First used in the 1860s, the term appetizer means “a small portion of food or drink served at the start of a meal to stimulate the desire to eat.” And in Vermont, where most restaurants make an effort to use locally sourced foods, you get your choice of some truly tasty apps. From seafood to springtime delights, here are the 8 best places for appetizers in the state.
Featuring Southern-style small plates, we might consider everything on Pro Pig’s menu and appetizer, if only so that we could list them all. But, alas, with a clearly designated spot for “Starters,” we are resigned to tell you only about the three apps we love. Boasting a unique variety of choices, check out double fried chicken wings with your choice of house-made sauces, duck fat fries, and, our favorite, “Release The Cracklin” (crispy pork skin, 'Nam Prik' dipping sauce).
In the springtime, which Vermonters know as “mud season,” the Green Mountain State is alive with the buzzing about of various woodsy foragers. Not only is the maple sap flowing, but the ramps are also in season, and fiddleheads are just pushing up through the snow. At MLC, patrons are presented with perfectly seared scallops and other tender spring vegetables in a flavorful and light broth.
Featuring locally-sourced ingredients, Hen of the Woods offers “simple, uncomplicated and down-to-earth” food. With daily changing menus, one thing you can always count on is cheese plates not to be missed. Check out Woodcock Farm ‘Ewe Too’ from Weston, Twig Farm ‘Mixed Drum’ from West Cornwall, Lazy Lady Farm ‘The Thin Red Line’ from Westfield, Jasper Hill Farm Bayley Hazen from Greensboro, and more.
With 15 small-plate appetizers including poutine, wood-fired scallops, house pate, and chorizo tacos, the Bench is hard to top when it comes to good eats. Plus, with wood-fired pizzas, burgers, duck, and steak, you are looking at coming away happy, happy, happy. With 25 draught offerings, it almost seems too good to be true.
Whether you order dinner or an appetizer, Ray’s serves up fresh lake perch and other products of ice fishing in a light, crispy batter that is hard to beat. Across the state shacks dapple lakes, and fishers bring in the bounty of the icy cold waters. And Ray’s has been cooking up the catch since 1981 with a spicy slaw and Old Bay aioli. It is a taste of Vermont unlike any other.
With possibly the best clam chowder in the state and French onion soup that is not far behind, it is hard not to find something to love off of the Windjammer appetizer menu—unless, of course, you are talking about the jumbo lump crab cake or the shrimp cocktail. All the seafood is fresh daily, and no one knows how to cook it up better than the Windjammer.
Established in 2014, this self-advertised gastropub prides itself on delicious food and a well-stocked beer cooler. Like many places worth getting to, the Publick House is not that easy to find, but the appetizer menu alone is worth the trip. Get pedestrian offerings like hand-cut fries, nachos, and sliders, as well as more elevated fare like a Scotch egg, smoked and fried pork belly, and ahi tuna.
You have got to love an appetizer menu that boasts homemade fried pickles alongside P.E.I mussels and shrimp cocktail. Established in 2012, Goodfellas features a pub menu, seafood, pasta, hand-cut French fries, and steak. The fully-stocked tavern offers mixed drinks, Vermont beers, and more.