It’s obvious to anyone stopping by Lost Nation’s indoor restaurant or outdoor beer garden why the brewery was this year’s winner for best casual dining in the county. There’s a fun, festive feel to the atmosphere in both sections of the brewery’s dining locales as music and conversation fill the air while visitors partake of Lost Nation’s award-winning brewskis and ever-evolving menu.
Always busy and a big hit when the doors are open — the Morrisville brewery also finished in the top three for best local brewery, best outdoor dining and best burger — Lost Nation is well-known as a great spot to stop for a beer, burger or whatever else strikes your fancy. But, Lamoille County’s best casual eatery is also the one that almost wasn’t.
Owners Allen Van Anda and Jamie Griffith had originally planned to serve meat and cheese platters with their beer, but once they got rolling they realized they had the perfect spot for a small, fun, welcoming restaurant in the back of their brewery. Aiming for a casual feel “where everyone is welcome”, they opened their 40-seat indoor restaurant and bar in June of 2013, just after they got up and running. People began packing into the new spot, so much so that within a year they knew they needed to expand.
“We were so busy that first winter, we were always turning people away,” Griffith said. So, they decided to expand that portion of their business during the summer months with a 70-seat beer garden, which opened in May of 2014.
In terms of what’s on the menu, the pair wanted to offer large, affordable servings of “messy, barbecue-style food,” prepared with as many local products as possible, Van Anda said, and the menu has been constantly evolving since 2013 as they work with head chef Eric Larson to update and add to the offerings.
Lost Nation’s beer garden is open Wednesday through Sunday, 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. between Memorial Day and Columbus Day, and the indoor restaurant is open year-round during the same hours.
— Andrew Martin