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Getting There Lodging Restaurants Attractions Stowe Hiking Fishing Backpacking Hut to Hut

For being such a popular stop during Summer hiking season, Fall Foliage season, and Winter ski season, Stowe has surprisingly few restaurants. This has the unfortunate effect of causing waits of one to two hours for a table, and most of the restaurants don't take advance reservations except for tour buses. Those tour buses make it worse, because they'll drop 50 people at a time at one of the restaurants. The community tightly regulates permits, which keeps fast food and national chains out. So just getting a meal in Stowe is a challenge. However, the good news is that once you actually get a table, the food in any of Stowe's restaurants is very good.

The only detail we find curious is that here in the Apple capital of the world, surrounded by apple orchards, nobody serves any apple items. No apple pie, apple strudel, fried apples, apple soup, apple cider, apple salad, apple dumplings, apple cake, or even apple sauce. They don't do much with Maple Syrup, either, except for a very good Maple Old Fashioned which Grant's, Harrison's and The Whip serve, and a maple glaze which a few restaurants offer on Salmon or other meat.

Like all resorts in the 21st Century, Stowe has a serious staffing issue. Despite $15 an hour plus tips, restaurant workers cannot afford to live in the community. We talked to chefs, cooks and waiters and they all drive in from Burlington, Montpelier and Johnsonville, meaning a huge percent of their income is used up by gasoline and wear and tear on vehicles. All the local one bedroom houses have been bought up and gentrified and either used as vacation homes or rented out at high prices. Stowe will have to do what other resorts have done and build a dorm or apartment complex just for service workers, but it hasn't got around to it yet.

Note we don't cover bars serving only "pub food" or Pizzerias serving only Pizza. We only list full service restaurants.

Bench Cafe On Main Cliff House Doc Pond's Grant's Harrison's Sandwich Company SushiYoshi VonTrapp Lodge Whip

The Bench is on your right two miles north of town on Route 108. The ambience is loud and raucous but the food's good. It's mostly comfort food : Mac and Cheese, Poutine, Wood Fired Scallops, Wings, and a Soup of the Day. There are four Salads and a long list of Burgers and Sandwiches. Entrees include Meatloaf, Ravioli, Duck, Pork Tenderloin, Ribs, Salmon and a New York Strip Steak. The Meatloaf is their signature dish. It comes with Yukon Mashed Potatoes with Sage Gravy, Garlic Butter Green Beans and Onion Strips. They also offer seven kinds of Pizza. The full Bar offers a long list of Vermont craft beers, wines and the usual mixed drinks.

The Bench is open from 4 pm til close, which is usually around 9. When you show up they put your name on the list and will call you on your phone when a table opens up, usually a wait of an hour or 90 minutes. If you arrive after 7:30 they may decline to list you because there's not enough time.

Cafe On Main is in a building with bookstore across the hall, a mercantile downstairs and a boutique upstairs. It's only open til 2:00 pm and has a limited lunch menu. But what it serves is delicious. Its Soups Of The Day (there are usually three) are always creative, unique and great. The rotation includes Curried Carrot & Ginger, Butternut Squash Bisque, Roast Beet & Horseradish, Sweet Potato Bisque and Cream of Kale. Its Sandwiches, along with The Sandwich Company's, are the best in town. The Vermont Cheddar Grilled Cheese is an award winner. If you come a little earlier you can order one of their fine Breakfast Sandwiches, a Belgian Waffle or their house made Oatmeal. The problem here isn't getting waited on; it's finding a table. Customers spill outside when weather permits, but others sit inside on the stairs or just stand against a wall.

Cliff House on Mount Mansfield is open for lunch (11:00 am - 2:30 pm) when the gondola is operating. There's no road to it, although you could reach it by one of several rigorous hiking trails. It's a good restaurant but the gondola ride makes it pricey. The incredible views make this a worthy stop. They offer Salads, a Charcuterie Board, Mac n Cheese, Ribs, Soups (Tomato Basil, Chile and Butternut Squash), Fondue, Vegetarian Wraps, Burgers and Grilled Chicken. Unfortunately, they often run out of items during the last hour of lunch so we advise going early. The Bar is full service and is famous for its Buttered Rum.

You order, then find a table and they bring your meal. Go early to secure a table with a view, which is the whole purpose of ruding up on the grossly overpriced gondola.

Doc Pond's is a bar trying to be a restaurant. They serve what might be called upscale bar food. There are three kinds of Wings, three kinds of Salads, a Burger, three Sandwiches, a Ribeye, Roast Carrots, Mac n Cheese, Garlic Fries, Green Beans, Pie and Milkshakes.

But there are three pages of Beers, Ciders, Wines and Cocktails, and, for the nonalcoholic guests, Ginger Ale, Sour Cherry Kombucha, Root Beer, Maple Lemonade, and Coca Cola.

Doc's biggest advantage is that it's only a long block from downtown Stowe, across the covered pedestrian bridge and up the hill. You can often get a table at Doc's when everywhere else is full.

Grant's is the restaurant in the Village Inn, just across the covered pedestrian bridge from downtown Stowe. It's only open for dinner Wednesday through Saturday.

The food is excellent and portions generous. Appetizers include the locally popular Poutine, a plate of fingerling potatoes, cheese curds and gravy; and Burrata, a local cheese somewhat like Mozzarella. But there are also Pork or Chicken Wings, Pretzels and Pork Belly Tacos. Salads include Caesar, Mixed Green, Beet, and Poached Pear. The Tomato Soup is always good. Entrees are Vegetable Risotto, Salmon, Jambalaya, New York Strip Steak, Duck, Chicken Carbonara and Pork Porterhouse.

