Adult Dinner Tour #2 – East Burke

By: Tabitha Armstrong | 09.30.18

Updated May 25, 2019

East Burke has become a hub for outdoor enthusiast. The introduction of Kingdom Trails has brought mountain bikers from all over the country to East Burke, making this old ski town a four season destination.

Summer time bikers, sight seers, hikers, and back road travelers find their way naturally to East Burke. Autumn fills the town with leaf peepers as the colors here are magnificent. The roads through the Burke area take you to the tops of hills and mountains for spectacular color filled vistas. Once snow flies, this area of Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom becomes a snow lovers dream. Skiing, snowboarding, snowmobiling, and numerous outdoor events keep this town busy through those long months of white.

To accommodate those enthusiasts whose hunger has been sharpened by the fresh air, local restaurants have congregated at the trail head (the bike trail that is) – making East Burke the perfect place for an adult dinner tour no matter the season (What is an ‘adult dinner’?)

Take the East Burke Dinner Tour

(Disclaimer – If you take our adult dinner tour, keep the receipts from both restaurants, and Mike’s Tiki Bar when its open, take a picture of all three showing the restaurant name and the date – dates between June 1 and Sept. 30 2019 qualify – and submit them to our Facebook Page to be entered to win NEK Restaurant Gift Certificates)

Click on the links to view our full reviews of each restaurant and their food.

pork belly appetizer at restaurant in Burke Vermont

On entering the town of East Burke, the unsuspecting eye will miss the most exciting details of the town. The main road passes a few businesses and the town buildings, the “center” of town looks like a general store and a cross roads, and then you’re headed back into the country. But that is not the case at all!

The road that splits off the main drag, right next to the general store, is the key. Take this road and the first right (not into a private driveway) is a drive leading to a large parking lot. On each side of that lot is a restaurant. To your right, directly behind the general store, is the Burke Public House and on the left is the Foggy Goggle Osteria. On the back end of the parking lot is Mike’s Tiki Bar.

We start our dinner tour at the Burke Publick House. This East Burke restaurant has a beautiful set up. The main floor is dominated by a large bar area forming a long rectangle in the middle of the room. On each of the long sides, smaller tables line the outside walls. This sets the tone for the menu – filled with traditional pub inspired options cooked to modern fine dining standards.

The full bar offers some fantastic cocktail specials – we recommend the dilly martini, your choice of gin or vodka served dirty but instead of olives and olive juice, this martin is served with a dilly bean and pickle juice. It is fantastic!

To start your tour we recommend you try the man candy, pork belly cooked in a sweet chili sauce until the sauce begins to caramelize and the pork belly is crispy.

poutine - fries and gravy with cheese curd Other crowd favorites are the poutine or the nachos. These dishes are massive – covering the plates they are served on. But these are filling dishes so be sure to share with the table or you may not have room for much else.

A few other good choices include the spinach artichoke dip served with toasted bread, the Scotch egg served with house made assorted pickles, or a delicious garden salad made with fresh (often local) produce.

If you decide to end your tour here, we recommend the clam chowder – cooked thick, more like a stew, and full of flavor; or the Pub burger made from locally sourced grass fed beef and piled with veggies and house made pickles, with the option for more add-ons.

scotch egg from the pub in East Burke Vt; Burke Publick house restaurant eat burke vtA unique feature at the Burke Public House is the MOAB – Mother of All Beef. This entrée is something a table could share, but has become a bit of a food competition to see if diners can finish the massive porter house steak.

During warmer months the outside dining area is wonderful with its own bar area, corn hole and Bache. During the winter, or if you want to escape the noise of the pub crowd, the upstairs dining areas are wonderful. Unique lofts provide two extra dining spaces that are set over the main bar in such a way that the noise is really cut down, and they are incredibly quaint and comfortable.

The second stop on our East Burke food tour is the Foggy Goggle. Located in an old house, the layout of this restaurant is fun. The bar takes up one room that also serves as the entrance to the restaurant. The other two dining areas take up what were once rooms of the house. Walls are lined with photos and art of the local area providing color to the space.

trout dish from tapas menu at the Foggy Goggle restaurant in east burke vt

The Foggy Google Osteria, is an Italian Restaurant or at least Italian inspired. And though the name brings to mind winter fun, they are open year round.

As your food tour continues here, we recommend trying the smoked salmon boats – house cured salmon served with an avocado spread on fresh lettuce boats with cucumber; or try the trout bites – cured trout served with a house made yogurt spread on cucumber slices.

Their small plate menu offers a number of other choices for your dinner tour, including bruschetta, a shrimp ceviche, and the Foggy fries  – a savory French fry with salt, garlic and Parmesan cheese.

Italian pasta dish from the Foggy Goggle restaurant in East Burke Vt

If you are ready for a more substantial meal, there are many options available, though pasta is their specialty. Their pizza menu is filled with unique and inspired combinations. I was impressed with the crust here, crispy and light.

I have tried their Pollo al Rustica – sautéed chicken in  a sherry wine cream sauce with mushrooms, garlic, and arugula. It was delicious.

A number of sandwiches, burgers, and a few steak options round out the menu. Nightly specials add another layer of flavor profiles with items like seafood chowders, smoked baby back ribs, pasta dishes, seafood specials, and fantastic desserts.

Monday nights are Mexican night, the perfect chance to sample Foggy Goggle’s take on enchiladas pork carnitas, fish tacos and so much more.

Dark and stormy cocktail from bar in east burke vt

Finish up with one of their signature cocktails, or with a great draft beer, especially on Thirsty Thursday.

On our Adult dinner tours we typically stick with small plates and appetizers so we can try a variety of foods without getting too full.

This also leaves us room to finish up our night at Mike’s Tiki Bar – this amazing little bar serves beer and wine all summer long in a beautiful Vermont, outdoor setting (the only Tiki Bar in the Kingdom, it may even be the only real Tiki Bar in the state).

The Tiki Bar in East Burke is only open through the summer and into fall foliage. We like to swing in and grab a beer or a cider to finish off our night. There are rotating food trucks on site, so if you decide to stick with apps at the other two restaurants, and find you’re still hungry, you can top off from whichever vendor is on. We’ve seen pizza trucks, a taco truck, and others featuring sandwiches and burgers.

If you happen to be taking the tour after the end of the warm season, don’t fret. Make you night a little longer and take the short drive to Burke Mountain. The View Pub is open year round and offers a number of app and dinner options. Through the winter, you can also find the Tamarak Grill but their hours change based on the season so call ahead.

Other options will soon be available in Burke as well. A cocktail bar is in the works, just across from the General Store. And of course, during normal business hours, the General Store itself offers a number of wonderful Vermont products.

If you try our East Burke Dinner Tour, we’d love to hear about it. Post photos to our Facebook page, or message us about it.