In Vermont, there is no shortage of incredible restaurants serving up local fare like grass-fed beef, fresh greens, Vermont cheeses, seasonable vegetables, and hoppy brews. To put together a list of recommendations, I reached out to friends and colleagues in the Vermont food scene for suggestions.
Here are 12 Vermont restaurants that are making their mark in Vermont’s thriving farm-to-table movement.
The Parker Pie Co.
161 County Road, West Glover Village
Serving lunch and dinner daily (closed Mondays during the off season)
The Parker Pie Co. is a popular food destination in the Northeast Kingdom that’s located in the back of a village store. Their thin-crust pizza—arguably the best in Vermont—is cooked on stone with locally-sourced toppings like bacon, smoked sausage, vegetables, and of course, Vermont cheese. Sip Vermont beers on tap and listen to live music on select nights. If pizza isn’t your thing, you can also try slow-roasted beef, local greens, sandwiches, nachos, and more.
Roots the Restaurant
51 Wales Street, Rutland
Serving lunch and dinner daily
Located in the heart of downtown Rutland, Roots the Restaurant is committed to preparing food with local, fresh ingredients, including organic crops and humanely-raised livestock. Menu items include Shacksbury Cider braised pork belly, Vermont maple roasted acorn squash, and a Vermont beef burger. The restaurant’s lively atmosphere, great service, and friendly vibe make it a favorite among locals and out-of-towners.
Black Krim Tavern
21 Merchants Row, Randolph
Serving dinner Tuesday-Saturday
It’s all about local food at this Randolph restaurant named after an heirloom tomato. The restaurant’s menu changes weekly and sources food from surrounding farms as well as its own farm, Pebble Brook, just up the road in Braintree. Pebble Brook Farm is run by chef-owner Sarah Natvig’s husband, Chip, and their meat is sourced mainly from friends and neighbors. Diners can enjoy entrees like Callahan Farm lamb sausage, parsnip and green apple, soup, and Cajun Moon Farm smoked chicken.
56 Rainbow Street, South Royalton
Serving lunch Friday-Sunday; dinner Monday, Wednesday-Sunday
The Worthy Burger is a craft beer and burger bar located off-the-beaten-path along railroad tracks in Vermont’s Upper Valley. The restaurant, which opened in 2012 in a 19th century railroad freight house, serves an assortment of burgers—beef, turducky (a blend of turkey and duck confit), and veggie—as well as hand-cut fries cooked twice in beef tallow. The beef and buns are local, and so is the beer. Jason Merrill, chef-owner of the Worthy Group, which includes Worthy Burger and its sister restaurant, Worthy Kitchen in Woodstock, says he works with farms committed to producing food that is humanely raised, not abused, and hormone free. “We source our beef and vegetables from many different farms in our area,” he says. “Winter is harder, as you know, but with all the green house gardens sprouting up, we are able to extend our farm season.”
SoLo Farm & Table
95 Middletown Road, South Londonderry
Serving dinner Thursday-Monday
SoLo Farm & Table is a place I visit at least once a year. Chloe and Wesley Genovart reopened the former Three Clock Inn in 2011 and have made it into one of Vermont’s most celebrated restaurants. Chloe ran the dining room at Per Se in New York while Wesley was the founding chef at Degustation in the East Village. SoLo was named in 2016 by Travel and Leisure as one of the best farm-to-table restaurants in America (I was interviewed for that story). Chloe and Wesley buy only whole animals and butcher them themselves, using every bit so there is no waste. They also ferment, can, pickle, bake their own bread, and churn their own butter. Truly, SoLo is as local as it gets.
29 Stone Road, Brookfield
Serving dinner Wednesday-Sunday (April-October)
Overlooking Sunset Lake (home of the Floating Bridge) in Brookfield, Ariel’s Restaurant has been drawing food lovers from all over since it opened in 1997. Chef Lee Duberman experiments with mainly local ingredients for her Mediterranean and Pacific Rim dishes. Lee graduated first in her class at the Culinary Institute of America, and catered for Sardi’s in New York and in the kitchens at Ma Maison in Los Angeles and The White House in Vermont before opening Ariel’s. This is a restaurant not to be missed.
