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Farmers Diner, VT

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In a reply to an earlier post I gave a guess as to the address for the new Farmers Diner. It has moved from Barre to Quechee Gorge Village, Quechee, VT 802-295-6600, www.farmersdiner.com. I haven't been there yet but got the info from a mention in the 9/17/2006 Boston Globe Magazine.

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  1. My wife, my 5 year old son, and I dined at the Farmer's Diner this past weekend. First, the atmosphere is fun and genuine -- the diner is renovated and looks great! Second, the food is worth going back for (and I live three hours away). While it is simple, it comes as advertised -- fresh, using local ingredients, and well-prepared.

    We started out with the hush puppies (made with local corn). Five puppies sat on a pool of homemade maple barbeque sauce. They had nice, oniony flavor with bits of corn, and the sauce was very nice -- spicy/sweet, and easy to mop up with the last puppie. My wife thought that plain maple syrup would have gone better with them; I wished that the Farmers Diner could hook up with a local pig farmer and a smoker, and start to offer a nice platform for that sauce.

    For our entrees, my son had the grilled cheese on white with fries, my wife had the penne pasta with pesto cream sauce and (local) turkey (offered as the special), and I had a roast beef club on rye with late season corn on the cob. My son and I also split a pint of organic chocolate milk.

    Everything was delicious. My son's grilled cheese was made with Cabot cheddar on homemade white bread. Although he enjoyed the cheese, he prefers fake Wonder bread-like pasteboard to real bread. That's OK -- I found room to snack on it. His fries were fresh cut from local potatoes, a little limp but with savory potatoey flavor. I snuck in one taste of my wife's pasta, and nearly had my hand speared with her fork. Again, nicely prepared -- the pasta was al dente, the sauce creamy, and the (again, local) turkey moist and flavorful. My own sandwich, on homemade rye bread, had plenty of flavor as well. It's surprising how fresh tomatoes, local bacon, and local beef can make a big difference in taste. The corn on the cob, however, was typical late-season corn -- OK, but a little tough (I shoulda ordered those fries).

    For dessert, my wife and I shared a blueberry-apple pie, with a homemade crust and vanilla ice cream. My son had a scoop of mint ice cream -- but what ice cream it was! This treat was made with fresh mint leaves on a vanilla base -- after he abandoned it, my wife and I finished it off just to savor the difference from what passed for mint ice cream these days. My coffee was hot, strong and perfect for a meal end.

    The cost? A mere $50, including tip. If you're in Vermont to peep at the leaves, definitely check out the Quechee Gorge and have a good, affordable meal with local flavor.

    2 Replies
    1. re: MUGger

      Just wanted to second this emotion. Went to the Farmers Diner over T'giving weekend with my parents, who aren't food snobs but feel, in many cases rightly, that they can cook better food than they get in most restaurants. They were very impressed. We didn't have anything fancy (steak and eggs, a patty melt, and scrambled eggs and bacon -- don't miss the bacon!!), but everything was tasty. People may skip this place because it's in the middle of a tourist strip on U.S. 4, near Quechee Gorge, and food in tourist strips is often terrible. But that would be a mistake in this case.

      1. re: MUGger

        LOVE LOVE LOVE THIS PLACE!!!
        We had a group of 24 that had all met up in the Upper Valley of VT for a reunion. The Farmers Diner was recommended to us by a local after another restaurant down the way had lost our reservation (how aggravating). I have to be honest we called to see if they could serve us with about 5 minutes notice, they said it would be no problem and that although fairly busy that they could work something out. Upon our arrival we were informed that it would be a minimal wait, which lucky for us wound up being almost immediately. They reset their whole dining room to get us in there as fast as possible after we had told them what had happened. They made our outing a success.
        Then...THE FOOD was OUTRAGEOUS!!! Even the pickier young ones cleaned their plates. I had an incredible and tender maple bbq pulled pork sandwich which came on a tasty roll and included fries, I was informed that everything on my plate was from within VT, until then I never thought of the difference it would make, YUMMY difference. Everyone was happy. Then came the ice cream desserts, maple sundae for me and my hubby, locally made as well, also AMAZING!
        The service was understandably a little slow ( I think about 30 other customers came in within a 10 minute span) but waitstaff was so attentive and handled it with smiles, it was as busy as any popular NYC or Brooklyn restaurant.
        I would recommend this place to anyone who loves good food, cooked fresh, with no shortcuts.

