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Diners in Vermont/New Hampshire

We'll be driving from NYC to Dartmouth in a few weeks and I would love to stop by a couple of traditional American diners on the way. Are there any in the area that you would recommend? We don't mind driving out of our way to get there either! Many thanks.

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  1. The Chelsea Royal Diner is a few miles west of I-91 in Brattleboro, VT. Definitely worth checking out...

    I also hear that the Miss Bellows Diner in Bellows Falls, VT, is a good option, but I haven't been there yet.

    And Skip's Roadside Diner on Route 2 in Gill, MA (a few miles east of I-91) is a great little place that serves Polish food from a trailer.

    3 Replies
    1. re: hiddenboston

      this is great, just what i was looking for, thanks! looked them all up, the chelsea will be a definite stop and i'll see if i can squeeze the others in too. have you ever been to the sunny day diner in lincoln? found some info on the internet, looks good too.

      1. re: belma79

        The Sunny Day Diner in Lincoln, NH has the best diner food I have ever had....and I grew up in dinerland in NJ.

      2. re: hiddenboston

        I'm going to have to venture down to Skip's...I love that they have Polish food!

      3. Check out the Tumble Inn Diner in Claremont, NH, which is 10 minutes from 91 and has standard diner fare. The Heritage Diner in Charlestown, NH is about 5 minutes from 91 is also good (www.charlestownheritage.com) & has some interesting things on the menu. They are both original Worcester Diners. The Tumble Inn is free standing, while the Heritage is attached to a building. I've been to both and would recommend either. The Miss Bellows Falls in Bellows Falls, VT was good the last time I went there, but that was years ago (http://www.missbellowsfallsdiner.com/). Finally there is the Royal Diner in Springfield, VT, which is about 5 minutes from 91. They have new owners & I haven't been there yet since the change.

        Have fun!

        1 Reply
        1. re: katie78

          Miss Bellows Falls is so-so but the Chelsea Royal is top-notch.

        2. The best diner for food along your route is the Blue Benn in Bennington hands down. The Chelsea Royal is not bad, the Windsor (Vt) diner is not bad (and is a beutiful '40s Worcester). The Miss Bellows Falls, the Four Aces in Lebanon NH, Daddypops Tumble Inn , the Farmers Diner in Queechee are all architecturally significant diners, but the food isn't allways to great. The country girl in Chester, the diner in downtown keene, the diner in Springfield would be lower priorities for me.

          1. I've been to all of the diners mentioned above and can wholeheartedly recommend the Chelsea Royal and the Windsor diner. All others were great as far as the Worcester diner thing goes, but the food is average.

            Blue Benn - really gone downhill recently. Daddypops overcooked my omelette until it was rubbery. Miss Bellows Falls, cute, but average short order fare.

            Skip's isn't a diner, if I'm thinking of the same place. Its more like a stand kind of thing, unless its changed.

            The Springfield diner was a favorite but haven't been to it since it re-opened.

            4 Replies
            1. re: Bri

              I agree that the Blue Benn has gone downhill. It is very much overrated IMO.
              The Cheksea Royal is an excellent place part of the Local Food network.

              1. re: RichK

                Well I guess the Blue Benn diner is still downhill! My husband and I ate there for the first time last weekend. I figure any diner worth its salt has to do good breakfasts, so that's what we had. I ordered eggs benedict and the eggs were overcooked - I really hate hard poached eggs! I would give the hollandaise sauce a 3 on a 1-10 scale, plus it didn't really look like hollandaise. My husband had a BLT and it was so wet
                and sloppy that he could hardly hold it. The bacon seemed crisp enough; maybe the wetness was from the many tomatoes that were piled on the sandwich. If I had noticed in time, I would have suggested he deconstruct his sandwich and put it back together! All in all we were underimpressed with the Blue Benn diner!

              2. re: Bri

                While it's true that Skip's isn't a true diner (though their full name is in fact Skip's Roadside Diner), it does serve food that you might get in a diner (albeit with a Polish twist) and is a rather interesting roadside food spot.

                1. re: hiddenboston

                  I finally stopped by Skip's for lunch yesterday and am now a huge fan of this place and can see myself getting cravings for the pierogies and kapusta! Loved it! Thanks for the rec.

              3. thanks everyone! these suggestions are brilliant. just to clarify, the windsor, is this dan's windsor diner? when i googled it, thats what came up. thanks again!

