STOWE – Skiers and snowboarders can choose from a few refreshed restaurants at Spruce Peak thanks to a multimillion-dollar renovation.
What is the place?
It’s two places, actually: Restaurants in the Spruce Peak community are $6 million out of a three-year, $12 million renovation at the Lodge at Spruce Peak. (Spruce Peak and the adjacent Stowe Mountain Lodge are separately owned but operated jointly.)
The Lodge’s two restaurants reopened on December 17 with new names and identities. Alpine room replaces Solstice and features a menu that executive chef Sean Blomgren calls “classic Vermont, local, farm-to-table.” Selections from the 138-seat restaurant include the Spruce Burger made with Vermont-raised wagyu beef, a Vermont cheese charcuterie plate and a popular Solstice leftover, a crispy Brussels sprout appetizer.
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Tipsy Trout replaces the Hourglass après-ski bar/lounge and is what Blomgren, who oversees both restaurants, calls an “upscale New England coast-themed restaurant.” The menu at this 130-seat restaurant includes a raw oyster bar, sashimi and mains including a New Bedford fisherman’s stew, grilled swordfish steak fries and a bucatini pasta dish with a creamy uni sauce . (Blomgren notes that “uni” is a much better sounding name for what the substance is – “sea urchin gonads”.)
What’s the story behind it?
Blomgren trained at Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Boston and worked in major cities as well as resort towns such as Aspen and Charleston, South Carolina. He came to Spruce Peak in 2017.
“It’s like a hotel restaurant,” he told Alpine Hall on Thursday, “and Tipsy Trout is more of an independent restaurant that’s just in a hotel.”
“Spaces definitely have more identity and personality,” Blomgren said. “Having clear concepts allows us to better manage customer expectations.”
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The accommodations and restaurants opened when The Lodge did in 2008 and were in need of renovations, according to Anderson James, a Stowe native and marketing director for The Lodge at Spruce Peak.
James said the days of dark wood dining rooms are over, so Solstice’s heavy palette has given way to high windows and ceilings and white walls that add lighter tones to wood accents. and stone from Alpine Hall. The dining room now caters more to families and large groups rather than Solstice’s fine dining focus.
“Alpine Hall is a shared common experience,” said James, who ran Solstice for a few years.
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Tipsy Trout has a more homey feeling with lower ceilings and an urban living room vibe. The music playlist on a recent night was up-to-the-moment dance music, compared to familiar 80s pop earlier in the day at Alpine Hall.
Most diners, especially during ski season, are Spruce Peak residents and guests of The Lodge, but locals on day trips often stay for lunch at Alpine Hall, according to Ian Pomerville, Director of Catering for The Lodge at Spruce Peak. . James noted that local and regional tourist traffic has been particularly strong with people’s mobility limited by the ongoing pandemic.
The pandemic has caused problems with the opening of new restaurants. Blomgren said stainless steel fixtures were hard to come by due to COVID-related supply chain slowdowns. Labor shortages have also made things difficult.
“I wouldn’t have imagined two years ago how much we would have to pivot,” Pomerville said.
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“It’s been a challenge, for sure,” James said, adding that restaurants benefit from a core of experienced managers and servers.
Pandemic or not, Blomgren said it was great to reinvent both restaurants.
“It’s an exciting time when you have to write so many menus from scratch,” he said.
Times and place
Alpine Hall/drunken trout, The Lodge at Spruce Peak, 7320 Mountain Road, Stowe. Alpine room: 7am-10.30am (breakfast), 11am-3pm (lunch), 3pm-5pm (after-ski), 5pm-10pm (dinner) every day; drunk trout: 3pm-5pm (after ski, raw bar and sushi only), 5pm-10pm (dinner), 10pm-midnight (night service, sushi only) daily. (802) 760-4735, www.sprucepeak.com/dine/
Contact Brent Hallenbeck at [email protected] Follow Brent on Twitter at www.twitter.com/BrentHallenbeck.