        -----
        Farmers Diner
        5583 Woodstock Rd White River, Jct, VT

        Farmers Diner
        5817 Woodstock Rd, White River Junction, VT 05001

      2. I haven't been bowled over by anything at Farmers Diner, but the food has been pretty good overall, and a notch above many diners. I did a review at UVscene.com, but it's hard to find on that blog. A copy is at http://offbeateats.blogspot.com/2006/..., however.

        1. Farmer's Diner is good food with a great concept - they utilize local purveyors for their restaurant. They support small family farms and hire local help. They put their money where their mouth is as far as sustainable food industry goes. Great ham and bacon.

          1. We have been there seveal times (at least 4- trying to give it a chance) and have not been impressed- meatloaf dry - burgers the same. Long wait times for the food and awful service. They seem more into their "concept" with kitshy upselling -than actual good food.

            1. professor-

              i have no idea about the quality of the cooking--it may well be lousy, and if it is that's certainly grounds for harsh criticism. but supporting local agriculture is not a "concept," it's a whole different business model and a different approach to the way we relate to our food. again, i don't know anything about the new farmer's diner, but i balk at the notion that re-localizing food production is a concept or gimmick--it's much more serious than that.

              1. Maybe you misunderstood what I meant-

                I'm not saying that that the idea/concept is not good or even great-Relocalization of food sourcing is a HUGE issue up here in New england for the revitalization of our farms and daries Many chefs do source locally can and do do this with out selling tee shirts coffee cups and coffee at or on the table, some times you just want a burger and it is a diner - just my 2 cents.

                1. Fair enough. They do sell their souveniers. Their food is good, not great. I've never waited long or had bad service and I guess I am really into what they are trying to accomplish. They are still new and working out the kinks. I will give them the benefit of the doubt.

                  1. I don't really begrudge them their mugs or t-shirts, although corny, because I know that the business of serving local, responsibly-raised food at a "normal," affordable level is a challenge, and whatever they have to do to make it economically (especially since the old, less touristy site went under) is fine by me.

                    That said, as i wrote above, lousy cooking is lousy cooking. I loved the corned beef at their old location, so I'll just have to wait and see when I visit their new spot.

                    1. I really hope they do succeed (because many want it to for all the reasons mentioned above) and are able to work the kinks out- in the kitchen and on the floor but eventually the food is whats important to the diners and the famers/suppliers we are trying to support- if they can't succeed in this location as well it might be be worth taking
                      another look at their model- which can feel a little forced on the customer who might just want a good quick bite.

                      1. Went there last week and was impressed with the local food theme. The burgers were cooked perfectly medium rare and the ice cream was to die for! cons: SALTY black bean soup, stale fries with the burger and skin on the apples in the crisp! I would def go back for breakfast and give them another chance as the place is so damn cute! for an appetizer I suggest going to the cabot store in the same shopping center and sample away!

                        1. My family and I have been (used to) go to Farmer's Diner when it first opened in Quechee. The breakfast was to die for. Lunch, not so much. Dinner is a joke, as it's the same lunch menu items for dinner. But lately, the food has taken a downward slide. And the place is a ripoff. Most of the employees are rude, and the menu, for a diner, is one of the worst I've ever seen in New England. While I support the concept of local farming, it almost seems like they are taking three steps backwards with their execution of their mission. I must agree with professor; It's located smack in the middle of tourist country, and they just want a place to eat. Nevermind the 10-minute down-your-throat this-is-what-we're-about garbage. The burgers are dry and bland, and taste like they've been cooked more than once. Not to mention the cheesy leaf of limp lettuce, a presliced, water-logged tomato, along with the poorest slice of onion that seems to have been sitting on top of the tomato for days. The individual meatloafs are equally awful, as is the gravy that accompanies it.

                          Bottom line: this place is simply not worth going to if you're looking for good food. It seems that, while they talk a great game, they've forgotten the most important element of running a restaurant; great-tasting food, which their website claims they have, but fall terribly short.

                          We gave up on their "dinner" menu, as there is none, and settled for breakfast only. But even that, as great as it was, has fallen to sub-par levels.

                          I am deeply saddened that this place fails to live up to its own hype.

                          1. Thank you stickman - The whole thing is such a shame. I think everyon WANTS it to work.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: professorbeezer

                              Wow that is a shame. I used to frequent the diner when it was in Barre and everything was top notch for breakfast. I had never tried their lunches or dinners...never liked the look of the menus.

