‘New Go-To Spot in Vermont’
The winter 2023 edition of Edible Vermont profiles The Pitcher Inn in its “Last Bite” column. In case you missed it, here’s what Vermont’s foodie magazine has to say about dining at The Pitcher Inn.
There is a certain “what I am doing?” feeling when one moves, after 27 years, from New York City and heads back to the Green Mountain State. In this case, that worrisome person was me. Raised in Montpelier, I left for the lights of Manhattan shortly after college, never expecting to return. Enter Covid. I, along with thousands of others, felt chased out of Gotham. I moved full time into my 1800 weekend farmhouse purchased years before. I not only mourned my beloved city, but also the life I enjoyed daily and the culinary haunts that for years were my go-to spots for anniversary and birthday celebrations. I had lived blocks from Jean-Georges and Alain Ducasse eateries, exceptional bakeries, and cheese shops (I lived above a Dean & DeLuca for goodness sake). Dorothy, we’re not in Kansas anymore.
An avid foodie, I researched top dining spots in Vermont and one summer day hopped onto Route 100, a stunning, scenic drive, with my palate GPS headed toward the tiny hamlet of Warren, home of the gorgeous, rustic-chic Pitcher Inn. I knew it would be a perfect nest to soak in an evening of pampering and culinary explorations courtesy of Executive Chef Jacob Ennis who, prior to helming the inn’s 275 Main, worked in some of New England’s award-winning culinary destinations. His ethos is creating menus showcasing farm-fresh “locally anchored, ingredient-focused gastronomy to sustainable seafood such as mackerel and monkfish and showcasing wild game in the autumn.” And when I read that he makes his own burrata and mozzarella (so long NYC fromagers!) and jams harvested from the inn’s grapevines, I knew this would be my favorite eatery outside of my beloved Big Apple.
Chef Jacob had a few minutes to greet me, hand-presenting his dishes and explaining the ingredients and flavors I would experience—his secrets on how he delicately sears, sautés, and roasts each expertly crafted dish.. He also explained a new program, Fire to Fork, that he is launching for the cool seasons, where he roasts vegetables, meats, stocks, and soups in the heart of the restaurant’s fireplace. This type of old-school cooking is not often found these days. On top of his dreamy food and cheeses, another score!
Working alongside Chef Jacob is Chef de Cuisine Peter Heaney, a graduate of New England Culinary Institute who has worked for 25 years in some of the world’s finest kitchens, including top establishments in Montpellier, France and in Montreal (now I think “how cool that I am from Montpelier”). His style of cooking is classic French and takes advantage of the bounty of farm-fresh items in the Mad River region. Together, the two chefs create a flawless culinary pas de deux. In addition, the delectable desserts are homemade.
The nearly 500-bottle wine cellar touts a Wine Spectator Award of Excellence and is available for private dining. After feeling as though I had a foodie affair on some of my beloved NYC eateries, I had found my new go-to spot in Vermont. And I even snuck in a fireside Bhakta Spirits Armagnac après dinner at Tracks, the inn’s cozy tavern. Then it was a peaceful eve in Trout Room where visions of homemade burrata danced through my head.
Rebecca Widness is a part-time Vermont resident and luxury travel and hospitality public relations consultant.