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visiting son in college in burlington

NYC chowhounder heading to burlington with wife to visit my son in college. looking for something nice, but nothing stuffy.....we like just about any cuisine, except indian. price isnt really an issue....is leunig's a good choice? is the magic hat brewery a tourists trap? what about trattoria delia? i know NOTHING about VT...please help.

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  1. I'm not sure what someone from NYC would consider "stuffy" but I'm willing to bet you'd be hard pressed to find ANY restaurant in Vermont that you'd consider that. :) Though I suppose there are some that might aspire to being "stuffy" by NYC standards. :)

    The best places to go (not a comprehensive list):
    Trattoria Delia (I love this place, can't say enough good about it), Downtown Burlington
    American Flatbread (usually highly recommended, I've never been), Downtown Burlington
    Single Pebble, Downtown Burlington
    L'Amante (sp?), Downtown Burlington

    Hen of the Wood, Waterbury (very close to Exit 10) This place is, to all reports, worth the trip down. Go, but make reservations, it's getting into peak foliage season

    Another interesting experience that a lot of people agree is totally worth having are chicken pie suppers. Every weekend there are organizations holding chicken pie suppers and they are delightful. :) I'm sure there's a reference somewhere that lists most of them. :) There MUST be some in Burlington while you're visiting (you don't mention when you'll be up).

    I don't think there's a single factory tour in Vermont that I'd consider a true tourist trap. They're generally delightfully quirky or quaint and usually really interesting (though I've hardly been on EVERY factory tour in Vermont :) ). I've only ever heard good things about the Magic Hat tour. I also am very fond of the Ben and Jerry's tour, and the Cabot Creamery tour. There are others who will have some great suggestions for those, as well.

    If you'll be here during the fall, there are plenty of apple orchards that are pressing cider. Cold Hollow Cider in Waterbury (near Ben and Jerry's) is touristy, but they have THE BEST CIDER in the immediate area, I like it better than Allenhome Farms' cider, but only just barely (it being closer to me helps with that, as well). The store at Cold Hollow is chock full of some wonderful Vermont pickles, jams, jellies, mustards, sauces, etc. There's also a wine shop across the parking lot with tastings, and from all I've heard there are some local vineyards with interesting tastings/tours as well.

    Please let us know what you decide to do and how you liked it. We're all awful proud of our little state. :)

    9 Replies
    1. re: Morganna

      nmorganna, you rock.
      NY can get stuffy, but you are right, VT permeats awesomeness.
      Im looking for something rustic, artisinal, awesome food, laid back..
      No chinese, we live a block away from a chinatown!

      1. re: smokeandapancake

        I would say he following:

        One of the odd things about Vermont us that it is generally easier to get a table at 8:00 - 9:00 than it is from 6:00 - 7:00, which works for us and most people visiting that are used to eating a bit later. That being said CALL EARLY as any decent place will be busy.

        Trattoria Delia: no liquor ( stop elsewhere if you like a predinner cocktail), Italian wine only (excellent list) and great rustic Italian cooking in a great setting.

        Kitchen Table Bistro: About 20 minutes from Burlington (just get on 89 South to exit 11, Richmond). Great food, service, and wine. Tell them Tony sent you and I'm sure you will get a "witty" response.....

        I have yet to find a stuffy place in VT although service can be a bit aloof. Avoid pizza here, you will be HUGELY disappointed. Magic hat could be worth a stop although I personally think their beers are not so great. Try a Switchback (on tap virtually everywhere). Brewed in Burlington and available only on draft (for now), it really is a great brew.

        1. re: TonyO

          ooh yeah, forget American Flatbread.

          I grew up in the midwest and didn't my Long-Island raised husband about how much better the pizza is out that way. I was WRONG. :) Avoid pizza, there's nothing anywhere in Vermont that will be worth the stomach space. :)

          1. re: TonyO

            Don't worry, we will not be having pizza in VT! ;-)

            1. re: smokeandapancake

              Well, I have to respectfully disagree about not being able to get good pizza in Vermont. There's a place in southern Vermont, Wilmington to be exact, that makes excellent New Haven style pizza. It's Zuppardi's which is related to the Zuppardi's in West Haven, Ct. They even offer a white clam made with Little Necks when they're available. So, whenever you find yourself in or near Wilmington, check it out. I don't think they have a website but the West Haven location has basically the same pizza menu. I've been to both and the Wilmington location is comparable. The sausage pie is one of the best I ever had. Here's the West Haven website.

              http://www.zuppardisapizza.com/

              1. re: Jimmy Cantiello

                Jimmie, I'll give it a try if down that way. Unfortunately that is a long drive from Burlington !

