- Brent Harrewyn
Twenty years ago, few foodies had uttered the phrase "farm to table." Now, nary a restaurant opens without working those three little words into its tagline.
For some, the expression conjures visions of overwrought dishes: beet-brined beef cheeks, anyone? But in Vermont, "farm to table" is more than a catchphrase; it's a vibrant complement to a food system that has long cared about local. Here, that concept expands far beyond the provenance of what's on your plate.
Waitsfield's Home Plate sources beef from nearby Neill Farm because it's the neighborly thing to do — period. In the dewy hills of West Fairlee, local teens return summer after summer to work at Middlebrook Restaurant & Market. On the shores of Sunset Lake in Brookfield, Ariel's Restaurant has a 20-year history as a place for dates, family reunions and wedding receptions.
If the best way to understand a culture is through its food, Vermont restaurants are evidence of the state's strong communities. Lucky for us, the food they're dishing out happens to be pretty great, too. 7 Nights will guide you to it.
Countering the self-serious reputation of locavore dining, many Vermont chefs combine their agrarian ideals with a healthy dose of fun. Nominated for multiple James Beard Awards, Winooski's Misery Loves Co. plates wildly creative interpretations of every season in a casual neighborhood bistro. In the shadow of a Barton church, the Parson's Corner serves unpretentious diner fare and finger-licking Vermont-beef Reubens to the blue-collar crowd.
Head southwest to Doc Ponds in Stowe, and you'll find an après-ski bar with a menu of boozy milkshakes, made with milk from the cows that famously dot our hillsides. Because when it comes to Vermont's landscape, what you see is probably what you'll eat.