Mark Frier and Chad Fry, proprietors of the also-honored Reservoir Restaurant & Tap Room in Waterbury, have hit a home run with their rustic-chic food and drink hotspot on the Mountain Road in Stowe. There’s local comfort food on the menu: indulgent poutine with hand-cut fries, cheddar curds and ale gravy; simple and satisfying salads and appetizers meant for sharing, such as the piquant edamame hummus plate; local meats, greens and breads; hand-tossed pizzas fired in the brick hearth, ranging from simple tomato-basil pies to truffle-oiled duck confit and brie creations. Sip a signature cocktail, cider or glass of wine, or a draft pour of Rookie’s Root Beer. The copper-veneered tap system, which conceals a unique and efficient setup of lines and kegs directly under the bar area, features 25-plus craft beers from Vermont, New England and beyond.
Elevated wood-paneled ceilings, industrial wheel-mounted lighting and high-backed benches in the center of the restaurant give an open yet cozy feel to the space, perfect for kicking back after a long day of skiing, impromptu celebrations with friends and family, or a casually romantic dinner.
A note to hungry travelers — during busy seasons in Stowe, The Bench is packed from opening to last call. No reservations are currently accepted, but it’s worth the wait, for dinner seven days a week (starting at 4 p.m.) or a weekend lunch (11:30 a.m., Saturday and Sunday).
492 Mountain Road, Stowe; benchvt.com.