Pie for Breakfast in Vermont!
November 16, 2010 2:35 AM   Subscribe

"And in Vermont, a Yankee is somebody who eats pie for breakfast." Can you really eat pie for breakfast in Vermont? If so, please help make this dream a reality! Request for restaurant & nearby place to stay.

I've heard the old saying, but is it really true? Are there people who eat pie for breakfast in Vermont? If it's true, I want to do this. Heck, even if it's not true, I wouldn't mind a great slice of pie (or two!) for my morning meal.

I will be driving from Quebec City to Boston in early December with a night's stopover somewhere in Vermont. I'm willing to travel off the highway or out of my direct route. I've never been to VT before.

What I'm looking for is: a great, or dare I say the best place in Vermont to eat pie for breakfast. And, hopefully this place will be in or near a beautiful locale. And, ideally, there would be somewhere quaint and nice to stay close by, so that it's not too far a drive to get to breakfast (we usually camp or hostel; cheaper is better, though we don't mind a splurge for a quirky b&b or small hotel; splurge could be up to $100/night).

Any ideas? Great pie, great place to eat pie for breakfast, great place to stay? Thanks!
posted by mosessis to Food & Drink (25 answers total) 14 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: You can eat pie for breakfast in any diner in America. Since you'll be on Interstate 91 & 93 in Vermont, I'd just go to Google Maps and do a diner search. The Miss Lyndonville Diner looks like a sure bet.
posted by Civil_Disobedient at 3:27 AM on November 16, 2010 [1 favorite]


posted by parmanparman at 3:27 AM on November 16, 2010 [1 favorite]

I don't have any great suggestions about places to eat, but I doubt you'll have much trouble finding one.

My family's from Vermont and I've considered pie breakfast food for my entire life (not to mention dessert, a side dish, and snack). Cold squash pie and cold apple pie are reaaaaaaally good. And filling and (at least the way my family makes them) surprisingly healthful.
posted by Cygnet at 5:16 AM on November 16, 2010

Two words: Truck Stops. They're 24 hrs for people working all sorts of messed up schedules. Generally pie is available on an on-demand basis. A lot of times the food is surprisingly good. Just look for the massively elevated gas station roofs (if the tank area wasn't built to accomodate a semi, it ain't a real truck stop) & the signs advertising showers. And I'm a transplanted Yankee living in the South, and I had pumpkin pie for breakfast yesterday. (Although I felt guilty about it.)
posted by Ys at 5:58 AM on November 16, 2010

Best answer: I eat pie for breakfast more than I care to admit, at least during apple season.

Traveling from Quebec to Boston you're likely to want to stay on the east side of the state (though admittedly it's a small enough place it doesn't really matter). There's the P&H Truck Stop in Wells River, which is just off I-91. They are certainly known for pie, and I'd be shocked if they wouldn't serve it to you for breakfast. Wells River doesn't really fit your "beautiful/quaint" bill (this _is_ a truck stop...), but there's a lot of nice country around it. As mentioned above, the Miss Lyndonville is another good option.

There are oodles of B&Bs around this area, but less in the way of cheaper and funkier. You might look into Craftsbury, Burke, Greensboro, and Peacham for sort of "classic VT towns" that are likely to have places to stay. One cheap and definitely oddball place is Seymour Lake Lodge in Morgan, which may be filled with snow machiners when you're traveling. Also, the Willoughvale Inn is in a spectacular setting and isn't too terribly expensive this time of year.
posted by GodricVT at 6:36 AM on November 16, 2010

Are there people who eat pie for breakfast in Vermont?

I'm sure there are, but I'm not one of them and I've never heard this expression! Check out the Hancock Hotel in Hancock, VT. It doesn't have a website, but a google search should point you in the right direction. It's one of my favorite restaurants. Their pie is excellent, and the owner is a very sweet lady. As a bonus, it's in a very pretty area.
posted by pintapicasso at 6:48 AM on November 16, 2010

Best answer: It's also important to note Act 15 of the 1999 session of the Vermont Legislature:

When serving apple pie in Vermont, a "good faith" effort shall be made to meet one or more of the following conditions:
(a) with a glass of cold milk,
(b) with a slice of cheddar cheese weighing a minimum of 1/2 ounce,
(c) with a large scoop of vanilla ice cream.
posted by piro at 6:48 AM on November 16, 2010 [32 favorites]

