Burlington, Vermont is one of the most beautiful and unique places to visit, especially if you are interested in food. With an emphasis on the locavore movement and delicious coffee, eating your way around a town has never been more rewarding.
By Jennifer Post
Hands down, the best coffee I’ve ever had was in Burlington. The two best coffee companies to be sure to visit are Vermont Artisan Coffee and Tea and Green Mountain Coffee. Vermont is the Green Mountain state; in fact in French, “ver” means green, and “mont” means mountain. The Green Mountain Coffee Company also invented the Keurig and the K-cup, so they definitely know the world of coffee.
Vermont Artisan Coffee and Tea sells their coffee online, which is fantastic for those of use who aren’t lucky enough to live in Vermont permanently. They sell coffee from different parts of the world known for their beans such as Africa, Indonesia, and Central America. All of their coffee is also Certified Organic and Fair Trade, which means that the farms they get their coffee beans from pay their workers fair wages for the work that they do.
Perhaps the coffee in Vermont always tastes extra special because the temperature seems hover around six degrees and the steaming drink reaching your lips is a relief. Or maybe it is because the shops take extra care and effort into acquiring the highest quality beans. Whatever the reason is, going to Burlington just for the coffee would not be a trip wasted.
There are so many breweries in Vermont that produce beer of all types. The Vermont Brewers Association lists all of the local breweries, but I will also list the ones that I enjoyed in Burlington.
Vermont has a delicious hard cider company called Citizen Cider. This sweet drink doesn’t taste boozy at all, but their different varieties all have 7% alcohol content, so the same as a beer. It is crisp and refreshing, much like the temperatures outside in the winter. If you find yourself in a cozy restaurant enjoying a hearty meal, the ciders go perfectly with almost any dish. The one I had the most often was the Unified Press, but as far as names go, The Dirty Mayor might be my favorite.
Just because the word “skinny” is the name, doesn’t mean it’s healthy! The name actually refers to the thin crepes they serve, and there are so many options on the menu! I ordered the Jam On It, which was filled with raspberry jam and Cabot butter and was covered in powdered sugar. Their fries are also delicious, especially dipped in the signature honey mustard sauce. Although it may sound strange, the crepe and the fries were the perfect combination of sweet and salty. Another plus, The Skinny Pancake puts a strong emphasis on local and affordable food ad it is evident on their menu.
Image Courtesy of Windjammer Restaurant
The Windjammer is associated with a hotel in South Burlington, VT, but don’t let the fact that you’re not staying there sway you from the place. They call themselves Burlington’s original steak and seafood restaurant. The decor is rustic and nautical with dark wood tones and sketches of boats hanging on the wall. Their menu is expansive and includes everything from corn fritters to lobster tails. I ordered the crab cake appetizer and it was delicious! There wasn’t much filler so there was plenty of crab to enjoy and the cake was sautéed, as opposed to being breaded, fried, and too greasy. The scallops here are also incredible and served in a rich lemon-butter sauce. Check out their menu HERE.
Image Courtesy of Trip Advisor
This place is a local landmark. Al’s is know around town for their burgers, and it is for good reason. The burgers are thin, charred just the right amount, and topped with any of your favorite condiments like ketchup, onions or relish. I went there three times in the week that I was in Vermont and was able to try a lot of the menu. I ordered the corn dog and it was delicious. It’s hard to mess up a corn dog, but the one at Al’s definitely climbed the list of my top 3. Also, you have to order the fries each time and the only way to enjoy them is doused in salt and vinegar. Check out their website HERE.
We ate a delicious dinner here, even though some may see it as only a pub. It is definitely a bar environment, but the quality of “bar food” is high. We ordered nachos to start and they came smothered in local Vermont cheddar cheese. With simple, minimal toppings the focus of the nachos was on the cheese, which was decadent and so flavorful.
Their menus are also set up like newspapers, which is a fun touch. I did start to wonder how many menus they go through though, since ours got wet and covered in food in no time at all. Our group was able to order a couple of different dishes and sample a good portion of the menu. Be sure to try their buffalo chicken wrap, the classic meatloaf, shepherd’s pie, or even their burger.
This list is just a small sampling of all the restaurants and bars that Burlington, VT has to offer. There are many great that are closed for the season that food lovers must return for in the summer season. The foliage in the fall, the water activities in the summer, and the skiing in the winter are just some of the reasons to visit Burlington. But if you ask me, the real reasons are the locally crafted food, drinks, and hospitality.