1873 Route 302, Berlin
Back in 2006, before I worked for Seven Days, I wrote a comment for the Wayside on the 7 Nights website entitled, "Calvin Coolidge's Ghost Eats Here." I stand by the statement. If the shade of the former president were looking to satisfy an earthly hunger, he would find the food, prices and company most agreeable – and changed little since the Wayside opened in 1917.
Where else in Vermont is honeycomb tripe always on the menu and salt pork with milk gravy a regular special? On my last visit, I think I finally cemented my battle plan: It's cheap, so order a lot. For two of us, we ordered three entrées, all from the specials menu. With that, we got six sides. Cheddar Goldfish was among them (pictured) and the first to arrive, along with the fluffy, doughnut-sweet rolls.
All three entrées, which are relatively small, but very cheap, arrived at once with the remaining five sides. The meatloaf was sweetened with a generous layer of ketchup and smothered in rich gravy. Even when soaked in sauce, the fries on the side remained crisp.
The chicken pot pie was really more like chicken and biscuits, but tender and perfectly seasoned, like grandma used to make — only better. On the same plate, we had a brick of fried polenta and a zingy cucumber salad. The most creative dish of the evening was pork chops with apple and cranberry sauce. The toothsome breaded pork and sweet and sour chutney were a delightful taste of autumn, an idea further bolstered by a creamy side of local squash.