Driving Dinner Tour #1 – Western NEK

By: Tabitha Armstrong | 06.14.19

Scenic Driving Leads to Culinary Art at these Vermont Restaurants

Western Driving Tour: Featuring restaurants in Hardwick, restaurants in Greensboro, and restaurants in Danville.

Updated June 1, 2021

locally sourced burger from the Hardwick Street Cafe in Greensboro, VT

This tour starts in Hardwick, VT. A great cross roads for those leaving the Kingdom and heading for Montpelier, Stowe, or Burlington, we decided to start our tour here because it is the first town coming into the Kingdom from the western part of the state, and for those in the Kingdom it is the farthest west you can go.

There are only a few restaurants in Hardwick village, but what you have to choose from is pretty spectacular.

Breakfast is served at the diner (Village Restaurant) and Connie’s Kitchen, a bakery in the historic Hardwick Hotel building, serves great coffee and fresh baked goods. Lunch and dinner options are available at Village Restaurant, Positive Pie, or the Scale House.

These restaurants offer completely different experiences.

Pasta dish from Postive Pie in Hardwick VTPositive Pie serves up delicious pizzas, but pasta and appetizers are where it’s truly at on this menu. For a better idea of the dining experience here, check out our review of Positive Pie. A very comfortable restaurant with weekly specials there are plenty of affordable options that are perfect for kicking off a food tour. Depending on the time of day – start your trip here.

seared scollops from Scale House restaurant in northern VTThen swing in just down the road to the Scale House. This restaurant offers fresh seafood brought straight from the ocean. More refined dining and a snazzy atmosphere, this restaurant knows how to do it right.

Being that you are on a food tour, keep it light. They have plenty of small plates to share. (NOTE: They are launching a new menu so stay tuned.)

From Hardwick, take the back roads into Greensboro, VT. The beautiful drive may help settle the food. Then depending on what you want to do there are two fantastic Greensboro restaurants to add to your tour.

snack platter with cheese, hummus, and veggies

Looking for a show, try the Hardwick Street Café. They often have music, movies, and performances. Located in the Highland Center of the Arts, the café has access to wonderful green space, and a beautiful art gallery to enjoy before eating. They just reopened (Post Covid) for a few days a week for outdoor dining, so check in with them to see when they are open and what shows are on the calendar. You can read an older review here.

The second option is the Highland Lodge. Overlooking Caspian Lake, sit on the porch and enjoy a drink or grab a table at their well lit House bar overlooking flower gardens. Either place is magical. Just enjoy a few of their cocktails or order from their changing menu – appetizers and rotating entrees are available after 5 p.m. The Lodge is open Thurs. – Sat. nights only so plan accordingly. Check out our last review for more about the Lodge – they are under new ownership so we are excited to try out their new menu.

A third option in Greensboro is to check out the Hill Farmstead Brewery. Try some samples, and maybe buy some to go, but this award winning beer is hard to pass up. Right now they are offering curbside only – but stay tuned for lifted restrictions.

Once finished in the more rural areas of the Kingdom, head back towards Danville, VT (Take Rte. 16 to Rte. 15). There are a few great restaurants in Danville, but they are quite spread out.

The first is in North Danville and looks like a country store. Three Ponds is a deli turned restaurant and they have quite a bit to choose from. Grab a beer or glass of wine and enjoy the peaceful atmosphere.

Or continue driving into Danville Village, behind the old country store, a few buildings back is the Creamery. This restaurant is also only open at the end of the week and has a changing menu, but everything is delicious and the chef takes a fresh approach to even the most traditional dishes. We like visiting the Creamery in the summer – take a look at an older review here.

fried chicken wings in 4 flavors at Good Fella's bar in Danville, VtA third option is to drive all the way through the village and head towards St. Johnsbury. Just as you are almost to the town line GoodFella’s Restaurant is on your right. Stop here to finish up your food tour. They have a great menu with plenty to choose from: burgers, sandwiches, pastas, and salads plus full entrees like fish, seafood dishes, steaks, and more on their nightly specials board. A full bar and great cocktail line up make this overall culinary experience delightful. Take a look at an older review here – new review for their new menu in the works.

This driving tour could be set up for an afternoon, just add in some scenic driving and a few shopping stops along the way. Or throw the fishing gear in the back of the car, and stop to drop a line a few times in the many different rivers and streams (or ponds and lakes) you’ll see along the way.