For a small town, Bennington has a fairly wide range of culinary experiences to offer. One restaurant in particular that has been in and out of the scene for the past two decades is the Bennington Station. Listed in the National Register of Historical places, the Station can be found in any Vermont guidebook as the original train depot for the town, which explains the soaring stone architecture and certainly makes it a landmark destination even before the food is tasted. The grand vaulted terminal is now the main formal dining room; the clerk’s quarters, now the well-appointed cozy barroom complete with discreet television screens; the Ladies Parlour (in those days waiting areas were segregated) boasts a roaring fireplace for passing snowy winter evenings. All this plus Chef Robert Andrew’s innovative menus is proof that the Station has definitively re-emerged as a hotspot in downtown Bennington life and a restaurant for every occasion.
With old-school pictures of Bennington in its founding years on every wall, and jazzy war-era music playing soothingly throughout the main establishment, the Station is at once elegant and homey and the menu speaks to this feeling as well. Show up in a tie with a date in a dress and heels to sit in a secluded candlelit romantic corner and share a perfectly tender fresh caught lobster paired with the chef’s selection of mellow and fruity pinot noir, or arrive in jeans for a quick fish and chips and Shipyard (one of the twelve beers on tap) at the bar after work — either way, you are welcome.
The menu is varied within the Americana tradition, which basically is the chef’s way of saying that he can prepare anything you desire and will prepare it well (indicative of his energy, creativity and confidence, all important qualities in a good chef). Surely he has his favorites that are highlighted in the extensive weekly specials menu. Reflecting the season and Chef Robert Andrew’s passion for high quality fresh food there is an abundance of choices.
The Station, like many forward thinking eateries, has joined the slow food movement meaning that where possible the ingredients are sourced locally and purchased fresh. In addition, only beef of the highest quality will do. The taste tells the story. After dinner, peruse the dessert menus which includes coffee drinks and a delectable selection of desserts.
In short, come to Vermont for the leaves and step inside the Station for a drink, pick up a menu, and prepare to be impressed.