3963 VT-100, Pittsfield
Serving dinner Fridays and Saturday by reservation only (open November to May)
A list of local food restaurants would not be complete without mentioning The Backroom. Even as their dining season is winding down for the summer so the owners can focus on catering and special events, this restaurant should be on your dining radar. The Backroom is tucked behind a 19th-century general store, which was started just a few years ago by owners Kevin Lasko and Katie Stiles. About 63 percent of the food the couple purchases for the restaurant is from or produced in Vermont. Guests can enjoy ingredients from places like Luna Bleu Farm, Vermont Creamery, Kiss the Cow Farm, and other local farms.
52 State Street, Montpelier
Serving dinner Wednesday-Saturday; brunch Saturday and Sunday
Chef-owner Crystal Maderia is passionate about eating fresh, whole foods. The menu at Kismet features a wide assortment of local, organic, and vegetarian meals. On the restaurant’s website, Crystal shares the story of how her mom was a talented chef with Portuguese blood and an appetite for wine and fresh food. Her dad showed her how to appreciate the natural world and taught her how to plant and save seeds. Her menu includes roasted tomato soup, roasted beets, seared pork, and short rib.
Hen of the Wood
55 Cherry Street, Burlington
Serving dinner daily
The menu at Hen of the Wood Hen of the Wood changes daily, serving up ingredients from local farmers and producers, including Jericho Settlers’ Farm, Half-Pint Farm, Grafton Village Cheese, and Twig Farm, among many others. The acclaimed restaurant opened in Waterbury (92 Stowe St., Waterbury, VT; 802-244-7300) in 2005, and the Burlington location came along eight years later. Chef Eric Warnstedt is a multiple James Beard Foundation Award nominee, and his food reflects Hen of the Wood’s commitment to local farmers and food producers. If you’re in Burlington, plan for a night out at Hen of the Wood.
Chelsea Royal Diner
487 Marlboro Road, West Brattleboro
Serving breakfast, lunch and dinner daily
This is not your run-of-the-mill diner. The Chelsea Royal Diner, a vintage 1938 Worcester diner, offers an impressive local food menu. Behind the diner is where chickens lay eggs and vegetables grow in the owners’ garden. The diner also serves grass-fed beef and local produce from neighboring farms. Guests can enjoy everything from eggs Benedict to corned beef hash to maple barbecue chicken.
Mary’s Restaurant at Baldwin Creek
1868 North 116 Road, Bristol
Serving dinner Wednesday-Saturday; brunch on Sunday
Chef Doug Mack was working with local farmers long before farm-to-plate became mainstream. Sustainability is the foundation of the restaurant, and it’s one of a select few restaurants in Vermont to have received the Slow Food Snail of Approval Designation. Behind the inn are greenhouses and a chicken coop, which are home to dozens of Red Star chickens, providing fresh eggs and produce for Mary’s Restaurant. Menu offerings range from local, naturally–raised beef, pork, lamb, rabbit, venison, and chicken to delicious vegetarian selections.
The Farmhouse Tap & Grill
160 Bank Street, Burlington
Serving lunch and dinner daily
The Farmhouse in downtown Burlington is a must for beer lovers and local food enthusiasts. The restaurant occupies a building that was once home to a McDonald’s less than a decade ago. Grass-fed beef, fresh produce, and Vermont cheeses are sourced from area farms, and the taproom features iconic brews from Vermont and around the world. Relax on the front patio and outdoor beer garden in the summer or opt for the garden level parlor during the colder months. The menu features everything from local cheese and crispy salads to BBQ pork and juicy burgers.
What are some of your favorite local food restaurants in Vermont?
Photo: The Backroom Restaurant in Pittsfield