                1. re: Jimmy Cantiello

                  Website loks good ! Two things stood out right away:

                  1. Use of canned mushrooms: much better than fresh depsite what the "localvores" will claim. We're talking pizza folks. If I want freshly foraged chantrelles, I'll eat them with a veal chop.

                  2. The loose sausage goes on the pizza UNCOOKED !!!!!! Yes, this is a big deal and all too many places in VT place preecooked slices of sausage on a pizza. The result is never good.

                  Thanks for the rec. I have been known to drive quite a distance for a good APizza !!!!!!

                  1. re: Jimmy Cantiello

                    we're from NY....i wouldnt go to VT for pizza.... :)

                    1. re: smokeandapancake

                      I would never suggest that you make a trip to Vermont just for pizza but, as I said, if you happen to be in or near Wilmington, Vt. Zuppardi's is a joint where you'll find excellent pizza on par with New York pies. I can say that with a bit of authority because I live in Fairfield County here in Connecticut and spend a lot of time in NYC. I've been to most of the heavy-hitters of NYC pizza including, Patsy's, Lombardi's, Tottonno's and Grimaldi's in Brooklyn (opened by the owner of the original Patsy's). In my opinion, both Zuppardi's turn out pies on the same level as the big boys I mentioned above including the Big Three in New Haven (Sally's, Modern and my personal all time favorite, Pepe's).

          2. Trattoria Delia - It has a really nice atmosphere and the food is excellent. Whenever we visit our son (who also goes to college in Burlington) we make it a point to have dinner there. Last time we ate at Lunig's i wasn't really that impressed. Make sure you make reservations at Delia's -

            6 Replies
            1. re: eleanor

              Leunig's is a "love/hate" place. I happen to be in the "hate" column. Nothing great and always loud.

              1. re: TonyO

                For rustic with good food I will second the recommendations for Trattoria Delia and Hen of the Wood(at least 45 minutes from Burlington).
                We also love Kitchen Table Bistro which is halfway to Hen of the Wood.
                Even closer than that is the new Belted Cow Bistro(beltedcowvt.com) in Essex Junction about 10 minutes from Burlington. We have had two great meals there already. The flatbread(grilled pizza) with duck confit, boucher blue cheese, vt swiss and figs was awesome. Halibut, scallops, duck were great. Smoked pork tartine was great bbq pork with vt cheddar fondue on top of Red Hen bread.
                There are some places in Burlington we like a lot especially L'amante and Trattoria delia but most of the other places we have tried suck(include Leunigs in the not very good at all except for a drink at the small bar category(but it is always packed)). Bluebird was better the last time than the first three times we tried so maybe give that a chance.
                We give the nod to Belted Cow for newness and a fresh approach using local ingredients and good solid food. If you catch it when the porchetta is on the menu you are in for a treat.

                1. re: Wursthof

                  Hen of the wood is not 45 minutes from Burlington. I know this because I'm about 50 minutes from Burlington and I live in Orange (which is east of Barre), and I work in Waterbury. Hen of the woods is about 30 minutes, max, and it's nearly all interstate.

                  1. re: Morganna

                    yeah, you are right, it just seems longer especially at night after a couple bottles of wine and I actually have to drive off the interstate toward Jericho. Burlington center to the Waterbury exit in 30 minutes no problem.
                    I'd still give a nod to Belted Cow for food just as good as Hen of the Wood and Kitchen Table although the other two have better wine lists based on the last visits.

                    1. re: Wursthof

                      Oh I can well imagine it seeming longer at night after some wine. :) I'm SO excited, we'll be going to Hen of the Wood for the first time on Tuesday for our anniversary. Whoo hoo!

                  2. re: Wursthof

                    We will have to try The Belted Cow as we are in Williston. The Drunken Noodle has great lunch specials (the yellow curry noodles with grilled chicken at $6.95 is the best deal in town). I'll post after our visit.

              2. The main restaurant/shopping area in downtown Burlington is called Church Street. There are numerous restaurants along Church St. to pick from. Most things of interest are within walking distance of Church St.

                My recommendation is Leunig's Bistro.

                http://www.leunigsbistro.com/

                3 Replies
                1. re: humin

                  WE ACTUALLY made "resies" at kitchen table...I'm waiting to hear back from them to see if they can accomodate.

                  1. re: humin

                    I like sitting in a window table at Leunig's on the Church Street side. It's great ambiance.

                    But I hate the food. It's awful, just the worst sort of mundane, forgettable (in)edibles.

                    1. re: signothetimes53

                      We ate at the Ice House on Saturday. The place has such potential but seems to miss the mark. The menu is nicely varied, but the execution is uninspired. They seem to focus on large groups, therefore the food needs to be easy to execute. Nothing was bad but nothing was great.