                              1. re: Jayne in VT

                                I am with you guys and totally want to see this thing work. I am so over white tablecloth name dropping the farm where they buy the greens they serve and still buying Tyson beef and GMO's all over the rest of the menu. It sounds like the Diner is still working out some of the kinks with opening in the new location. I have eaten there a bunch and have had some killer meals with real local food. There have been a meal or 2 that have run long on the service time, but only when they have been getting totally killed with business. And look, if we are serious about supporting local food, we should support every effort somebody makes to make the business model work. If this guy can sell tourists tshirts and mugs I say great. His eggs still come from up the road.

                            2. Their breakfast in Barre was really good. I happen to check out some of the older reviews from the Barre diner, and it appears that Tod still has the same problems he faced up there, and that is his choice of people helping him. After taking my family there, again, this weekend, it's clear that whoever is running the kitchen is clueless. I am noticing more and more non-diner style food, and the cooking is atrocious. The service is still lousy, and the prices are outrageous. My son wanted a hot dog and macaroni and cheese. Lo and behold, there is not a hot dog on the menu. And there is no way I'm going to pay $11 for a small dish of mac and cheese. What are these people thinking? My burger, once again, was cooked like a brick (and i asked for it rare, go figure) and the rice pilaf was completely ruined by the addition of raisins (I was hoping for a better alternative to the greasy limp french fries from the last few visits). My wife tried an omelette again, and sadly, was one of the worst she ever had. I suspect there has been some changes made in the kitchen since they first opened because a while back, their breakfast was absolutely amazing, minus the toast. And the homefries are terrible. Normally, restaraunts work to better the quality of their food. It seems that the diner is heading in the wrong direction. And perhaps it is due to Tod's poor choices in kitchen and management staff.

                              I would really like to see him find success in his mission, but as long as he keeps the people he has running the show, I am sorry to say that, realistically, he'll be going nowhere.

                              I don't care about t-shirts and cups and books. That's for the tourists. I do know that the locals in the area are increasingly losing faith in the operation, and losing it fast.

                              And, no offense to eatallot, but while I have supported the diner since they opened, it's growing increasingly difficult to support something (no matter how great the concept is) that is simply falling apart, due to poor employee selection. You can easily support local food by going to farmer's markets, and get fresh foods from the farmer's and go home and cook them correctly, rather than paying someone to ruin otherwise delicious fresh food.

                              I don't know who created the menu, but it's one of the worst diner menus I've ever seen. It almost seems like a menu from that foolish Bravo TV show with the chefs there (cannot think of the name at the moment)... It just seems slapped together, with lousy combinations of food.

                              I'm quite disappointed in this, as the old owners of the diner had a great menu, delicious "diner" food, decent service, and very reasonable prices. I'm beginning to miss the previous experiences. This place seriously pales in comparision. Sadly, the way I see it, is a guy with a great vision, terrible execution, and nothing but a bunch of hype. And there is also some tall, scrawny guy with girl hair who runs around there and seems to do nothing but irritate the workers and the customers. He seems like a complete jerk, and really brings down the atmosphere.

                              Upon leaving, I actually peeked in the kitchen on the way out and noticed what looked to be about 4 or 5 cooks on the line, two of them yelling at each other, and just looking like complete confusion.

                              And while his eggs may come from up the road, it still takes someone who knows how to cook. And while his meat come from the smokehouse, it still takes someone who knows how to cook.

                              Solutions for Tod? He needs some intelligent people who understands what diner food is all about, because at the end of the day, the success or failure of his venture is going to come down to what is coming out of the kitchen. And sadly, the food has really taken a nosedive.

                              1. I went to the Farmer's Diner this weekend for breakfast, a party of five, and I enjoyed the meal very much. Without the discussion on this post I would not have rushed into a place that looked so touristy, but my host (a local) suggested it and I was happy to oblige. For the most part I was very pleased, though I wouldn't drive many miles out of my way to go. Their buttermilk orange cranberry pancakes were revelations, the best thing ordered. My corned beef hash was better than average, but I still wouldn't order it again. The two who ordered omelettes looked happy, but wouldn't share. The person who ordered the breakfast burrito looked happier, but I thought it was bland. It was breakfast, fine, solid, not special. But the bread they used for toast would get me running back in a hurry. Both the wheat and the rye were chewy, soulfull and the epitome of good stuff to be gotten in Vermont.
                                As for the souvenirs, I don't need any t-shirts, but I smiled to read one: "I prefer butter to margerine because I trust cows more than chemists."