                7 Replies
                1. re: belma79

                  Yes, that's it. Dan's Windsor Diner.

                  Thanks for the info about Skip's hiddenboston. I'd heard good things here on Chowhound, but didn't realize that it also had diner fare.

                  1. re: Bri

                    I'm actually going to Skip's tomorrow as part of a food trip through the Pioneer Valley. Can't wait to have their kapusta again!

                    1. re: hiddenboston

                      will be interested to know what you think of it, so let us know when you're back! thanks again to everyone for their suggestions, my trip is not for another 4 weeks, but i'm really looking forward to it (especially to all the diners mentioned above!)

                      1. re: belma79

                        Skip's was great once again. Those pierogies were outstanding. Hot dogs weren't bad, either...

                        1. re: hiddenboston

                          had lunch at skip's yesterday and i think their hotdogs (blue seals, grilled, with grilled buns) are the best in the valley. it is more a roadside stand than a diner, however, not matter what it's called. i mean, you have to eat at picnic tables outside. if the weather is not accommodating, i suggest driving a few yards north on 2, and visiting the wagon wheel. it used to be a stand also, but created a new indoor dining area a couple of years ago, expanding their menu in the process. some great vittles may be had there, although the atmosphere is less diner than family restaurant.

                  2. re: belma79

                    So where did you end up going? :)

                    1. re: Morganna

                      Are you asking about my trip? (Looks like belma79's isn't for a few weeks.) If so, we hit Skip's in Gill (excellent once again), Tom's in Whately (not bad, but the food was basic and there were way too many little flies under the tent), Packard's in Northhampton (loved it--reminded me a bit of Doyle's in Jamaica Plain), and Cindy's Drive-In in Granby (just got ice cream there, but I really liked its classic feel and location in the middle of farmland).

                      I saw some other places that looked interesting, including the Eastside Grill in Northampton, Howard's Drive-In in Brookfield, and the Kenwood Diner in Spencer. Anyone been to any of these?

                  3. Skip's roadside diner is a great place. Miss Bellows Falls- Bellows Falls, VT and Miss Lyndonville- Lyndonville, VT, Royal Diner- Springfield, VT, Dan's Windsor Diner is a great place to eat. In a 1999 article on Windsor's big event Heritage Days the travel section recommended the Windsor Diner, and a couple of years ago the LA Times also recommended the food at Dan's Windsor Diner. Pretty good endorsements. Side note, the Diner is 1952 according to the diner owners, a Worchester Car Diner, one of the last ever made. It is about 90% original, with a new addition. It was also featured in the Zippy comic strip, and a blow up of the panel is at the diner itself. Great place to stop and get breakfast.

                    speaking of Windsor, I heard that the other diner-like place Stubs and Laurels just changed hands. Any truth to this? I have not made it to Windsor this summer, kind of bummed about it, but we have plans for foliage!

                    1. Just wanted to add that anyone looking for a diner-y place in Chester should definitely try Jack's Diner. I had breakfast there this week and they have HASH BROWNS! Small breakfast menu with basics like omelettes and pancakes and several specials.

                      I ordered the Northerner omelette of sausage, onion and cheddar. Came with hash browns (!) and toast. Their wheat toast was thick and wonderful and whole grain. Omelette was a tad either overbeaten or over-cooked (I'm kind of picky about eggs not being tough), but tasty. I also had a green tea. Total was $9 before tip.

                      They recently completed a whole redo of the facade, putting up granite slabs and stone walls. It looks great inside and out and the food is yummy. Much better than the Country Girl diner down the road.

                      1. I'm amazed that any of you have had good experiences at the Miss Bellows Falls diner. I haven't even been able to get a decent, hot cup of coffee there! Last one (and last chance) was cold and bitter. Since I've never been able to enjoy anything I've ordered there, I don't know if they have improved at all since last fall. I thought the place looked neglected and dirty. I'm really surprised anyone on here likes it. Sure, it's "quaint," in a Mel's Diner kind of way, but it's shabby, lacks energy and nothing looks fresh (food or otherwise). I haven't been to the Blue Benn in over a year, but I used to drive all the way from Putney for brunch there, every other Sunday. My friend would drive from Rutland (both over 45 minutes), and we would meet there, since the food was always worth it. I'm sorry to hear it may have gone down hill.

