romantic ambience. Toscano’s Rustic Mediterranean menu features fresh seafood, local and imported cheeses, made-in-house desserts, fine Italian wines, and Vermont microbrews. Enjoy one of Max’s creative cocktails at the bar, a fresh Caesar salad on the front deck in the summer, or an order of fried calamari at a table for two anytime. Open for lunch and dinner Tuesday through Sunday, plus Sunday brunch. Closed Mondays. Call for reservations and info: (802) 434-3148. www.toscanocafe.com
Mexicali Grill & Cantina—Maple Tree Place, Williston. Head South of the Other Border for California-inspired Mexican, two doors down from Majestic 10. The recently expanded patio boasts 15 umbrella tables for your outdoor fiesta. For fresh, summer flavor try jalapeño cilantro slaw served in deep-fried, tilapia fish tacos, or the slow-cooked, shredded pork quesadillas. The Salsa Bar features homemade tortilla chips and unlimited spicy ranch plus seasonal salsas in a range of heat from salsa fresca and pico de gallo to peach habañero and XXX. Explore daily drink specials or a variety of local and Mexican beers, fruit and jalapeño-infused margaritas, sangria, and specialty margaritas. Open Monday through Friday at 11; Saturday and Sunday at noon. (Mexicali closes at 9pm during the winter) (802) 879-9492; www.mexicalivt.net.
The Windjammer — 1076 Williston Road, South Burlington. Locally owned and operated since 1977, The Windjammer describes itself as Burlington’s original steak and seafood restaurant. In addition to classic American fare, the menu offers vegetarian and gluten-free options, and an extensive salad bar. Creative cocktails, craft beers, and a Wine Spectator wine list complement both the restaurant and pub menus. The restaurant has supported Vermont farms, producers, and businesses since 1978. (802) 862-6585. www.WindjammerRestaurant.com.
The Upper Deck Pub — South Burlington. Located above the Windjammer Restaurant is a family-friendly, sports-themed pub that offers its own, extensive menu featuring steak and seafood plus a great selection of burgers, sandwiches, and appetizers. Complementing the menu are the Upper Deck’s broad wine list, creative cocktail menu, and a variety of microbrews on draft. (802) 862-6585.
Pauline’s Café and Restaurant — 1834 Shelburne Road, South Burlington. Chef David Hoene is the creative energy behind one of the area’s best known chef-owned restaurants. Pauline’s has been serving locals and tourists alike for over 30 years. Whether you’re seeking an intimate dinner for two or entertaining large groups of family, friends, or clients, the restaurant offers a fine-dining experience in a casual, comfortable environment. Menus feature many locally raised or foraged edibles from the Lake Champlain basin. Famous for its Maine crab cakes, Pauline’s also offers local free-range chicken, organic American beef, and farm-fresh vegetables in season. The wine list is carefully chosen to complement the food and features many biodynamic and organically produced wines from around the world. Dining options include a casual café; relaxed, elegant upstairs dining rooms; two private party rooms; an outdoor patio in season; and a cozy bar. All dining venues are wheelchair accessible. Reservations are recommended. (802) 862-1081; www.paulinescafe.com.
La Villa Bistro — 3762 Shelburne Road, Tenneybrook Square, Shelburne. A family-owned and chef-operated fresh Italian restaurant since 1995, serving lunch and dinner every day. Local food and a relaxing atmosphere make for great times with family and friends, and you can enjoy watching the chef work in the open kitchen. Gusto Gelato, an authentic gelateria making high quality gelato and sorbeto using traditional artisan methods, is in the space adjacent to La Villa. The gelato is made in small batches using local milk and natural ingredients. It’s lower in fat than ice cream and has a wonderful, creamy texture. Gusto flavors run from popular fan favorites to new and adventurous combinations. Opens at 11 Monday through Saturday, and Sundays 4 to 8:30 p.m. (802) 985-2596; www.lavillabistro.com and facebook.com/gustogelatovt.
Cloud 9 Caterers — 142 Hegeman Ave., Colchester. An Eco-conscious approach inspires the menu of this caterer located in Fort Ethan Allen. The unbelievably broad selection of menus includes foods and beverages to be passed or plated for sit-down affairs, buffets, and cocktail parties. A member of the Vermont Fresh Network, Cloud 9 prides itself on offering locally sourced food that is “eclectic, contemporary, and fresh.” Services include event-planning with destination consultations for up to 800 guests for served sit-down dinners, or 3,000 guests for cocktail events. (802) 655-7370; www.cloud9caterers.com.