                                1. I visited Farmers Diner in early December and was very underwhelmed. The concept is great - but the execution was stuggling at best. I definitely won't be returning. On the positive side, at least my visit left a decent quantity of half-eaten food for the farm animals.

                                  1. From what I understand there might be some kind of franchise interest at this point... maybe that's why everything else is suffering.

                                    1 Reply
                                    1. re: professorbeezer

                                      I heard the franchise talk right after they opened the first one in Barre. I went to to a little investigation and spoke with a few of the people working. I heard talk of going to MA and elsewhere. The potential for this concept (call it whatever you wish) of franchising local foods is interesting. It begs of so many questions and eminent contradictions. I ate at the one in Barre a half a dozen time and I pretty much all I can say is this: I really appreciate what they are doing and wish to see them succeed.

                                    2. Most of the complaints here are consistent with my experience of the Farmer's Diner over 3 years ago, when it was still in Barre, so I don't think the shortcomings can be blamed on new location or distractions with an upcoming franchise deal. I had dinner there with a friend and found the service lacking (poorly trained, I would say, or not trained at all), lots of in-house marketing with a heavy emphasis on broadcasting their mission, and bad treatment of what may or may not have been good ingredients to begin with. I recall a very overcooked hamburger of meat lacking in fat content, hand-cut fries that were both overcooked and soggy, a pathetic side salad of limp lettuce and a tasteless tomato - with dressing in a single-serving plastic pouch. My companion's sausages were overcooked and dry, and the accompanying peppers and onions inexpertly seasoned (read: no salt or pepper). A shared “milkshake” had so little milk blended in that the overall result was not much better than a lump of softened ice cream. Good ice cream, I guess, but not a milkshake.

                                      I think most of us would like see this place succeed, as it's a great concept. But so far, it falls far short.

                                      1. I read these posts with dismay. I live in central Vermont most of the year, and had stopped visiting the Farmer's Diner in Barre for all the reasons mentioned above, but mostly because no one seemed to care whether we liked our food (sometimes we did, but mostly it was underwhelming), were treated decently, or ever came back. So I didn't. It's particularly disappointing to hear that these problems are repeating themselves because there's more at stake here than whether a diner succeeds or fails. The local food idea is a great one, particularly in Vermont where farming is hard at best, and to take that idea and trash it in execution just seems unconscionable. I would put up with mediocre food (and do regularly at the Wayside Diner :-) if the atmosphere were committed and caring. But to serve local food badly and expect people to show up just because someone had a great idea once does a disservice to the whole idea of building local community that the restaurant ostensibly promotes. Just my $0.02.

                                        1 Reply
                                        1. re: alaughingdog

                                          hear! hear! You put into words what we couldn't -that's exactly how we feel... it's unconscionable.

                                        2. Well, I was in Quechee this morning around breakfast time, and I decided to try out the Farmer's Diner again (my original visit to the Quechee location was decent, but not great).

                                          What worked well: Our food was actually quite good, well prepared, and reasonably priced.

                                          What didn't work well: The service was mediocre. We asked if there were any specials, were told there weren't. A mere 20 seconds later another table got seated by the same waitress, and she gleefully told them about two specials (griddle cakes and a breakfast skillet), both of which we probably would've ordered (they looked good). The waitress also kept forgetting items on our order. Finally, when getting our check, we put a $20 bill down for a $12 dollar order, and are actually asked "oh, you needed change?".

                                          So I still have the same opinion: it's a good concept, carried out poorly.

                                          1. We were in Vermont a couple of weeks ago, and made a point of driving out of our way to try the diner. I'd heard about it for the past year or so, and was excited about trying it out. The menu on their site looked good (though not great), and my expectations were high. I loved the idea behind the diner and I *really* wanted to like this place.

                                            Unfortunately, we came away disappointed. We tried the hush puppies, which were fine enough, Our daughter ordered off the breakfast menu (broccoli & cheddar omelette), my wife from the lunch menu (grilled cheddar sandwich), and I ordered off the dinner menu (roasted acorn squash). All three items were bland-- nothing to write home about. It was almost impossible to find the cheese on both the omelette and grilled cheese. We live in the lower Hudson Valley, and our local breakfast place and Irish bar do far better on these two items.