The wine list is decent and the bartender makes a fine Old Fashioned using either Makers Mark or a locally distilled rye whiskey.

During good weather you can sit inside, on the beautiful wrap around porch, or out on the patio. From your table you can look down across the town and to the mountains beyond.

Harrison's is located in downtown Stowe, just across Main Street from the Green Mountain Inn. It's been here a long time and many critics consider it not only the best restaurant in the Stowe area but one of the two or three best in all of Vermont. Consider eating early because by mid evening it can be almost impossible to get a table here. Many of their items have developed their own loyal following, such as the Crawfish & Crab Cakes, Duck Drumettes (with a maple chipotle glaze), Beet & Green Salad, Venison, Rainbow Trout, Pumpkin & Butternut Squash Ravioli, and a creation called the Chicken Razorback. This last item is a sauteed Chicken Breast with a Wild Boar Salami, Roast Red Peppers, Vermont Cheddar, Parmesan Cheese, Mashed Potatoes and Sauteed Vegetables. The flavors of the Chicken, Wild Boar (basically a free ranging southern razorback hog), cheeses and vegetables play off each other very well. In a state where the Maple Syrup Old Fashioned is almost the state drink, Harrison's makes one of the best. Their Soup of the Day varies, but whatever it is, someone at your table should order it. The Peanut Butter Pie here is probably the best dessert in town, but many locals prefer the Profiteroles, a dish of three housemade creampuffs filled with vanilla ice cream and topped with hot fudge.

The Sandwich Company is on the left about two miles north of town on Route 108. It's mainly a takeout business but has a dozen tables inside. Its soups and sandwiches are outstanding. You place your order, then find a table and wait for your name to be called. They're famous for their Hot Chicken, Brisket, Apple Turkey Cheese and something they call the Vermont Press Sandwiches. This last one contains applewood smoked ham, bacon, Vermont cheddar, apple slices and house made maple mustard on sourdough pressed with brown sugar cinnamon butter.  The Vermont Press has its own cult following, with people driving long distances for it. But The Sandwich Company also makes outstanding Hot Ham & Swiss and Cuban sandwiches, six delicious Salads and three Bowls, which are a hit with the Vegan crowd. The beverage list is a bit eccentric bit very good : Maine Root Lemonade, Cold Hollow Cider, Jarritos, Kombucha and very good Coffee and Tea. The only problem is they close at 4 pm every day.
Sushi Yoshi is an Asian Fusion restaurant with an extensive menu of Chinese, Japanese, Thai, Vietnamese and Korean items. Their several Soups and Salads are excellent, especially the Spicy Sea Weed Salad and Hot & Sour and Clear Broth Soups. They fix a nice Spring Roll and Crab Rangoon. There's plenty of Sushi and Sashimi and various Rice dishes. From the Wok you can pick from a variety of Pork, Beef, Chicken, Shrimp and Vegetable entrees. They offer six Teriyaki dinners. Among the skiing crowd, the Pad Thai and Mongolian Chicken dinners are the most popular. There's a full Hibachi menu. Sushi Yoshi is about two miles north of town on Route 108. There's a surcharge for using credit cards so if you pay cash you save.

The Von Trapp Lodge restaurant and beer hall are half an hour drive out of town, up on top of the mountain. You need reservations and everything is a bit overpriced. But it's still worth one meal, even if only lunch. The Austrian ambience, magnificent views and Sound of Music history are fun to share. The Mulled Cider, Hot Rum Cider and Jack Daniels Cider are unique. The Crab Cake, Duck Confit Poutine, Vermont Cheese Board, Beet & Goat Cheese Salad, Fried Brussells Sprouts Salad and Wiener Schnitzel receive most of the accolades, but the rest of the limited menu is also delicious : Maple Glazed Trumpet Mushroons, New York Sirloin, Salmon and Chicken. In the Beer Hall they offer a few additional items worth trying : Cheddar Lager Soup, Zucchini Fritters, Chicken Schnitzel and a Bratwurst, Knackwurst and Bauerwurst Platter. If you go up for Breakfast you can try their Roast Vermont Maple Sausage. In the Summer this is just a tourist attraction for fans of rhe movie and the Von Trapp singers, but in Winter it's America's finest cross country ski resort.

The Whip is the historic restaurant in the Green Mountain Inn in downtown Stowe. The Whip is named in honor of the days when the Inn was a major stagecoach stop. The restaurant is open three meals a day all week. It's known for its "Starr Sandwich," (an enhanced Turkey Club), Maple Glazed Wings, Venison, Maple Brined Pork Tenderloin, Vermont Cheddar Chicken, Gorgonzola Crusted Filet Mignon. They do a fine job with seafood, whether it's Cod, Halibut, Salmon, Swordfish or Shrimp. Their various Soups of the day are also always good, with the Corn Chowder one of their signature dishes.

However, we were not as impressed with the Turkey Dinner. The turkey was merely sliced from a turkey loaf, hardly befitting a top restaurant.

The Bar mixes a fine Maple Old Fashioned and several other mixed drinks, but avoid the frozen drinks, which are way below par and out of place at a top bar like this. Due to the Green Mountain Inn being so popular and the location at the main intersection in Stowe, reservations at The Whip are advisable, especially during Fall Foliage Season.

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