This blog post is part of a series written by the University of Vermont Farm-to-Table Service Learning class - and it's a warming read heading into the weekend with mixed (unpleasant) weather, when an expedition to a good brunch (or lunch, or dinner) locale may be the perfect plan.
When I first arrived at the University of Vermont, I asked locals and students alike where I could find a great meal in downtown Burlington. Much to my surprise, the response was unanimous: go to the Skinny Pancake.
Skinny Pancake has been on a meteoric rise since selling their first crepe at Burlington’s Jazzfest in 2003. Since then, what was a small crepe cart has rapidly transformed into a lively restaurant on the Burlington waterfront and a second in downtown Montpelier. Skinny Pancake is committed to providing great food to its consumers with the healthiest ingredients possible. Showing their commitment to healthy and wholesome food, the founders Jonny and Benjy Adler joined their restaurant to the Vermont Fresh Network in 2006. Today, the waterfront restaurant affirms its local focus by signing on to growing contracts with local farmers each year. By buying local at every chance and storing goods through the winter, Skinny Pancake Burlington now sources a staggering 68.6% of its food from local producers. Moreover, all of its meat comes from local producers.
I visited Skinny Pancake for yet another time on a springtime Sunday morning. Walking into the restaurant, I was immediately greeted by the smell of fresh food and maple syrup. As usual, I had no idea what to get. With so many great options, the choice required some thinking. After much debate, I settled on the Cattle Rancher and, because I couldn’t resist, the Hot Apple Crispy. The Cattle Rancher is a delicious crepe filled with fresh local greens, caramelized onions, cooked red peppers, Vermont Cabot cheddar, and Boyden Farm grass fed sirloin tip. Further, the Hot Apple Crispy is a delightful heap of Vermont apples, honey, cinnamon, whipped cream, and sugar, all folded into a crepe.
After a small wait, our smiling server arrived with all our food. Just as expected, it was great. To begin, I ate my Cattle Rancher crepe. The greens were so fresh you could taste it and the crepe was a wonderful compilation of sweet and savory flavors. Every bite melted in my mouth. The generous portion of the crepe left me perfectly full, yet, for my Hot Apple Crispy, I was able to find some more room. My dessert wonderfully combined the sweetness of Vermont honey with the tart flavor of fresh sliced apples. I savored every bite and, because I was feeling generous, I shared much of the crepe with my friends.
But it’s not just me who so strongly supports Skinny Pancake Burlington. I did an interview with another happy customer at the Skinny Pancake to see what calls others to the fine establishment. For my interview across the table, I talked with a man named Dave who was up in Burlington from Middlebury. I asked him what his favorite dish was, but he also struggled to decide. Finally, he settled his decision and told me that his favorite dish was anything off the Sweet Classics crepe section. During the interview, he also mentioned that he has been coming to Skinny Pancake Burlington for around four years. When I asked him why he comes so often, he told me that, “I am always happy to go out of my way to frequent here because of its local focus, local ownership, and great food”. He finished by telling me that the Skinny Pancake Burlington is a great Vermont connection that he is sure to visit each time he is in the area.
I also did an interview across the counter with a server to see how the employees feel about Skinny Pancake. The server told me that she loves working at Skinny Pancake Burlington for two reasons. First, she loves working at the restaurant because of its local focus. She strongly supports Skinny Pancake’s mission to buy local at every opportunity, whether that be lettuce, beef, beer, or something else. Second, she told me that she loves working at the Skinny Pancake Burlington because “everyone on the staff is very happy and very excited to put out healthy, tasty food”.
Just like many others in Northern Vermont, the Skinny Pancake Burlington is one of my favorite restaurants to visit in downtown Burlington. Now, when tourists ask me where they can find a great place to eat downtown, I too answer: go to the Skinny Pancake.
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