                                            The acorn squash was an even bigger disappointment. The menu promised roasted squash stuffed with cranberry rice, in a cheese sauce with polenta points. The dish arrived without polenta; when I asked the waitress, she told me they discontinued the polenta a couple of weeks back when they ran out of it one day. Was there a substitution? No. Did they lower the price? No. 12 bucks for what seemed like a steamed acorn squash with a couple tablespoons of rice with no flavor, sitting on a bland cheese sauce. Any of us could do better at home.

                                            So the food was a dud, the waitress was clueless, and we didn't bother trying dessert. Considering the reputation, I expected more. Sorry to be so harsh.

                                            9 Replies
                                            1. re: riverman

                                              The first time I ate here it was good. The next time we went in it was not so good. I decided to give the Diner a third try. It was 11:30 and the place was very quiet and they were gearing up for the lunch crowd. The staff was very unprofessional and obtrusive as they noisily restocked and chatted loudly amongst themselves. We felt like we were intruding on their private conversations. All that could have been written off as an "off" crew if the food was redeeming, but that was not the case. A plain cheese omelette was a dry blob of scrambled egg with an insignificant sprinkling of cheese on top. Two poached eggs with wheat toast came out in a small saucer with water sloshing around the bottom and cold, hard toast that had been buttered much sooner than the eggs were ready. It is really inexcusable that such a simple order could be so miserably prepared and presented. Everyone there seemed to be tourists, which made sense, since all the locals in the know, eat at Dana's by the Gorge, less than a quarter of a mile down the road. That's where I'll be the next time I go out for breakfast.

                                              1. re: greenstate

                                                Went there today for lunch and I turned to my dining partner and said this is their last chance.I was hoping to be won over. But this was absolutely the last time we will ever set foot in this place. Extremely rude- surly waitstaff and terrible food. Food is supposed to be local but I swear the tomatoes were hot house variety- pale and tasteless and this is VERMONT in August! Pickles tasted like vlasic.
                                                I also can't believe that they charge an extra 1.75 for swiss cheese on the CHEESE burger! One of the wait staff instead of picking up a fork he dropped kicked it several times across the dining room floor towards the kitchen!
                                                Also as we were leaving and laughing at how outrageous this all was playing out we saw the Todd entering through the back- now, sometimes there is absentee management but it seems to me he doesn't care and is just basking in the media and raking in the tourist dollars.
                                                a total fraud

                                                1. re: professorbeezer

                                                  I recently had another trip back there, and it was probably my last time as well, since every time I go there the service and food quality are noticeably worse than the previous time. I'm pretty sure now it's almost entirely tourist dollars keeping the place afloat, since amongst my circle, even most of the hard-core localvores have given up on the place.

                                                  It's a little odd, since I've been relatively impressed by the products of their sister company, Vermont Smoke and Cure (the modern Vermont Smoke and Cure started when Tod bought them to have a source for local pork products). Their products are pricey, but of very good quality (I still prefer North Country Smokehouse over in NH, however).

                                                  1. re: kaszeta

                                                    As a Vermont resident, this is the type of operation that needs a wake up call ! Just putting "Made in Vermont" or "Buy Local" on a menu is not enough. If you are sincere about providing local products then at least hire competent staff to prepare and serve them. I enjoy going to local farmer's markets and buying great heirloom tomatoes, fresh cheeses, and other items direct form the source that I can prepare with care and passion for my family. To me, that is how to support local products. However, I will not support an establishment that uses a concept or catchphrase without having the conscious to execute the entire process. Also in reference to Vermont Smoke and Cure, the prices are way to high and the word "Vermont" shouldn't equate to charging a premium espececially within the confines of the Green Mountain State. I'll support our neighbors in NY (Oscar's Smokehouse) and NH (North Country Smokehouse) that both make better products at better prices.

                                                  2. re: professorbeezer

                                                    Wow, I was just up in Quechee/Woodstock yesterday doing some antiquing (playing hooky from work!). Finished shopping @ the Quechee Gorge Village at around 12:15 and glanced over at the Farmer's Diner as a possible quick lunch stop, as I'd been there before on another trip and had an excellent breakfast-for-lunch. However, I wasn't really hungry so I headed on my way into Woodstock and beyond. After reading everything in this thread, I think I'm glad I didn't stop. Really too bad it hasn't remained a decent place to go. I saw Dana's by the Gorge as I passed it further up Rt. 4; will remember that for the next trip.