Morgan’s Tavern — Middlebury Inn on the Town Green. This historic inn, which dates back to the early 1800s, has an exceptional dining room open to the public for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The menu in this Vermont-style public house features food prepared from fresh, locally sourced ingredients from small farmers, artisan cheese-makers, and specialty meat suppliers in the Vermont Fresh Network Partnership. Serving breakfast daily, 7 to 10 a.m.; lunch Monday through Friday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.; afternoon tea daily, 2:30 to 5:30 p.m.; and dinner Wednesday through Sunday, 5:30 to 9 p.m. Available for private dining, meetings, weddings, and events. (802) 842-4666; www.middleburyinn.com.
McCarthy’s Restaurant — 454 Mountain Road, Stowe. McCarthy’s is a Stowe institution since 1974. One look at the menu — breakfast or lunch — conjures up memories of places your parents took you as a kid, but with a modern, Farm-to-Table twist. For breakfast, you’ll find freshly baked goods like cinnamon rolls and sticky buns, local eggs cooked just about every way imaginable. Think eggs McCarthy on an English muffin, or scrambled with broccoli and Cabot cheddar on pita. Or try huevos rancheros or a breakfast burrito or quesadilla. Lunches feature wraps with funky names like Chicken with the Blues (cheese that is). A lineup of panini includes a Tuscan with grilled marinated chicken, roasted red peppers, mozzarella, red onions, and spinach and walnut pesto. Burgers, homemade soups smoothies, Speeder & Earl’s coffee. Makes you want to go now, doesn’t it? (802) 253-8686; www.mccarthysrestaurantstowe.com.
Junior’s Restaurants — Colchester, Burlington, and Stowe. Locally owned and operated since 1992, Junior’s Italian in Colchester is known as “Vermont’s Little Italy.” A classic pizzeria on one side offers hand-tossed, award-winning New York–style pizza and all the expected accompaniments. On the other side, you’ll find a fine-dining experience serving classic and authentic Old Country recipes like chicken piccata, eggplant rollatini, and fried calamari. Junior’s Rustico in Burlington opened in 2014 with a menu that offers something to satisfy every appetite, from Junior’s Old World favorites and stone-oven pizza to Latin flavors, such as paella and the Cubano sandwich, plus a popular Sunday brunch. Junior’s Stowe, the newest addition, serves generous portions of authentic Southern Italian cuisine. Think fresh pasta and seafood and classics like lasagna and Veal Parmigiana, plus fresh, wood-fired pizza. An extensive herb garden provides fresh ingredients. All three restaurants feature Junior’s homemade breads and desserts and an array of local brews, hand-crafted cocktails, and wine. Colchester: (802) 655-5555, www.juniorsitalianvt.com; Burlington: (802) 861-9999, www.juniorsrustico.com; Stowe: (802) 253-5677, www.juniorsatstowe.com.
Natural Provisions Market and Deli — 329 Harvest Lane, Suite 100, Williston. There might be no better way to enjoy a nutritious and tasty lunch than sitting at a café table suffused with daylight at Natural Provisions market. Natural Provisions is a health food store, owned and operated by Vermonters, whose goal is to be large enough to satisfy all, yet small enough to know the customers by name. The café is a place to sit and chat with friends over a cup of coffee or tea, a sandwich, or a bowl of homemade soup. Every Friday in summer, rain or shine, there’s a lunchtime outdoor barbecue serving vegans and meat-lovers alike. Or pick up food for dinner at the deli, which prepares family-style dinner entrées. The market also offers catering packages or will customize a menu for your special event. (802) 876-1400; www.naturalprovisions.com
Leonardo’s Pizza — 83 Pearl St., Burlington; 1160 Williston Road, South Burlington. Leonardo’s Pizza is a local, family owned and operated company established in 1990. It has been voted “Best Pizza Delivery” by Seven Days readers. Leonardo’s offers a pizza with whole wheat crust made daily with King Arthur organic flour. A member of Local First Vermont, Leonardo’s offers traditional, gourmet, and vegetarian pizzas; salads; bread sticks; and six flavors of chicken wings. Free delivery, business charge accounts, and online ordering at www.leonardosonline.com. Open seven days a week: Burlington, (802) 862-7700; South Burlington and Winooski, (802) 951-9000.
Joyce’s Noodle House — 5 Carmichael St., Essex Junction. For dining in or takeout, Joyce Fong, the chef-owner of Joyce’s Noodle House, creates lip-smackingly authentic Chinese dishes generous with vegetables. Joyce’s will make any menu item a vegetarian one on request. Specialties are dim sum Mandarin-style, Cantonese meat, spicy Szechuan and Hunan dishes, and noodles — soft, crispy, fried, in soups — delicious noodles. The menu includes several Thai dishes, and combination dinners are served all day. Full bar. No MSG is used, and Joyce’s cooks with only 100% vegetable oil. Prices are reasonable, and credit cards are accepted. (802) 288-9828. www.joycesnoodlehouse.com.
To make your restaurant part of the next Dining Out, call (802) 862-4109.
Mill Publishing Inc.
P.O. Box 953
Williston, VT 05495-0953