                        2 Replies
                        1. re: epicurio

                          My experiences at Miss Bellows Falls have been the same as yours. Just really nothing to write home about, and there are so many other places we like more.

                          Our current Sunday ritual is the BackSide Cafe in Brattleboro. Love it. Not a diner, but a great breakfast/lunch place.

                          1. re: Bri

                            About 3 years ago I had a truly good roast beef sandwich and fries there. I'm guessing the quality has plummeted.

                        2. The diner in Fairlee, Vermont, is very good...in fact, I think the Sterns featured their pies in one of the Roadfood books.

                          It's just a bit north of the center of town on Route 5.


                          1 Reply
                          1. re: Redstone

                            I rather like the Fairlee diner. They do a really good job with home fries, pies, and burgers

                          2. Just wanted to share some good news about the re-opened Springfield Diner. It is now owned by the same guy (Sly) who owns and runs The Golden Egg in Saxton's River.

                            I went to the DMV on Monday and decided to check out the re-opened diner. My SO and I recognized the waitress from somewhere but we couldn't place her, so we started reading the menu and it looked exactly like the menu from The Egg. Our waitress said that it was the same owner and then we realized that the cook back there was Sly and she was also from there! It was such great news to know that I can get my chilequiles and huevos a la Mexicana at both places!

                            Needless to say, it was delicious and we loved our food. He's also featuring Saturday night Mexican nights (Friday's are Mexican night at the Egg).

                            I just had to pass it on!

                            1. I was at the Chelsea Royal today and I was pretty disappointed. I ordered the "homemade hash" and I've gotta say that it tasted suspiciously like canned. Mush-like, browned on just one side and cold in the middle, it was nasty. Has anyone else had a similar encounter?

                              4 Replies
                              1. re: RI Swampyankee

                                Hey, were we eating there at the same time? LOL. I came from there today too, had a late lunch and it was awful. I'm so sorry to say. Both me and my SO had just awful food and I can't say that's ever happened before.

                                I was torn between two specials - turkey burger with cranberry and chedder or the baked cheese manicotti. I ordered the turkey burger and it was one of those premade frozen deals with a really weird texture; tiny burger patty and no flavor, to boot. Maybe the manicotti would have been better.

                                SO had the fish and chips with fresh fish of the day and I took a bite and thought it was ho hum. You can get phenomenal fish and chips at JD McCliment's in Putney or Lil Britain in Bennington, so this was such a disappointment.

                                We haven't been there since last summer, and I was just so shocked that both dishes were awful.

                                1. re: Bri

                                  We've been back to the Chelsea Royal several times for breakfast only and I really think that's their strong point. They have fantastic breakfast specials on the board. Recently I had a farmer's omelette with local, spring leeks and other veggies and cheese and it was delicious. They also have real hash browns (as opposed to home fries) which are hard to find out here. I can't say I've ever had a bad breakfast, I've never ordered their hash though.

                                2. re: RI Swampyankee

                                  It's always a bit hard to call thess, since I've been to several places that I *know* make their own hash (I've seen them do it), but still manage to come up with something highly resembling the canned stuff. Enough so that I've been tempted to come up with a "CBH hall of fame and shame", since it's a real crap-shoot.

                                  1. re: kaszeta

                                    I love the idea of a CBH Hall 'o Fame and Shame! CBH is a lot like calamari, a culinary barometer. If the restaurant does those things well, the rest of meal is likely to be good.

                                    And Bri--if you were at the Royal around 2pm, then we were there at same time.

                                3. I have read some of the replies and just have to post that the Blue Ben in Bennington and Country Girl Diner are worth a try! They are both the two best out of the entire fleet mentioned below. They both make HOMEMADE products, don't just open a can, microwave it and serve. All tastes great every time.

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: BelleAllie

                                    We tried the Big Benn this weekend for lunch, and were very pleased. Children enjoyed the simplicity of a grilled cheese sandwich with those amazing fries and the heart attack on a plate, the chicken friend steak!. DH enjoyed the healthier smoked turkey, brocolli, and cheddar open face sandwich on ciabatta bread. I enjoyed the nostalgic turkey croquettes with homefries. Don't know if the gravy was homemade or not, but it was excellent. The old diner is fun, and the servers were so nice. I will definitely go back.