Comfort Food with a Unique Spin at the T-Bar Restaurant in Newport, VT| 01.21.22
Why You Should Go: Delicious Flavors, Unique Dishes, Family Friendly, Great Drinks, Great Takeout, Consistant
Some Things You Should Know: Limited Seating; Can Be Loud,
Tucked behind the strip mall facade of Waterfront Plaza is a restaurant gem you just have to try!
The T-bar restaurant in Newport, VT has become a local gathering place where grabbing a coveted table can sometimes be a tall order.
We’ve loved the T-bar since they first opened. The atmosphere is comfortable with a fun blend of rustic and industrial – heavy woods paired with metal, open Edison light bulbs contrasted against a rolling barn door and tables with bases made from barrels.
There is a feel to the place, an atmosphere, from the moment you walk in the door.
You’re quickly greeted by the staff that all seem genuinely happy to be there. That energy is contagious, and that is all before you even see the menu.
Before I dive into the food, which is fantastic I must say right out front, I want to note that the involvement of the owner, Tina Bliss, is truly felt in this place.
Tina has been the owner of Hoagies, another Newport, VT restaurant, for many years, and all of that restaurant experience was put to good use when she planned the T-bar expansion. She is often seen behind the bar and waiting tables, a recognizable face and flare that has helped establish the tone and atmosphere that is seeing great success even through Covid.
Another area of note that really has impressed me is that when remodeling the space to open the T-bar, thought was put into the needs of customers. Knowing that people would be coming in with kids, or maybe grabbing a working lunch, or even just spending hours at a table watching a game, charging stations were built into the tables. I have used this feature many times. It is often my go to lunch spot when I have work to complete, or waiting area when I have time between appointments.
The Menu At The T-Bar
As great as the space is, and as wonderful as the staff is, the true star is of course the food!
At this restaurant in Newport, VT the menu is inspired and a lot of thought was put into these recipes. Pulling in a Southwestern Flares, every dish is hearty, fillings, and truly comfort food.
From many dishes featured fried chicken or blackened chicken. To the many options that have a little bit of heat, ever dish has a unique flare that sets it apart from anything similar in the area – and there are plenty of options that can’t be found except on this menu.
There are two dishes that we can’t rave enough about. And those are the Smothered Tater-tots and the Crispy Chicken Sandwich.
The Smothered Tater-tots were the most surprising thing to me. First, I don’t think I had eaten tater-tots since my school days before trying this dish. But when we saw it on the menu, it caught our curiosity. Because of the description, I was thinking that this dish may be more like a poutine – and in a way it is, but it is a culinary upgrade on the simpler traditional dish offering many layers of flavor over a simple ingredient (tots).
Crispy tots are covered in a house-made cheese sauce and heavily sprinkled with bacon (that was enough to make me order them). But then the dish is sprinkled with fresh scallions and drizzled with a house special – the smokehouse sauce! Each flavor is distinguishable in every bite.
One order of these is enough for a table. My husband and I often finish an order over 2-3 sittings, meaning we always take leftovers home.
Moving on to the Crispy Chicken Sandwich. My husband ranks this as the best chicken sandwich he has ever eaten, and that is saying a lot! It is a unique option that you can’t find at any other restaurant in Newport, Vt.
Again, there is a lot of attention to detail in this sandwich, elevating it above what you’re expecting when you take that first bite.
Starting with a marinated chicken breast, the kitchen breads and fries it in a high-pressure fryer sealing the moisture in. This chicken is then topped with ham, Cheddar cheese, and that signature T-bar smoke-house sauce we mentioned before. Everything is served warm and paired with house made potato chips.
We’re always preaching Simple Food Done Well – and this sandwich is just that!
Other items on the menu that are worth a try include the bruschetta, the comfort bowl, and the Cajon shrimp quesadilla (when it is on special).
The bruschetta is again a huge portion for an app and makes a great table share. Italian bread is toasted and covered with a garlic herb spread. Chopped tomatoes, parmesan and Mozzarella cheese are then piled on top and the whole thing is drizzled with balsamic vinegar. And best of all, they use plenty of garlic! (Warning: It is strong on the garlic which is great for garlic lovers like us, but be warned). One or two pieces are all you’ll need before you start feeling full.
The quality of this dish does depend on the tomatoes, and in the winter all tomatoes can be a little on the sour side due to shipping. But, every time I’ve tried this dish it has tasted wonderful, and though I normally don’t eat many fresh tomatoes in the winter (I hold out for those summer vine ripened beauties) I do order this dish frequently no matter the time of year.
In keeping with the hearty, comfort food theme the Comfort Bowl is a stick to your ribs meal that I think most people will be drawn to. A spin on a Shepherd’s or Cottage Pie, this dish starts with mashed potatoes layered with sweet corn, fried chicken chunks, and cheese. This is then topped with fried onion straws for flavor and texture and the whole dish is then covered in house-made chicken gravy.
What’s not to love?
There is so much on this menu making it a great family restaurant, and one you can return to and still try something different. Burgers, salads with T-bar twists, chicken pot pie, fried seafood, their spin on chicken tenders, baked mac and cheese, fried chicken dinners with many side options, and their weekly specials that rotate in seasonal ingredients, blackened chicken, fresh seafood, and more… all full of flavor with a focus on home-cooked flavors.
The T-Bar Drink Menu
I can’t end this review without mentioning their bar!
The bar itself dominates the dining room, and their drink menu is fantastic. Traditional and signature cocktails are the stars, but their bartenders know how to make drinks. Featured specials and again that T-bar spin on classics make trying new drinks as much a part of the dining experience as experimenting with the menu.
I love their cosmos, but always ask the wait staff or bartender what they recommend or what their special is and I typically try that. I haven’t been disappointed yet!
Overall, we’ve always enjoyed our meals at the T-bar. Their food is great for takeout as well, holding up to the car ride home.
And that blend of a welcoming atmosphere, a community space, a fun and entertaining staff, and simple but delicious food has made an impression on the Kingdom, and it’s one I think with be sticking around for a while.
If you haven’t tried the T-bar restaurant in Newport, VT add it to your list for the next time you’re in town.
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