                                                    1. re: LindaWhit

                                                      danas is by far superior just be prepared to wait if they are . Thats our go to for a good breakfast.

                                                      1. re: professorbeezer

                                                        Resurrecting this old thread, as I was just up in Quechee again this weekend. Chose to go to the Farmer's Diner, and wish I had remembered professorbeezer's rec about Dana's before we sat down but never checked CH before heading up there on Friday.

                                                        Farmer's Diner has gone downhill from the last time I'd been there several years back. Service - VERY slow. Like achingly slow. Things forgotten in orders (tea AND the milk to go with it); 20 minute wait for french toast, bacon and an omelet. French toast was a little soggy; not cooked well enough, the home fries didn't seem to have a "fry" on them. The chili omelet ordered was good, but overall, the service tended to detract from the place.

                                                        They seem to have expanded into the ice cream area next door, and many more people were seated in there vs. at the counter in the actual diner car. The kitchen was moved from the diner car to beyond the expanded dining section, so servers had to walk a ways to get what used to be made in front of you.

                                                        Next time - I *will* remember to go to Dana's!

                                                        1. re: LindaWhit

                                                          Thanks for the update. Farmers Diner has had a very up-and-down history in the last few years, including being shuttered for a while last year due to financial issues. There was a management shakeup before it reopened, I was hoping things had improved....

                                                          Myself, I went to Dana's this weekend. :)

                                                          -----
                                                          Farmers Diner
                                                          5583 Woodstock Rd White River, Jct, VT

                                                          1. re: kaszeta

                                                            Oh SURE. Rub it in, kaszeta. :-)

                                              2. Just came from a day trip to Woodstock and a late lunch at the Farmer's Diner. Our food was good - grilled cheese and a portobello sandwich - both with yummy fries. But the person who seated us (after an embarrasing long wait) was surly. The waiter was very nice though and apologized for the 45 minutes it took to get our food! So, a very mixed experience.

                                                2 Replies
                                                1. re: jpcat

                                                  The next time some one "surly" seats you, get in their face and demand to be seated with the level of respect and dignity you deserve ! "You want the booth, you can't handle the booth" ( a slight twist on the original)............

                                                  1. re: TonyO

                                                    v . funny, tony- and not a bad idea.

                                                2. We just made the trip to VT and ate in Windsor, Springfield, and Woodstock. The Farmer's Diner was really good food and prompt service when we went in May. What happened? New ownership? High turnover in staff?

                                                  1. Me again! Thanx for all the replies to this thread! There is a very positive article about the Farmers Diner in the September/October Issue of Yankee Magazine. Not so much about the food itself but the food suppliers and the philosophy of the owner.

                                                    1 Reply
                                                    1. re: Injun Joe

                                                      I think the article is an example of the marketing machine at work - which has no chops to back it up. I wish that the could get one location right first. Right for the farmers, suppliers and the diners. Then look at the possiblities rather than going for the almighty buck.

                                                    2. Coincidently, I have just finished reading Barbara Kingsolver's book, "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" while in the midst of planning a 3 day trip through Vermont en route to Montreal to sample as many great beers, cheeses and locally inspired meals as are possible. Stemming from what Kingsolver had to say about this place, I was looking forward to stopping in for breakfast and even somewhat planned part of my travels around it. I've already posted other threads looking for suggestions on where to stop otherwise, and I think my plans are just about finalized (and soon to be posted to the other thread - http://www.chowhound.com/topics/515552), but reading over all of this commentary gives me pause about eating here.

                                                      I read through (or at least skimmed over) everything that has been said and it is clear that I probably shouldn't come here, and certainly not plan my trip around it. However, every post is at this point several months old. I'm hoping that a place as well publicized as this spot would have the opportunity to turn it around and drastically improve. Has any one been more recently that can speak to that? Or should I just go ahead and make alternative plans?

                                                      6 Replies
                                                      1. re: nyctreal

                                                        Someone took me there the other day and I have to say that everything said still stands.

