As you probably know, Boston's Hidden Restaurants occasionally takes it to the road, looking for places that are outside of the Boston area but still close enough to be done as part of a day trip from the city. And the quaint town of Chester, Vermont, which is maybe 2 1/2 hours away from Beantown, is definitely in an area just made for a day trip, as it is in a particularly scenic part of the state and not all that far from the Massachusetts border. So are there any decent restaurants in the Chester area? Yes, indeed, including a homey dining spot in the center of town with a very familiar name. But while Alice's Restaurant has little to do with the former Stockbridge, MA, place made famous by singer Arlo Guthrie, it is an utterly charming restaurant that is well worth seeking out.
Located in a beautifully restored Victorian house along Chester's picturesque common, Alice's Restaurant feels at once familiar and comfortable. Upon entering the place, diners walk into a small foyer with an old wooden staircase leading up, while the entrance to Alice's is to the right. An enclosed wraparound porch makes up the outer seating area of the restaurant, and a small front room with a handful of tables and several windows looking out toward the porch is in the middle of the space. The back of the restaurant includes another dining area with a few more tables. The overall feel of Alice's Restaurant is that of dining in someone's home, as the space has all the charm and coziness that one would expect from an old Victorian.
Alice's Restaurant is a place that has relatively limited hours, being open for lunch and dinner Wednesday through Saturday, and breakfast and lunch on Sundays. For breakfast, diners can choose from buttermilk pancakes, sourdough French toast, waffles, breakfast burritos and sandwiches, and omelettes for breakfast, and an eclectic mix of dishes for lunch. Included on the lunch and dinner menus are such items as homemade garlic sourdough bread that is dense and nicely textured and has greens on the side with a drizzling of balsamic vinegar; a variety of salads such as a sweet-and-savory spinach tostada with bacon, pecans, dried cranberries, Jarlesberg cheese, and more; homemade soups such as an apple butternut bisque that has the type of slightly spicy, comforting taste that you can only seem to find in New England; a plate of tender and fresh tri-colored cheese-filled tortellini that can either be ordered with a creamy alfredo sauce or a garlicky pesto, with blackened scallops being a nice option for this dish; fish and chips that feature a crunchy ale batter and plenty of tender sole; shrimp scampi that comes with a zesty and savory garlic, lemon, and wine sauce; and a juicy half-pound char-broiled burger on a hearty Kaiser roll that comes with rather stubby (and delicious) handcut fries. Alice's Restaurant also features a number of sandwiches and wraps, deep-fried seafood, and grilled pizza. Dessert includes various specials from day to day, including a gingerbread praline that warms the stomach with its wonderful mix of ginger and spices. The beer list at Alice's features a number of local options, which is certainly a good thing as Vermont has become one of the top states in the Northeast for craft beers.
Of all the dining spots we have featured on Boston's Hidden Restaurants, few approach the charm or small-town friendliness of Alice's Restaurant; indeed, if this place were closer to the Boston area, this writer would have no problem making it a regular haunt. But the fact that it is a bit of a haul from the city makes it even that much more special, as Alice's can surely be a part of an enjoyable day trip to this beautiful section of Vermont.
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