Farmhouse Tap and Grill, Vermont

Last week, in relaying the details of my search for Heady Topper in Vermont, I described a thriving beer scene in Vermont as chaotic as any I have found North America. On my first full day in Vermont, acting on a valuable tip I received from the Beverage Warehouse in Winooski, I spent hours waiting for one of the beer world’s most famous beverages, learning the hard way how difficult it can be to track down the offerings of Vermont’s three renowned breweries: The Alchemist, Lawson’s Finest Liquids, and Hillstead Farm Brewery. Recognizing on that first day that I would not have the time on this family trip to spend hours in search of beer, I found my savior – The Farmhouse Tap and Grill in Burlington.


Farmhouse tap and grill vermontAs we prepared for our trip the week beforehand, Yashy had been receiving a number of tips from sources in the area, and she posted a Google chat message to me the day before we left Toronto with tips she had received on how to find Heady Topper. When we arrived in Vermont on Wednesday evening, I pulled up that chat and the first tip led us to the Healthy Living Center in Burlington. Upon arriving and discovering that the beer had arrived 45 minutes before and was already sold out, I shifted my focus to other research avenues and forgot about the other tips until we were trying to decide on dinner plans for Thursday evening. The same source strongly recommended the Farmhouse Tap & Grill, and though we didn’t expect much, and weren’t particularly eager to drive back into Burlington, we decided to check it out. The place looked busy as we made our way through the front door, but we noticed a lot of kids and figured it would at least be a place where we could relax amidst chaos, a favorite pastime of ours when the kids are being noisy and we need to commiserate with other flustered parents. We spotted plastic cups with lids and straws so these guys knew what they were doing when it came to the kids!


When I walked in and noticed the large draft list posted above the bar, complete with 3 Hillstead Farm offerings and Lawson’s Sip of Sunshine IPA, I experienced something of a ray of heavenly light beaming down on the path to the server. I was determined to hold out for whatever time we were given (unbeknownst to Yashy), but luckily we were told to expect a 15 minute wait to be seated and were invited to enjoy the back patio area  (with a live band) until a table became available. I think I was already back there by the time these words came out of her mouth, impatiently waiting for the kids to follow! I quickly ordered my first Sip of Sunshine, another delicious Vermont IPA, and had barely begun to look for a seat when we were called to our table. These were good times.



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IMG_0968 (Custom)My impression entering the Tap & Grill, and Yashy’s before even seeing the place, was that the food would be fairly standard. This was a poor assumption. The menu was filled with locally sourced options and a range of appetizers so appealing that we now regret not ordering them all. Yashy wisely ordered the Griddled Nitty Gritty Corn Bread and it was about the best food we could have tasted before the main meals arrived. Along with the Corn Bread, we ordered Oysters, the LaPlatte River Farm Beef Tartare and the LaPlatte River Angus Farm Beef Burger. The food was so rich and flavourful that we quickly filled up, wishing we had room for more but immanently satisfied with what we consumed. Or course, a place this in tune with culinary excellence also had flights available, and I was able to try samples of all three Hillstead farm brews: Conduct of Life #1 (Very Good), Edward (Great), Double Citra (Extra Great). Yashy contented herself with  the Bone Marrow Toast and wanted to try the Cheese Toast , which contained the Bayley Hazen Blue Cheese that won a 1st Place Award at the American Cheese Society Awards in 2013. Luckily our server told her to head to the grocery store at the end of the street to procure some (which she did!).


farmhouse tap and grillThe Little Monkey and Steve Nash Jr. (new nickname for the Little Man/Baby Boy since he constantly insists on playing basketball) ordered Mac N’ Cheese from the Kids Menu and seemed generally content. Nash Jr. had stuffed himself with the delicious corn bread and didn’t have much room left for the main meal. He decided to explore the patio a bit before I brought him back to the change table in the Men’s room for a diaper refresh.

The Farmhouse Tap and Grill is the type of place that tourists will be thrilled visiting, especially those looking to try Vermont’s wonderful beer and cheese offerings. If I was a local, I would visit often. With front and back patios, great food, and a beer list that contains some of the world’s finest brews, The Farmhouse Grill has it all. Yes, including high chairs, crayons and colouring sheets for kids! 

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