                                                        1. re: professorbeezer

                                                          Agreed. I went about a month ago, and still have the same thoughts as well. There are several places that have 75% as much local stuff on the menu, with 25% as much hype, 150% of the quality, and 200% of the service as the Farmer's Diner. Sorry, but all of my experiences with the Farmer's Diner since the Quechee move have been of a restaurant that is so arrogant they feel they don't need to care about food quality or service. (To be fair, they aren't completely off the mark. I do feel that the work the sister company is doing over at Vermont Smoke and Cure is good, they are producing quality meat products using locally-produced pork, and doing it fairly well, although they aren't the only player in that game, either).

                                                          Fairly nearby places that I've rather liked that try use a good fraction of local ingredients include Stella's Diner in Hartland and Coffee Corner in Montpelier. They don't use as many local ingredients, but Dana's just down the road has much better breakfasts as well.

                                                          1. re: kaszeta

                                                            Absolutely! So many wonderful VT restaurants focus on local produce, that you can't just rely on that to carry your establishment - you've gotta try a little harder with the food. We went to Farmer's Diner a few months back and were definitely not impressed - food was fine, but pricey, and the dining room we were in had all the ambience of a 99. Not worth the long wait, I'm afraid.

                                                            1. re: Raedia

                                                              Wow! totally blown away by the posts. We ate at the new location in Middlebury after visiting our son at college. We found the specials menu to be a pleasant surprise, (Kahlua French Toast, Buffalo Eggs Benedict, so yummy!) Our service was just right, as were the portions, but maybe a little too much food. The owner Todd was there greeting tables and was clearly committed to the philosophy of the restaurant. We even got to meet the egg farmers who supply them. Can't understand why previous posts generate anger and insults, when they really are walking the local talk.

                                                              1. re: ctknuns

                                                                Glad you had a good meal there! My comments were from 2 years ago and based on a different location - but things change!

                                                                1. re: Raedia

                                                                  I'd have to hear that things changed, a *lot*, for the better, since my last trip to the Farmers Diner in Spring 2009 (when I got talked into trying them again by some visiting relatives), since the service was that bad. Sorry but if I get bad service (the last time being outright hostile) in four visits over three years, something is terribly, terribly wrong there.

                                                      2. We ate at the Quechee location a year ago. I really think the place was overpriced for the food quality/portions, (though the service was good). Another annoying factor is that they charge less for locals which I think is wrong. They really take advantage of the tourists and as such I would never return.

                                                        4 Replies
                                                        1. re: bewley

                                                          Wait - How do you know they charge less for locals? Do they actually have two prices for locals and tourists?

                                                          1. re: LindaWhit

                                                            Yes, if you're a local you get a discount (I think it's 15 or 20%). You have to show ID. This, according to our waitress who thought we were local. Everyone else pays the menu prices which are quite high.

                                                            1. re: bewley

                                                              I don't think this is any different than loyalty cards that various establishments have, or "buy 10 coffees, get a free slice of pie" cards or stuff like that. They're hoping to build up more local repeat business because that helps keep them alive during the low season. If they don't ADVERTISE this fact anywhere, then that's a bit shady, though. When I'm going somewhere and I see that there's a special for people who are local, I don't get irked by it at all. It's just the benefit they get for living next to a good place to eat, IMO. *shrug*

                                                              1. re: Morganna

                                                                I would tend to agree with you with the loyalty card thing, but in that case, everyone pays the same price and has thew same option to do so. A tourist or "out of towner" doesn't have the option of frequent dining. On top of that, their prices are way too high for what you get. I really think this was their way to take advantage of unknowing tourists.

                                                                Along this same vein, I used to frequent a bar in Key West and went often enough that I got to know the employees well. I noticed that there was a price difference for locals and tourists and inquired. I was informed that "We have to live here year round and deal with all the tourist as _ _ oles and the summer is slow, etc." They also do this on Cape Cod and many other tourist destinations as well, and, as such, I would rate the Farmer's Diner as nothing more than a tourist "trap."

                                                        2. Went here with a group of 4 this past saturday afternoon for lunch and got in just before closing. I ordered the hot open faced meatloaf sandwich over white toast with french fries. The meatloaf was excellent and tasted like mine but the portion was so small. I am wondering if I got the last of it. It did not even cover the piece of toast and was very thinly sliced. The place was jumping at 3pm when we got in and it seems like the kitchen was slow on orders. My partners chicken in the buffalo wrap was cold, he thought it was supposed to be hot. We were sorta in a hurry so just ate and ran.