Best answer: You want the Wayside, just off I-89 between Barre and Montpelier. Fresh pies every morning, ask them what's good today. I recommend rhubarb custard, maple cream or anything with fresh fruit.
posted by Andrew Galarneau at 6:58 AM on November 16, 2010 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Hancock Hotel and the Wayside are both excellent suggestions too! Route 100 (which passes through Hancock) from Middlesex to Killington is a beautiful drive.
posted by GodricVT at 7:10 AM on November 16, 2010

What Piro said. When in Vermont, you need apple pie, local cheddar cheese melted on top and a scoop of vanilla. The cheddar cheese is what makes it. Seriously, do this.
posted by WickedPissah at 7:50 AM on November 16, 2010 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Eating pie for breakfast is an old New England custom. My grandmother used to do it all the time.

If you can make it work with your schedule, the King Arthur Flour factory is a bit of a holy spot in pieland.
posted by Sidhedevil at 8:35 AM on November 16, 2010

I had no idea that eating pie for breakfast was considered a New England-specific custom. I'm from Upstate NY and my entire family does this all the time (well, whenever we have leftover pie). So do my in-laws in Michigan. But definitely do the cheddar-cheese-on-apple-pie thing, because that is how it Should Be Done.
posted by kataclysm at 8:56 AM on November 16, 2010

Slightly peripheral, but I don't believe your quest would be complete without also reading Sue Hubbell's essay, "The Great American Pie Expedition."
posted by mudpuppie at 9:11 AM on November 16, 2010 [3 favorites]

Just started rereading it after many years, and came across this, page 28:

"Pie has never been more loved than in nineteenth-century America, where it was not simply dessert but also a normal part of breakfast. The food writer Evan Jones quotes a contemporary observer as noting that in northern New England, 'all the hill and country towns were full of women who would be mortified if visitors caught them without pie in the house,' and that the absence of pie at breakfast 'was more noticeable than the scarcity of the Bible.'"

posted by mudpuppie at 9:14 AM on November 16, 2010 [2 favorites]

Depending where you are in Upstate New York and certainly many places in Michigan, 19th century migration patterns would mean that many (if not most) people in those communities would have come from New England. In 1850 there were 90,000+ Vermonters living elsewhere and only 230,000 Vermonters actually living in Vermont. "Go West, young man" and all that (Horace Greeley was from VT). Foodways traveled with the people, I'm sure. Oddly enough the Vermont Pie Company
appears to be in Dundee, Michigan.

In grad school a student in my "History of Rural Life" class was reading a journal from a farm family in the Northeast Kingdom (I think) where the women were baking 20+ pies per day. Pretty much everything was served in pie format, and during the growing season they had tons farmhands to feed along with the big extended family.

Urbanspoon has a fairly comprehensive list of diners in Vermont, which may come in handy. It's interesting that Dunkin' Donuts seems to fit their criteria.
posted by GodricVT at 9:48 AM on November 16, 2010

I feel that cheddar cheese is better inserted under the top crust of the pie and then the heated slightly, allowing the cheese to melt into the apples instead of onto the crust.

I am from Montreal, and I do not care where the pie custom came from, because it is delicious. Any pie that has fruit in it is acceptable for breakfast, though cream pies are pushing it.
posted by jeather at 9:50 AM on November 16, 2010

Wait wait wait wait wait...cheese and ice cream? I always thought it was cheese or ice cream. This...this opens new possibilities.
posted by infinitywaltz at 10:55 AM on November 16, 2010

Best answer: The Miss Lyndonville is a great diner, for sure. Get bacon extra-crispy there.
I don't remember how good their pies are, though they definitely have pie.

As for places to stay, the Village Inn of East Burke VT is a great mom and pop B+B, the owners Lorraine and George are terrific and do everything - chop wood for the wood stove, renovate the place, grow the food, cure the bacon (which is incredible), hunt the fowl, etc. They know the local area, George will lead you on a hike or a hunting trip, and they're your good old fashioned Yankee practical types. It sounds like it may not be right for this trip (they do breakfast, but there is just one dish per day, no choice), but I mention it just in case. They are selling the place after many years, so I don't know how much longer they will be there.
posted by LobsterMitten at 11:02 AM on November 16, 2010

Best answer: Why on earth would you want the cheddar melted on to the pie? Ugh. I prefer to dip the cheddar into the pie filling and then eat it. Yum.

