HOME > Chowhound > Northern New England >

Discussion

Is Windsor the BEST kept food secret in the Upper Valley?

  • b

We recently spent a week in the Upper Valley on vacation as usual. We went to our Favorite spot in Windsor, the Windsor Station, but also ate at virtually all the little eateries in town. Everywhere the food was fabulous, and a lot of choices for such a small town. The only place we did not get back to this trip, was the Juniper Hill Inn, but their owners still got our business at their Main Street Cafe. It has the clever name of no name. A contest was held and they advertised themselves as no name until the contest was over. The locals must of liked the idea because no name won the contest. Here is a list of what Windsor has to offer:

Dan's Windsor Diner- Great classic looking diner. Good food and portions with mid level pricing. Typical diner food for a menu, but the fried haddock is a must, but order the coleslaw with dinner because its fresh and the veggies are canned. The rolls are homemade as well as the coleslaw. also, the chili is spicy hot and homemade perfection. I asked a waitress if they sold the chilli and coleslaw by the pound, but they don't.

No Name Cafe- Pricey, high end food and good atmoshphere, live music Friday nights, and wine and a real coffee bar in Vermont. Owned by the Juniper Hill Inn owners so the food is top quality all the way.

Windsor Station- Our favorite, and the reason we make Windsor a stop on our trips from Mass. Good quality food upper mid pricing, great atmosphere and the train rolls by. Can't beat it!

Windsor Pizza Chef- Best Pizza in the Upper Valley hands down. Reasonable pricing Italian fare, calzones, gyros, lasagne, spaghetti. It's all good.

Clara's Cafe- diner like food- good quality but very inexpensive. Try the baked haddock here or the "Sheppard's Pie." My wife likes their meatloaf, but its served on regular bread and becomes soggy quick. If you order it ask for it on a plate because the sandwich is impossible to pick up to eat. Although the meatloaf itself is very good. Elsa the owner, is the former owner of the Hartford Diner, another local eating landmark of the UV (at least for the thirty years we have been coming to VT and until it burned down).

Harppon Brewery- The brewery has a nice little brew pub with fancy sandwiches and fresh beer. Prices are upper mid and the food is good quality. Looking forward to their annual BBQ festival next month.

Tee Time Cafe- Located in the Windsor golf course and only recently opened to the public. They serve dinners and diner style food with mostly mid level pricing. More than generous portions, to say the least and very good quality. I think the meat is freshly deli sliced, or it taste that way. Live music Thursday nights.

What Not House Cafe, BBQ and Ice Cream- Interesting little location. We stopped to get Ice Cream and found a tresure trove. The Cafe serves fancy sandwiches, and has a good selection of coffee (not as good as the No Name however) Food is good quality, service is a little slow, but the family is running three businesses. The BBQ is reasonably priced and is typical of roadside stands or fair food. Good enough to be a top competitor in Harpoon's BBQ championships. Ice Cream has a good selection, but not great and only one kind of soft serve. Sorry, no twirls here. Pricing is upper mid at cafe, and middle of the road for BBQ and Ice Cream.

Knave of Hearts Museum Coffee Shop- located in the Firehous below the Maxfield Parrish and Saint Gaudens museum. Only desserts, but they are delicious. I expected to pay more for the bakery quality items. Coffee is okay, but again not as good as the No Name.

Juniper Hill Inn- High Quality and upper pricing. Worth the splurge once in a while. Food is absolutely fabulous. It is a good replacement to Home Hill Inn for those seeking the high end cuisine. Great place for a special dinner (anniversary, mother's day, etc.)

Yummi Yummi's- Chinese food, great pricing and some of the best chinese outside of Boston that we have had. Comparable in quality to Joy Wah in Bellows Falls in a lot of ways, and not so much in others. No view of the river and limited seating means mostly take out. However, if they are full they are right next door to Clara's and in view of the Windsor Station.

Subway- Corporate pricing, on the higher end for fast food. Poor service, only one person working the deli counter. Don't go during "peak eating" times for a quick bite. Pass this one over for the better quality of Pizza Chef.

Stub and Lauras- Old A&W style drive-in, large selection, good pricing and breakfast any time. Food is hit or miss on quality and the chilli tastes like it is out of a can. For those looking for economical, this is your place.

Besides Windsor, if you just can't wait until the promised land there there is Joanies (under new ownership), the Hartland Frosty Whip, and Mike's Store, and BG's Market in Hartland to grab a quick bite and Mr. G's in Ascutney. That said, wait until Windsor- the choices are worth it.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
  1. Thanks a lot for the extensive report on the restaurants in
    Windsor. I live in nearby Lebanon, NH and want to try
    some of the places you have described.

    1. Correction:
      Tee Time has music Friday nights and No Name on Thursdays. I put it in backwords. Sorry

      1. I'm originally from Springfield and know the diner but surprisingly few of the other places. I'm curious, where's Joanie's? Never heard of it before.

        2 Replies
        1. re: Joanie

          Joanie's was located at three corners (Jesse's Common) in Hartland. Joanie recently retired and sold the restaurant. Joanie's is actually no more, but another eatery is located in the space. I have not tried the new place. Being from Windsor, I have tried all the places. Some are very new, others (Windsor Station, Pizza Chef, Diner, and Stubs) have been here for years. Juniper HIll just opened to the general public for meals last year, No Name is new and located where Sheppard's Pie was last located on Main Street. What Not is in the original Sheppard's Pie location on Route 5 North, Clara's is where Loretta's Bar and Night Club was located on Main Street, Yummi, Yummi is right next door. Tee Time at the JPL Country Club has opened to the public for the first time. Previous operators of the food shack only served members. Maybe BoVT was correct, Windsor is the best kept secret for a bite to eat........Rudy

          1. re: RudyH

            I had some of the yummiest Chinese food at Yummy, Yummy this past weekend. In an area where there is a dearth of decent Chinese food, this place is a happy choice.

        2. Joanie's in Hartland is now Stella's

          1. Went through Windsor this weekend and were devestated. The What Not Cafe was closed because of a fire, Tee Time Cafe was closed because the owners were managing the No Name and the No Name Cafe had no dinners. We ate at Clara's and the food was still top notch and the Station which is still our favorite. We decided to venture further out to the Mt. Creamery in Woodstock and Bentley's and the food was good, a little pricey. The homeade ice cream at the Mt. Creamery made the trip to Woodstock worth it. We also went to the Royal Diner in Springfield before it closed. That was an interesting experience to say the least. Very upbeat employees if you know what I mean.