Great American Food Cities: Burlington, Vt.
Fresh Brews with a Maple Chaser & More in This Charming, Food-Obsessed Town
Charming with a hipster vibe, historic but thoroughly progressive, earthy but uber-sophisticated, Burlington, Vt., is indisputably one of America’s Great Food Cities. A pioneer of the farm-to-table movement, Burlington has long championed its legendary maple syrup, heirloom corn, aged cheddar, fresh perch, farm-raised beef and some of the country’s best craft brews.
The largest city in Vermont, with 42,000+ residents, Burlington is home to the state university, miles of trails and beaches along the shores of Lake Champlain, a thriving arts community and a lushly creative foodie mecca.
As Trip Advisor ungrammatically, yet accurately, sums it up: “Burlington is one of those places you can't help but fall in love with.”
Famed residents: Bernie Sanders, Burlington’s mayor in the 1980s, rock band Phish and Ben (Cohen) & Jerry’s (Greenfield)
Favorite Pastimes: Boating, hiking, skiing, eclectic dining and craft beer. Vermont claims more craft breweries per capita than any other state.
Sustainability Meter: Off the chart. The first city in America to run on 100 percent renewable energy, Burlington also boasts a locavore-focused dining scene.
Taste of Burlington
The Burlington Food & Wine Festival is by far one of the best foodie events in the area. Additionally, Church Street Marketplace, in the heart of downtown Burlington, keeps a constant buzz with festivals year-round and diverse dining, including:
- Leunig’s Bistro, a Parisian-style café
- E.B. Strong’s, Vermont’s first USDA Prime steakhouse
- Sweetwaters, an American bistro with seasonally inspired menus
- Lake Champlain Chocolates, handcrafted from local cream, butter and honey
- The Farmhouse Tap & Grill, an acclaimed locavore mainstay and gastropub, with a 20-page beer menu
- The Essex, billed as “Burlington’s culinary resort and spa,” features award-winning restaurants, Junction and the Tavern, an onsite organic garden and a cooking academy
- Hen of the Wood, a James Beard-nominee, with a menu that changes nightly, but always includes its renowned local cheeses and milk biscuits
- American Flatbread, for pizza with a mission, made from locally farmed ingredients, and baked in house-built wood-fired clay ovens
- Nectar’s Bar and Lounge, a late-night eatery where the “world famous gravy fries” are the main attraction, along with local bands hoping to become the new Phish, who built a following on their stage
- One of the city’s most popular family dining destinations for breakfast, lunch or dinner, The Spot boasts a nutritious menu sourced locally and food prepared without a fryolator or microwave
- The Burlington Summer Farmer’s Market, held every year since 1980. More than 90 stands burst with fresh produce, prepared foods and artisan wares
On the waterfront: Skinny Pancake, which digs deep into local sourcing, featuring Vermont blueberries yearround and an elegant selection of well-loved crepes.
In the old North End: Butch + Babe’s, a red-hot neighborhood hangout since its 2015 launch, featuring pub fare with a twist, mac and cheese pancakes, falafel dogs and fermented veggies.
South End, a formerly industrial district turned artistically trendy: ArtsRiot, known for serving brilliantly colored foods, such as seared snapper on corn veloute topped with garlic green pesto and purple cornflower petals.
Craft Beer & Distillery Crawl
- Vermont Pub & Brewery, founded in 1988, is the third oldest brewpub on the East Coast. Props go to the founder, the late Greg Noonan who successfully lobbied on behalf of brewpubs in the state, who wrote a comprehensive micro-brewing reference book and invented the Black IPA.
- Switchback, producer of the #1 draft beer in Vermont, Switchback Ale.
- Burlington Beer Co. where experimentation reigns with beers such as Barista, a coffee porter made with beans from local Uncommon Ground, and Beekeeper, brewed with Vermont honey.
- In a town with plenty of breweries, it's nice to see Mad River Distillers forge its own path with a range of spirits. The actual distillery is set on a 150-year-old farm in the Mad River Valley of Vermont's majestic Green Mountains.
- Fiddlehead Brewing, famous for founder Matt Cohen’s signature Fiddlehead IPA.
- Zero Gravity Craft Brewery, featuring a sun-drenched beer garden.
- Foam Brewers, with a magnificent view of Lake Champlain and a ready supply of crafty brews with names like Halo Bender and Rated R.
- Author: Mindy S. Kolof
- Posted: July 25, 2018
- Categories: In Our Communities