I found myself in Brattleboro, VT around lunch time and felt it was time to revisit an old favorite, the Top of the Hill Grill. I pulled in at 12:15 with a lunch crowd beginning to form. There were about 8 folks in line prior to myself and I was ordering in less than 7 minutes.
The staff I had contact with were young, but well seasoned, smiling and attentive. I asked for a signature dish, and was promptly provided with a list of top sellers including Burnt Ends, Fajitas and a fish dishes. I was quickly impressed by her knowledge of what's popular, rather than the typical teenager response that, "It's all good.". I had been eyeing the Gumbo and jambalaya on the menu, but really wanted to try the dishes that have helped make them successful.
Playing cards were handed out as numbers which were called out quickly over a raspy pa so you had to pay a bit of attention to hear your call. My order was up in less time than I'd waited in line, it was worth both waits.
When my 5 of clubs was called, I picked up my dish. It looked delish! The server asked if I wanted BBQ sauce, and while the dish looked like it didn't require it, I didn't want to miss anything if the sauce had something to add to it. Let me tell you, the dish was fine as is, and you won't need the sauce.
While I enjoyed my lunch, I'll add that I stopped here with a bit of nostalgia in my heart. I hadn't been there in probably 16-17 years, when it was just a trailer and a couple of picnic tables, with great food at an earnest price. Back then I'd take my plate back across the street where I worked and eat at my desk, as the scenery around the place was rather drab and uninviting.
WOW! How this place has changed! The food is still great, but the ambiance is phenomenal! Many of tables of varying sizes, in various locales, on the ground, or on the deck overlooking the wetlands surrounding the West River, in the sun, in the shade, or protected from rain beneath a tent, load of seating, loads of options. I happened to be there on a mild sunny day and chose a shady spot beneath a tree on the deck. The variety and ambiance of the place actually made the view--beautiful. I've seen that view many times before the improvements, and would've described it then as the mosquito ridden armpit of Brattleboro. Not now, It's highly relaxing, and breathtaking, and my meal was not disturbed by insects. With the highway within a couple 150' from the tables, everything was set up in a way that made it look completely secluded from a busy state highway.
When it was all over, I was back on the road within 30 minutes of stepping out of my car door. I felt I enhoyed my lunch in a timely fashion, and took half of the lunch back home to share with my wife, as we found ourselves nibbling on morsels throughout the rest of teh afternoon.
I truly salute the management of this operation for takign a small roadside stand and creating a eating vacation destination just off of Putney road. I've still got that hankering for Jambalaya, and can't wait to find myself in Brattleboro Again!
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