- Matthew Thorsen | Rev. Diane Sullivan
There's no ignoring the lackluster economy, but when it comes to the food biz, Vermont actually has some good news to report. Fewer restaurants have gone out of business than anticipated, and new eateries with innovative concepts are popping up like crocuses in spring.
While 2008 turned out to be the year of the Asian restaurant — the Green Mountains gained a handful of new noodle shops in pan-Asian and Vietnamese flavors — "Euro" appears to be the next big thing. This summer, the Queen City is expecting both a German "beer garden" and a "gastropub," which is British for a place where sudsy brews meet great food. Future restaurateurs, take note: There are still opportunities for Spanish and Greek fare.
Another hot trend? Livin' la vida localvore. Each day, it seems, more people ponder how their food choices impact the environment. One easy way to access "green" food is purchasing directly from local growers eager to discuss their farming practices with customers. Maybe that's why "farm-share" baskets are more popular than ever.
Chefs are still hot on the localvore movement, too. If the number of restaurants in the Vermont Fresh Network — a group committed to connecting area eateries with farmers and consumers — is any indication, folks in toques continue to swoon over the plethora of homegrown artisan cheeses, pastured meats and heirloom vegetables.
They're serving the good stuff with local libations, too. Our tiny state boasts more microbreweries per capita than any other, and there are scads of working wineries, too. Want mead, vodka or maple liqueur? No problem. To help you find your favorite "potent potable," we've compiled a list of the state's brewers, vintners and distillers.
Another new feature can help you select fabulous dining destinations just outside the 7 Nights circulation area. It's right before the index, at the back of the book.
Consider yourself a "foodie"? Join our Bite Club. Members receive a weekly e-newsletter, which includes info about culinary jobs, exciting events, mini restaurant reviews and links to Seven Days food stories before they appear on the newsstand. You can also follow Food Editor Suzanne Podhaizer's tasty Twitter "tweets" under the name "feedmenow." Coming soon: an online forum to discuss anything your hungry heart desires.