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Best restaurants near Mad River Glen

My wife and I will be near Faystown, Vermont this winter, to ski at Mad River Glen. Are there any good restaurants in the area we should check out? We will be staying in a place that has a full kitchen, so good market suggestions are welcome, too.

In particular, if you have any thoughts on Michael's On the Hill, Hen of the Wood, and Pitcher Inn, which I believe are close by, they would be welcome.

Thank you.

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  1. Good casual food and great beer (best beer in New England imo) at The Alchemist in Waterbury. Personally, I would just go there everynight.

    Bring your own groceries. Not much within a half hour of where you are staying.

    1. If the weather is good, drive over the Gap (Route 17) to Bristol....about 20 minutes from MRG, and go to the Bobcat Cafe. Excellent food and they brew their own beer.

      3 Replies
      1. re: bm_vt

        Isn't the gap closed during the winter?
        Hen of the Wood is the best place I have eaten in or near Waterbury. Good drinks at Alchemist, although we didn't try the food. Arvad's was horrible.

        1. re: Wursthof

          No, Route 17, the Appalacian Gap is OPEN year round. Many folks who live in Bristol work and/or ski up at MRG and Sugarbush. It is a well maintained road. You are probably thinking of the Lincoln Gap which connects Warren to Lincoln which is closed during the winter.
          To the OP, if you do not like driving mountain roads, especially during the dark, you probably won't like the trip over to the Bobcat. If you don't mind, then it's worth it.

          1. re: bm_vt

            It's been especially worth it lately... ever since the new team took over the Bobcat they're really stepped it up a notch with the food. We've been at least 6 times and everything we've had has been delicious - pork and sage dumplings and venison-chorizo meatloaf are particular favorites! And I believe they finally got their brewing license in order after the transition, so the house-brewed beer should be back, too.

      2. We dined at both The Hen of the Wood and Michael's within the last month or so. My preference would be for Hen based on ambiance, menu choices, and overall value. In my opinion, it is hard to beat. The fried oyster appetizer paired with a bottle of Argyle Brut is my suggestion for getting things started. Wherever you pick, make reservations ASAP.

        1. All three of those mentioned are excellent - but Pitcher Inn & Hen have much better atmosphere/ambience vs. Michaels. I lean Hen of the Wood because I love the space. Loved it when it was the Mist Grill/Grist Mill, and was eating there through the bumpy switchover and onwards when I'd typically have the place to myself. Pitcher Inn has a real cool wine cellar if you have the dinero.

          An underappreciated classic is the 1824 House Inn (Waitsfield, Rt100) which I found excellent when I went a couple years ago. Haven't had a chance to return unfortunately (so hopefully my experience wasn't a one-off).

          Bobcat & Alchemist are more comfort food-type joints. I find the food fine at both - but nothing amazing. I definitely prefer the beer from Bobcat over Alcehmist without question but I may be in the minority on that one as people rave about Alchemist brews. If you don't care so much about beer but want comfort food nearby - check out the Hyde Away Inn on Rt 17 in Waitsfield - comfort food.

          I would tell you to stay away from the Warren House unless someone has ventured in there within the last year and had better info. My numerous attempts there ended with seared tuna, frozen in the middle, and various other problems....

          2 Replies
          1. re: Jestner

            I think the Warren House is for sale (not sure if they are open or not).

            If you are heading towards Stowe, The Dutch Pancake is a great spot for breakfast. Huge supper thin pancakes with every filling you can think of.

            1. re: Jestner

              I really appreciate hearing about the underappreciated classics. Thank you for the 1824 House Inn suggestion.

              Hopefully I will be able to try both Bobcat and ALchemist and report back.

            2. I agree with all the other recs. The Pitcher Inn now has two options -- incredible, albeit pricey, dinner in the upstairs dining room, or a more limited but very good pub menu downstairs in the Tracks Tavern. There is good, casual breakfast and lunch (and good-value dinner) at Easy Street on Route 100 in Waitsfield, and at Big Picture Theater (also in Waitsfield).

              For markets, the Hunger Mountain Coop in Montpelier just expanded and has a great selection of produce, breads, cheeses, etc., with an emphasis on local. Mehuron's IGA market in Waitsfield has good meats and fish, great wine selection and more culinary surprises than you would think from its size and general dinginess.

              1 Reply
              1. re: Dave S.

                Thank you for the IGA and coop suggestion, especially. I think this IGA must be where I used to stock up on slope food back when I went skiing in college (a long time ago).

                I will be staying in Waitsfield, so all of those suggestions are very welcome, too.

              2. My wife and I will be calling around for reservations tonight and tomorrow. We just made our reservation at Hen of the Wood and cannot wait to eat there. Thank you very much for your help!

                3 Replies
                1. re: chandler212

                  I second the recommendation of the Alchemist, in Waterbury. We live within walking distance and go their frequently. I have not yet been to Hen of the Wood or Michael's but I've heard good things about both. Also in Waterbury is Marsala Salsa, which is fantastic. It's a fusion of Latin/Indian/Carribean food and we've always had an amazing meal there. We now have a Thai restaurant, Ocha Thai, which has gotten good reviews.

                  Stay away from Arvads in Waterbury.

                  Also, there is a Shaw's in Waterbury for groceries.

                  1. re: LucieH

                    I third and fourth the rec for the alchemist. great beer and very good food. just north of waterbury is a great bbq place called the cider house. hope it's still there, very cozy and homey vt feel with very good, clean and uncomplicated fresh food.

                    1. re: sarabean

                      The Cider House is good BBQ, not great. The two times I've eaten there, the pulled pork and ribs didn't taste like they were actually smoked (though they insist that they are smoked). They were certainly good, though. The food is good, the prices aren't obscene, and the ambiance -is- great. I wonder if they're still putting powdered sugar on the hushpuppies (which were good, could use being a bit smaller, and don't need powdered sugar, ask them not to put it on).

                2. Thank you all, again, for your helpful suggestions. My wife and I went to the Hen of the Wood and enjoyed it, especially the cheese. The atmosphere was also very special. We also went to the alchemist. We both loved the beers and I enjoyed my pizza, although my wife did not like her grilled tofu over beans and rice. In Waitsfield, we found a grocery store other than the Mehuron's or IGA. There was also a major chain grocery store, which was a Shaw's and which was large and clean.

                  We both thank you for the recommendations. Happy New Year!