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Dec 13, 2012 08:39 AM

Brattleboro, VT

I'm meeting an old college buddy for dinner in a couple of weeks, and Brattleboro is the midpoint.

Are there any must-visit restaurants in and around the area? The only chow place I know (and love) is the barbecue place off exit 4, but he's closed for the winter.

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  1. There is Fireworks on Main St. ($12-25). An ok Indian on Eliot. Great fish and chip shop on eliot (see my review a couple of days ago) Higher end is Peter Havens on Eliot. TJ Buckleys on eliot. There is also a decent Thai on main and high st. Other stuff scattered outside of downtown if you want. Our bang for the buck is Fireworks. Nice creative italian

    5 Replies
    1. re: jefpen2

      Fireworks it is...thanks for the heads up.

      1. re: NicholsVT

        You'll do well with Fireworks. Also, Flat Street Pub would be a good place for a pint before or after dinner. Fireworks has nice cocktails, but beer selection isn't great- Flat Street is much better, and just down the block.

        Another brand new good choice is Whetstone Station ( really nice menu with an emphasis on local ingredients. Also have a really nice beer selection.

        1. re: erin_grogan

          Is that where the River something restaurant used to be? Good location for sure.

          1. re: erin_grogan

            Have you tried Whetstone Station? How about some thoughts on the food...

            1. re: NicholsVT

              I have tried the food. I've found everything to be very fresh- they are emphasizing partnerships with local farmers, and I think that really shows.

              We typically have snacks or sandwiches as we often show up there around happy hour time, as they have a really excellent rotating tap selection of regional beers, and a nice bottle list. I have really enjoyed the Asian fig salad- very fresh local greens, delicious miso dressing, and candied figs. They also have great handcut fries.

              My husband particularly enjoys the grilled chicken sandwich, with the maple bacon option. This comes on a really fresh, substantial pretzel role. Apparently this bacon is special (as a vegetarian, I'll have to take his word for it ;) ). He has had several other sandwiches, including the burger, which he was also a big fan of (though he chose to forgo the peanut butter option, which I have seen several other people order and enjoy).

              The one "miss" so far has been a turkey sandwich, where the turkey seemed more like cheap deli meat than the proclaimed in house oven-roasted, the bread was a fairly weak "country white" that disintegrated under a really, really heavy and overpowering pesto. It just didn't seem to work.

              Haven't tried any of the entrees, but for appetizers and sandwiches, the food is better than other similar places in town, everyone there is really friendly, the beers are also better than most other places, and in the summer the view from the roof deck over the river can't be beat (Joanie, you're right about the location).

      2. TJ Buckleys on Eliot is special. Cash only. I second Flat Street Pub for a pint. Have nt ried Whrstone yet, but plan to.

        1. Does the Old Red Mill in Wilmington still have a dining room? I remember having the most amazing homemade cream of chicken soup there but that was years ago....

          1. We like Szechwan Chinese. Pan Asian and Panda North are decent, but is there anyplace better within 20 miles or so?

            3 Replies
            1. re: klutzygirl

              No. I think the best you could do is go to Northampton, MA (more than 20 miles- depending on where you are in Brattleboro, probably about a 40-45 minute drive- a straight shot down I-91). If you want a step up from takeout Chinese, Zen has some good pan-Asian items on their menu. Bonus is that you can then head a couple of doors down to The Dirty Truth for one of the best beer selections in our region.

              The Dirty Truth:

              1. re: erin_grogan

                Thanks for this info too. There seem to be quite a few Chinese and other Asian places worth a visit in the greater Noho area. The truck in Bratt sounds good, but unfortunately they're closed on Sundays, the day we need something.

                1. re: erin_grogan

                  I have to say I wouldn't drive two blocks for Zen, let alone the hour it takes to get there from Brat.

              2. Also any good Italian right in greater Bratt?

                4 Replies
                1. re: klutzygirl

                  There really isn't. Fireworks would probably call itself "Italian inspired," and I do believe their pizza oven came from Italy.

                  If you are open to a 20 minute drive, you could either go up I-91 to Popolo in Bellows Falls, VT or over Rt. 9 to Niccola's Trattoria in Keene, NH. Very different places, but both delicious in their own way.

                  Niccola's: (they are extremely annoying in their refusal to have an actual website, but you can see the menu in their photos- I have no idea what business advisor tells them this is ok!!)

                  1. re: erin_grogan

                    Erin, thanks for those recommendations. Nicola's is pricey and seems a bit self-important, but some of the dishes look delicious. The pizza looks outstanding! We'll definitely have to try them for lunch next time we go there. Unfortunately there was no menu or any food info for Popolo. Can you tell me more about it?

                      1. re: klutzygirl

                        I agree with you on the vibe in the main dining room at Nicola's, but to get around that, you can sit on the bar side, where they serve the full menu but it's much less stuffy. The pizzas are great, and their gnocchi (there is a different special every day) is really some of the best I've had.