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Oct 15, 2011 08:02 AM

Montpelier/Barre with a near-2-year-old

My wife, 22-month-old son and I will be staying at a farm a short drive from Montpelier next week, and we're looking for some good places to eat. We don't need breakfast -- the farmers/innkeepers make it themselves using mostly foods they produce on the farm, which we're very excited about -- but dinner is always an issue. We normally take bigger-city vacations and I know the Montpelier area isn't going to be loaded with options, but maybe that makes this easier. We just need a few good places where we can have good earlyish dinners, places equipped with high chairs that don't mind hosting a kid who has been known to throw his food when the idea strikes his fancy.

This is usually where I give you a list of cuisines we're interested in, but you know what, we're open to anything. Points, though, for "only in Vermont"-type places, whatever that might entail.

Oh, yeah, and how do you pronounce "Barre"?

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  1. Barre is pronounced like "Barry".

    The places I'm going to list here serve early enough you won't have any problems, and you're more likely to be comfortable at them with your child. There are several fine dining places I'm not mentioning because I think they're probably less likely to be able to accommodate your child (or they are awful).

    Skinny Pancake: wide variety of stuffed crepes, fondue, good service, local ingredients, reasonable prices. As far as I'm concerned, this is the best non-fine dining restaurant in Montpelier. :)
    Royal Orchid: Good Thai food for an OK price.
    Bagitos: Bagels and burritos and tacos, have some things to go. This is a good place with decent food.
    Village Pizza: typical inexpensive pizzeria, not the best pizza but fair, with various other pizzeria dinner options and a salad bar (IIRC).
    Sarducci's: Italian dining, they are open plenty early for a family dinner. good food, reasonable prices for what you get, but a little on the higher end (most entrees in the mid teens).
    Main Street Grill: Run by NECI, this place can be hit or miss (more hit than miss most of the time). There's a grill spot and a fine dining spot, I'm picturing you at the grill more than the upstairs dining room.
    That's Life Soup: They do soups and sandwiches, all made from scratch. They have different soups and sandwiches every day.

    Between Montpelier and Barre (On the Barre/Montpelier Road):
    The Wayside Diner: Diner fare, diner prices, family atmosphere, true Vermont diner experience. This place is solidly in the "good food for low prices" category and there are loads of regulars who eat here. I've never had a -bad- meal there. I'd class it as completely as expected but not in a bad way. :)
    Simply Subs: This place as the best standard subs and heroes of the area. Also, surprisingly, I like their fried clams (ok, they're not Maine Fried Clams from fresh clams or anything, but I still like 'em). They make their own potato and macaroni salads (and they're OK).

    Quarry Grill and Tavern: I haven't been here yet, it's fairly new. They boast 17 large screens running sports, so this may not be the sort of family place you're hoping for
    Barre Dogs: Hot dog place, she also has daily soup and sandwich specials, I think she's only open for lunch
    Soup and Greens: I haven't been to this place in over 12 years, but I saw a recent review of it in 7 Days and have made up my mind to go again. This is a family restaurant with reasonable prices and decent food.
    Ladder 1: This is a family restaurant with decent burgers and sides, and some interesting dinner specials. Decent prices.
    Basil's Restaurant: Another family restaurant. This is where we get our pizza because they're the only place in the area that has -hot- italian sausage as an option :) They also have broasted chicken (only place in the area that does broasted chicken) and two soup specials a day. They have a pretty big menu and reasonable prices. It's a decent place.

    Stay away from: J. Morgan's. You'll be tempted, just ... don't. The Steakhouse, over priced, poor quality, unpleasant atmosphere, don't bother.

    Main Street Grill and Bar
    118 Main St., Montpelier, VT 05602

    That's Life Soup
    41 Elm St, Montpelier, VT 05602

    Skinny Pancake
    60 Lake St Ste 1A, Burlington, VT 05401

    3 Main St, Montpelier, VT 05602

    2 Replies
    1. re: Morganna

      Wow! That's more than I was hoping for. Thanks a million -- I'm going to think about it and definitely try a few of these.

      1. re: masterofzen

        I keep forgetting to mention Al Portico in Montpelier. it's an OK place, though honestly, I'd probably go to Village Pizza before Al Portico (it's not bad, just more costly for only a slightly better product).

    2. The home of Ben and Jerry's is in Waterbury Ctr. for your son's sweet tooth

      1. Just a follow-up: The trip was great. We loved Vermont.

        The first night we got into town later than expected and it was close to my son's bedtime, so we had dinner at Positive Pie -- the one in Plainfield, near our B&B, not the one in Montpelier, which we noticed the next night. I'm not a pizza guy, but my wife thought the pizza was excellent.

        Second night we went to Main Street Grill, which I thought was very good. Very impressive that these were first-year culinary students running the kitchen. The food was a little uneven, but overall it was a winner. Desserts in particular were superb.

        Everyone told us Sarducci's was the best restaurant in town. We went there the third night, and it was all right, but it didn't rock my world. I thought the goat cheese on my pasta was an odd pairing. My wife loved her seafood pasta, though.

        We decided to go into Burlington the last night. We did some last-minute restaurant research and ended up at the Farmhouse, which was terrific. That was the opportunity I was looking for to get a big Vermont-centric cheese plate.

        Thanks a lot for the tips -- they turned out well. Vermont is a really terrific place, not least because of the food.

        Main Street Grill and Bar
        118 Main St., Montpelier, VT 05602

        3 Main St, Montpelier, VT 05602

        Positive Pie
        69 Main St, Plainfield, VT 05667

        1 Reply
        1. re: masterofzen

          Well *I* sure didn't tell you Sarducci's was the best restaurant in town (the two I think are the best are Skinny Pancake (best deal, local food, cooking for the price) and Salt (best fine dining)). :) I'm glad you had fun in Vermont and hope you get to come back! If I'd known your B&B was in Plainfield I'd have recommended Positive Pie there (that site is less uneven about its preparation than the one in Montpelier).