Boston Restaurant Blog -- July, 2012
Thursday, July 26, 2012
I recently took a trip up to Vermont to return to the Vermont Cheesemakers' Festival in Shelburne, and went to several restaurants along the way, including mostly "repeat" spots as well as a couple of new places that replaced dining spots that I had been to in the past. A few places that I returned to included Eaton Sugarhouse in Royalton (a classic roadside spot that seems to be frequented by farmers), Foxfire Inn in Stowe (a cozy Italian spot north of town that greatly impressed once again), 158 Main in Jeffersonville (an excellent farm-to-table restaurant that has some outstanding breads), and American Flatbread in Waitsfield (one of my personal favorites in all of New England, with an outdoor dining experience that is unforgettable). And now, on to the new spots that took over now-closed places....
a few weeks before my trip to Vermont, I learned (much to my dismay) that The Shed in Stowe had shut down. A new spot did recently move into the space, however, and much like the landmark eating and drinking establishment that it replaced, Crop Bistro and Brewery is a fun and slightly funky restaurant that has some excellent food and drink. We went to Crop for lunch after the cheese fest, and had to wait a bit for an outdoor table, spending some time in the bar area while waiting. Crop didn't have their own beers ready yet, but the ones that they did have were quite impressive, with brew from the Alchemist, Chimay, and Abita being just a few favorites on their list. We chatted with the bartender (who really knew his beers) for awhile before being brought over to our table on the outdoor patio, and we promptly ordered a couple of sandwiches, with the buffalo chicken wrap including a delicious (and not too spicy) marinade and the turkey club including real turkey and a fresh multi-grain bread (the greens on the side tasted like they were just picked, while the pasta salad was slightly greasy but very tasty). Our server was every bit as friendly as the bartender and the host, and the upgraded patio and interior of the restaurant seemed quite a bit nicer than the comfortable though slightly tired atmosphere of The Shed. It is tough to judge a dining spot based on a quick lunch, but our experience at Crop was a positive one from start to finish, cheering me up a bit over the loss of The Shed, which I had been going to for many years.
Another Vermont restaurant that I had been going to for a long time was Jana's Cupboard, a roadside eatery that was a favorite among both truckers and skiers (as well as real outdoorsy types in the summer). Jana's closed a few years ago, becoming a spot called Peggy's Cookin' but that also closed, and now another place called Family Table resides in the space. We tried Family Table for breakfast on our way out and while our meals were about as good as those from the old Jana's Cupboard, the place itself seemed to have lost some of its charm. The old skis and sleds that used to hang on the walls have been taken down, and not a trucker nor an "outdoors" type was in sight. But our server was laid-back and friendly, the eggs, home fries (which were odd little chip-like discs), and waffles were all fine, and the prices were quite reasonable. I'm not sure I would take Family Table over the marvelous 158 Main (which is within walking distance), but it was certainly a decent place to get a quick breakfast.
Another trip is being planned for Vermont fairly soon--either later this summer or early in the fall--so stay tuned for more reviews of dining spots up there, most likely in the central and/or southern part of the state.
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