By Julia Donnini
The warm woodsy interior of the Shelburne restaurant is well-known to diners around the county—but who wants to sit indoors when the sun promises warm shoulders and the breeze cools a season’s first sunburn? As usual, winter or summer, indoors or out, Barkeaters delivers.
Co-owners Jack and Carolyn Kovac of Charlotte, and Shelburnite Jennifer Sinclair started the restaurant in January of 2011, paying homage to another ridge of mountains visible from the Green Mountain State—the Adirondacks. A white birch-lined bar and settler-era furnishings complete the look. Charming, naturally, but that’s all surface, not the substance of the established eatery.
My lunch last week at Barkeaters was doubly enticing—the state was celebrating Restaurant Week and Barkeaters’ patio was newly open for the season. Not to waste either of these gifts, I ordered the $10 Restaurant Week special, a six-ounce LaPlatte beef burger with sautéed mushrooms, Swiss cheese, bacon, and the usual suspects, tomato and lettuce, and I took it outside. The meal was classic to the detail—each fry perfectly crunchy and a miniature root beer float tucked onto the plate.
Behind the scenes, current Chef Barbara Cote has braised, broiled, and blended since the restaurant’s inception. Her newest offerings promise to spruce up and lighten the current lunch menu for the summer season. Expect grilled Mahi Mahi in the fish taco, a quinoa and baby spinach salad, and a quiche du jour, among other fresh options.
Because Cote wouldn’t have me leave the shade of the red umbrellas without a dessert, I followed up the root beer float with some house-made lemon crème brulee. The satisfying crack of spoon on the flambéed sugar coat summed up my simply sweet summer meal. Barkeaters turned my traditional meal into a gourmet treat.
With Mother’s Day on the horizon, the quaint patio is furnished with all the tidings. “We just planted pansies,” Cote informed. Soon, guests will be able to follow their noses to the outdoor seating. “We’re going to plant some herbs within the next few weeks,” she continued. These small touches make the restaurant the ideal venue for a holiday. “Last year, every mom on Mother’s Day left with a seedling. This year, we’ll do something similar,” Cote said.
The May 12 celebration continues onto the menu. Cote has already dreamed up brunch—the eggs Benedict have been a past hit and suit a variety of tastes. She cooks up traditional Benedicts, some with crabcakes and red pepper hollandaise, vegetarian with portabella mushroom and pesto hollandaise, and a lox version with saffron.
Barkeaters is located at 97 Falls Road in Shelburne, Vt. They are open for lunch and dinner Tuesday-Saturday from 11:30 am-9 pm, Sunday 11:30 am-8 pm, and closed on Mondays. Special Mother’s Day hours will accommodate brunch from 10 am-2 pm and dinner from 4-8 pm. For additional information or reservations, call (802) 985-2830 or visit their website at www.barkeatersrestaurant.com.