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Nov 7, 2013 09:21 PM

Visiting University of Vermont/Burlington next weekend. Suggestions?

My wife and I will be visiting the University of Vermont/Burlington area next weekend (11/15-17). We will be arriving sometime in the afternoon on Friday and leaving Sunday late morning/afternoon. Staying at the Best Western and looking for some suggestions for all meals. We love dive joints, diners, cafes, that sort of thing. Doesn't need to be fancy, just good food. Have heard a bit about Penny Cluse Cafe but not from the area so not really sure if it's as good as it looks. Also interested in getting some good/inexpensive drinks in the evening. Would love your suggestions. Thanks!

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  1. Can you narrow down on food preferences or styles?

    1 Reply
    1. re: Morganna

      Nothing hoity-toity. Sit down but doesn't have to have table service necessarily. We're from NJ so I guess we'd just like something different than what we might get at home (i.e. no italian/seafood/major chains, etc.) Something that shows off some local flair? Preferably within walking distance (+/- mile) of the University.

    2. Walking distance:

      1. The Upper Deck Pub: this is "on property" at the Best Western (upstairs from the Windjammer). Lively atmosphere and a pretty wide variety of options. Perfect for evening drinks based on location and wide selection of Vermont Beers/Spirits. Excellent bartenders as well!

      2. Al's French Frys: cheap, fast, and unique (might be better for lunch than dinner) about 1/3 mile from Best Western.

      3. Pulcinella's: I know you said "no Italian" but this is the best restaurant within walking distance and I think you would find it different when compared to "Jersey Italian". You could enjoy a few glasses of wine and some small plates for a nice night out. About 1/2 mile or less from Best Western (on Dorset Street by Barnes and Noble, next to Small Dog Electronics).


      3 Replies
      1. re: TonyO

        Thanks for the suggestions! Since we're staying at the Best Western we'll be sure to visit the Upper Deck for some drinks. Also would definitely like to try Al's as I absolutely love fries and heard that they also have corn dogs, another favorite of mine. This is the kind of place we're looking for though. We love dives.

        Any other suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Perhaps a bit further from the hotel would be fine too. We will have our car so wouldn't mind driving as long as it's not too far.

          1. re: Candy

            Awesome. Glad someone seconded this place because I definitely want to try it.

        1. We have visited the charming city of Burlington once or twice a yr for maaaaaany yrs. Below are some links to detailed reports from our trip last month.

          I'd first want to urge you to make sure you don't miss Penny Cluse. We always eat there every other morning of our stay.
          I always get the chile relleno and huevos ranchera--FanTAStic; My Love gets one of their daily specials. You get a great feel for the locals and the community here.

          Our other Burl area faves:
          --Misery Loves Company 10 min drive in Winooskie
          --Trattoria Delia (authentic Italian)but i know you have plenty of it at home.

          Misery Loves Company Lunch and Dinner

          Orange Leaf Frozen Yoghurt

          Mexican diner -El Curtido

          popular w/ locals
          Guild and Co:



          special donuts in VT:

          Of course, if you're from NJ, you know not to bother w/ the pizza here (I wish) or the Chinese (Single Pebble- I wish
          )On the other hand, def go to Mirabelle bakery;i KNOW it puts all Boston bakeries to shame and it's likely the same for NJ!

          Here's my longer 2012 report:

          Try to spend time walking the town and down along the lake-so beautiful.
          Hope you have a good visit.
          check out these menus too:
          The Kitchen Table- Richmond
          Daily Planet, Burl.
          Starry Night Cafe, Vergennes
          Black Sheep, Vergennes
          Equinox- Stowe
          Hen of the Woods- just off 89 on way to Stowe

          2 Replies
          1. re: opinionatedchef

            Wow, opinionatedchef! Thanks so much for the reply. You pretty much listed enough places for us to go all weekend. Glad you enjoy Penny Cluse because that was one place we definitely wanted to hit, though after reading your review we might end up there more that once. Also read your longer report on your trip last year. Very informative. Thanks again for all the info, links and suggestions. Should be a great trip.

            1. re: bobvelba

              bob, my pleasure. just remember there is always a line at PC unless you get there when they open, or very late or you're just lucky. they also have quite a few specials every day. (btw, the only thing not delic there, imo, is the gravy and biscuits. ugh. go figure. )

              you're going to love Burlington!

          2. Will you have a car? Some very good dining can be found at NECI just north of the city in Winooski. NECI is the New England Culinary Institute. There is a casual restaurant and a dressier one too, Don't be put off by the drive. It is no distance at all. All of these towns or cities and smack on top of each other.

            1. You're likely gonna be strolling down Church St.
              Stop in Ken's Pizza & Pub for a coupla drinks (cozy/divey). Once fortified, take right out of pub and head down the street. Skip Church Street Tavern, but stop in to Ri Ra Irish pub.
              Slaked once more, head out in same direction to Main street. You might be tempted by Manhatten Pizza & Pub across the street, but don't do it. Instead take hard left, pass Nectar's (save them for later).
              Theres a joint just past the alley (don't remember the name, but their catch phrase is 'across from the divorce court'). Dive. Cheap Beer.