Adult Dinner Tour #4 – Saint Johnsbury| 10.06.18
Saint Johnsbury has a wonderful downtown when it comes to easy of walking. There are many shops and restaurants to choose from and navigating sidewalks and traffic is easy (this is not the case for all NEK towns).
There are also some wonderful restaurants to choose from, all offering different flavor profiles, making this another perfect spot for an adult dinner tour.
Take the St. Johnsbury Dinner Tour
(Disclaimer – If you take our adult dinner tour, keep the receipts from three of the restaurants, take a picture of all three showing the restaurant name and the date – the same date must be on all receipts – and submit them to our Facebook Page to be entered to win NEK Restaurant Gift Certificates)
Click on the links to view more information from each restaurant.
There are two ways you can start off this dinner tour. One is to start at Pica Pica, a Filipino restaurant located on Main Street at the top of the hill. Starting here means you need to walk into downtown navigating a hill on your way to your next location and at the end of the night, or you’ll need to drive to a second parking location. We choose to start here because there are some wonderful and unique options to be had.
This restaurant is cozy and beautifully decorated. We start with order a couple of drinks. They only carry beer and wine, but they also have a variety of Filipino fresh fruit juices which are a great way to start your tryst into this cultural cuisine.
Appetizers here offer a variety of flavors. We recommend the spring rolls, crispy and filled with pork– a change from typical vegetarian options at Chinese or Thai restaurants. They also have a pork belly dish and Pica Pata a crispy, pork knuckle that is marinated in a vinegar marinade overnight and fried before serving (this is a special they run often the chef said).
This is plenty of food for a dinner tour, but if you decide to stay for an entrée, try the Adobo. This is a traditional Filipino comfort dish and consists of chicken and pork cooked with vinegar and soy sauce and served with rice and vegetables.
If you are looking for something to do between restaurants, this is the perfect opportunity to take a look at the beautiful art gallery located within the Atheneaum – St. Johnsbury’s Library. Their collection includes the famous painting, “The Domes of Yosemite” by Albert Bierstadt.
From here, we drive to a parking lot on Railroad Street near the Wine Gate restaurant. This is our second stop, but could be the alternative start to your dinner tour if you prefer to just walk from restaurant to restaurant.
The Wine Gate serves dinner Thurs. – Sat. nights so plan accordingly. This St. Johnsbury restaurant picked up on the train theme as it is located right on the railroad tracks. A dark space with few windows, it is made cozy with lighting and décor. The gates that serve as doors are a quaint touch that helps add character.
Here we recommend trying the fish tacos, if they are on the menu. Topped with your choice of Avocado or Mango and served with a spicy aioli in a house made tortilla. These tacos are fantastically fresh tasting and the tortilla is unlike any taco shell you’ve ever eaten – crunchy and almost chip like.
We love the bacon wrapped scallops – well cooked with crispy bacon on the outside the combinations of sweet scallop and smoke bacon is delicious. Their bruschetta is topped with tomatoes, mozzarella, and basil drizzled with a balsamic vinegar – this pairs well with the tacos.
If you’re looking for something light and crunchy – try the hummus served with house made chips. Their potato chips are similar to a russet chip and while warm are some of the best I’ve eaten.
The Wine Gate has a full bar and so cocktails are on the menu. Their watermelon margarita with fresh watermelon is super refreshing. But I am partial to whiskey cocktails and have seen a Crowned Maple Martini that is on my list to try.
If you are looking to try an entrée take a look at their lighter fares, these can be split with other members of your party so you still have room for the next stop on our dinner tour. Burgers, salads, flatbreads and pasta dishes are all great sharing options.
When you’ve finished at the Wine Gate, cross Railroad Street and walk along the sidewalk to the Kingdom Taproom. This bar is located in the basement of an old block building, but the descent sets the tone for one of the most creative locations in the Kingdom.
Kingdom Taproom is the first of its kind in the Kingdom. Featuring a selection of beers that range from dark to light, with the line up for all 15 taps listed on a menu and on the chalkboard wall. Though beer is the feature, the menu doesn’t suffer. With inventive, filing, and beautifully plated options, it is no surprise that everything tastes fantastic. Bread with hummus and oil is served warm. The pretzel bread is another one of our favorites. These provide snacks while we settle on other options for the table.
Some of our favorite options from the Appetizer menu include the cheese plates – with rotating selections from around the area; the charcuterie board, serving fresh meats with an assortment of spreads like mustard and chutney; and the pulled pork sliders.
Actually, you’re better off just ordering a pulled pork sandwich and splitting it (or taking anything you don’t finish home for later). Their pulled pork is the best I’ve had in Saint Johnsbury, and beats out many other restaurants I’ve tried. Plenty of BBQ sauce without being too wet, there is sweetness provided by maple syrup and the spice rub from the roast are detectable in the final product. The portion size is also huge.
We like to finish our dinner tour here because there are so many different sized menu options making it easy to eat as much or as little as we like depending on what we’ve ordered from the other two locations. They also have the greatest selection of draft beers in the area. A full bar, plenty of seating, and a distinct vibe produced by the basement space, metal accents and Edison bulbs makes the space calm and appealing.
The Taproom is dark, so be careful not to get too sleepy. It also makes it easy to lose track of time. But, it is among our favorite places to eat in St. Johnsbury.
If you are looking for one more restaurant to check out, there are another two options in walking distance (check ahead for hours and plan your tour accordingly).
Cantina di Gerardo’s is just across the street from Kingdom Taproom. Offering authentic cuisine, this restaurant will cure your craving for Italian comfort food.
Or, walk back towards where you parked, cross the end of Eastern Ave. and head out of town to Anthony’s Dinner. This is a bit of a walk, but with an assortment of diner foods like poutine, burgers, and a fried fish platter, this may be just what you’re looking for at the end of the night.
Anthony’s also has an assortment of delicious pies, like every good diner should!
A little sugar and a coffee are a great pick-me-up before heading home for the night.
There are many little shops to look through between your restaurant experiences. Many have their own culinary selections for you to enjoy.
Whichever restaurants you choose to add to your dinner tour, you won’t be disappointed with your options.