I recommend the Farmers' Diner in Quechee (http://www.farmersdiner.com). At least I liked it when it was located in Barre.
posted by maryr at 12:07 PM on November 16, 2010

I'm from upstate (actually more like North Central) New York and my family has a long tradition of eating pie for breakfast as well. Apple pie is the best, and most "breakfasty" in my mind, although we'd eat any pie available for breakfast. We didn't make pie specifically for breakfast, mind you, but anytime we did have pie, it was universally understood that it was a breakfast food not just a dessert. For example my mom would often save a piece out to keep for my dad's breakfast since he worked 3rd shift and we'd eat it all before he got there. And when my mom made Apple pie, she'd specifically make another one for breakfast the next day.
posted by katyggls at 1:50 PM on November 16, 2010

Best answer: In Montpelier we like Coffee Corner. We love the scrambles. The pancakes are big and dense. The local bread that is offered is good. Have it as French toast. Sit at the big table at the window and share with strangers. Talk with the other people. They will be friendly.

In Barre, I would agree. Wayside. It's not everybody's cup of tea. Don't be discouraged by the line. There are a good number of seats and the turn around is quick. People watch. Sometimes generations at one table.

Closer to us, and therefore our go-to places. We eat weekly at Chelsea Station (sometimes known as 108 to the locals) where we usually have the combo pancakes (her buckwheat, me buttermilk) which comes with an egg cooked your way. We usually split a plate of bacon. Not a big fan of their coffee, so we stop by the South Royalton Market 2 doors down (full disclosure, I work here) for Vermont-roasted coffees we like beforehand. At 108 we do, it fact, on occasion, have pie. They usually have a few kinds. A la mode or whipped cream are optional.

In Randolph, which is just kinda quaint without being pretentious, we like to go to Patrick's place. During the summer they have some nice fresh fruit toppings for their thick Belgian waffles. I usually get the Eggs Benedict.

Right near Exit 3 off I-89 is Eaton's Sugarhouse, which is kinda part diner, part tourist trap and part authentic maple syrup producer. The place is busy, but waits aren't usually long. Seating is one of my only complaints. Tables are locally made picnic tables and the benches aren't particularly comfortable. I think this is by design. Turnover is key. Pancakes are good. Can't miss with eggs, meat and toast. Coffee is meh.

Farmers' Diner is good. Didn't have breakfast the one time I visited in Quechee. I really enjoyed my breakfast at the original in Barre, but that was 5 years ago. I think it is a very safe bet. Plus, cute real diner feel in the train cars.

That's all I can think of off the top of my head.
posted by terrapin at 4:19 PM on November 16, 2010

errr, Chelsea Station is in South Royalton, VT between exits 2 & 3 off I-89.
posted by terrapin at 4:20 PM on November 16, 2010

Best answer: The Wayside is a sure winner. It's one of the things I miss most about living in Barre. I've had many a pie there and they're all great! The area isn't particularly picturesque, but it's Vermont... drive five minutes for great views! If you'd like more info on stuff to do in and around Barre, feel free to MeMail.
posted by youcancallmeal at 7:58 PM on November 16, 2010

Response by poster: You guys are all fantastic - thanks!

And I am so glad to know about the cheddar cheese and apple pie thing. I have never heard of that before ever, and would have never thought to do it, but it sounds absolutely delicious. And I'm so glad to know my rights concerning the serving of pie with cheese, milk and ice cream (seriously, that is a great Legislative Act).

I think we'll try to hit up a couple of these places, perhaps a lunch, dinner and a breakfast across the state. You can never have too much pie, after all. Thanks again for all your suggestions.
posted by mosessis at 1:51 AM on November 17, 2010

If you do end up in East Burke for lunch or dinner, there are two other good restos there, within a short walk of the Village Inn on the main road through East Burke: The River Garden and Willy's.
posted by LobsterMitten at 7:59 PM on November 17, 2010

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