Winooski: Little City, Big Flavor
Recently called the ‘Brooklyn of Burlington’ by the Montreal Gazette, Winooski has quickly transformed from what it was when I began school at St. Michael’s in the fall of 2012. At that time it was right on the cusp of transforming from being ‘Burlington’s poorer neighborhood’ according to a story from VPR, to becoming the vibrant town it is today.
Exactly a mile away from campus, it is an easy walk, bike, or bus ride down the hill to a small town that is now bustling with innovative eateries, bars, boutiques and music venues.
After getting out of class any day of the week, or when you have time on the weekend, head down into Winooski and explore all it has to offer.
Follow me on my journey through Winooski. The total walking distance between the businesses below is 0.4 miles.
Birdfolk Collective 3:30 p.m.
17 E Allen St.
Start your afternoon exploring a small boutique, Birdfolk Collective, which Nicole Carey opened this past May via a Kickstarter. It’s a small store, with a wide range of handmade goods from independent designers. Items include eclectic gifts, clothing, lip balm, jewelry, decorations, among other practical things like soap and knives.
Waterworks Food + Drink 4:00 p.m.
20 Winooski Falls Way
After exploring Birdfolk Collective at the top of Winooski Circle, go down towards the water for a scenic walk along the Winooski River, nestled between 20th century mill buildings. For a pre-dinner drink, try Waterworks.
Nestled into the riverfront, sits Waterworks Food + Drink on the lower level of Champlain Mill No. 4 which was built in 1912 as part of American Woolen Company’s expansion. Opened in December 2014, the interior of Waterworks plays upon this industrial history with its modern, yet rustic atmosphere. With a creative, ‘New American’ menu, Waterworks has quickly become a go-to place in Winooski to grab a bite to eat with family or coworkers, or a local craft beer or innovative cocktail with friends.
Sitting at the bar, located in the center of the dining room, you get a fantastic view of the open kitchen, the cozy sitting areas with couches, as well as the Winooski River flowing practically under the building.
For an aperitif, I recommend Cascade Winds, one of Waterworks original cocktails. Served in a chilled tin mug, Dobra Tea’s ‘Eastern Winds Blend’ is mixed with Luksusowa Vodka, fresh lemon juice, fresh pineapple juice and a ginger garnish.
Not looking for a drink? Waterworks has a great selection of apps to share from flatbreads to pork meatballs to garlic hummus and naan.
Misery Loves Co. 5:00 p.m.
46 Main St.
A fan of inventive (and maybe even a little weird) American/ethnic fusion foods? Misery Loves Co. is the place for you. With limited dining room space, act fast to get a seat especially if you’re going in large numbers. Reservations can be made in advance.
Misery Loves Co. opened in 2013 and focuses on creating a new dining experience. Upon entrance, you are greeted with an open kitchen, where you can see all of the food being prepped, and the bar. Walk through this area and go to the left is the intimate dining room furnished with black wooden tables and white walls.
You can order a bunch of small plates to try many options like goat loin, hanger steak or scallops, or share a large dish with friends: pick a meat (fried chicken, braised short ribs or smoked prime rib) and it comes with starters and the choice of two sides. All food is locally sourced, so the menu changes often.
Scout & Co. Before 7:00 p.m.
1 E Allen St.
This corner spot in Winooski is the second location of Scout & Co.’s three current locations since opening in 2014. After dinner walk 100 yards up the circle for a mean maple latte or to grab a cone of avant-garde ice cream for dessert. Flavors vary weekly as they are supplied from local creameries like Kimball Brook Farms and Kingdom Creamery. When Scout doesn’t make the ingredients on their own, they source them from local farms such as Adam’s Berry Farm and Half Pint Farm.
Flavors include vanilla oak, black current cucumber shiso sorbet, honey lime chocolate chip, beet marmalade black walnut, candied plum black walnut, sweet pea and apple miso.
Hurry though! Scout closes at 7:00 p.m. and you do not want to miss their ice cream (even in the increasingly cold weather)!
Mule Bar 7:30 p.m.
38 Main St.
Travel back down past Misery Loves Co. to Mule Bar, a watering hole with a woodsy atmosphere. Between their average of five tap changes per day (showing off breweries like Hill Farmstead) and their unique cocktails such as the Winooski Circle, your mouth will not run dry. For a non-alcoholic option, opt for Rookies Ginger Beer, a locally made craft soda.
If you’re not full yet, Mule Bar, a self-proclaimed gastrobar, also specializes in serving ‘craft food,’ ranging from poutine ($10) to their ‘Mule Bar Burger’ ($15).
The Monkey House 8:30 p.m.
30 Main St.
When you’re ready to go, the next destination isn’t too far. Right next-door is The Monkey House, a local music venue. They have shows nearly every night, often starting at 8:30pm. Shows are relatively cheap as well: 21+ entrance is usually free, for 18+ entrance is usually around $5 at most.
They also have an impressive, local craft beer tap list. Like the Rookies Ginger Beer soda you got at Mule Bar? It’s on tap here as well.
The Monkey House is extremely supportive of local bands and comedians. If you’re looking for a venue, shoot them an email via their website.
On November 11th, The Monkey House is also hosting an evening of Film Trivia (5:30-7:30pm) to benefit the Vermont International Film Foundation. It is part of The Monkey House’s ‘Winooski Wednesdays Quiz for a Cause,’ a monthly themed trivia night benefitting different non-profits.
*Monetary expense estimates are taken from Yelp.com
This article was originally published in the Saint Michael’s College award-winning newspaper, The Defender, in the Fall of 2015.