The E List

An Excruciatingly Opinionated Guide to the Shoreline

September 16, 2019
Eat / restaurants / Vintage, Colchester

A Revisit to Vintage, Colchester

vintage_burger colchester

I generally don’t write a duplicate review for a restaurant unless something massive has changed (new direction, renovation, new management), but in the case of Vintage I just can’t help but give it another shout out. I also avoid the cliche “hidden gem,” but it holds here. To call it a labor-of-love isn’t far off either.

The reclaimed diner in Colchester had just opened last August when I visited for the first time, boasting a simple menu of locally-sourced burgers and tacos. I loved the casual approach to farm-to-table dining. The decor is nothing to write home about: standard diner tables and chairs and a tiny open kitchen, but you’re not here for that. What you’ve schlepped to Colchester for is Tim Marotta’s cooking. The guy sources absolutely everything locally, down to the barbecue sauce made by a friend. And don’t get put off by the online menu, either, which features mainly burgers (grass-fed and local). It’s the daily specials, described with glee by the waitstaff, that will have you drooling.

Almost every weekend we say we’re going to head up to Vintage, then the Sunday Scaries set in, and we can’t get ourselves out of the house. But this weekend, their Instagram energized us, so we jumped in the car at 4:30pm. Yes, it’s even early for Early Bird, but we were NOT the only ones with this brilliant idea.

Then we ordered, well, pretty much everything. A stunning salad of bright arugula with roasted peaches and slender slices of Mystic Cheese’s Bow Head Blue, topped with popcorn (a genius alternative to croutons!) was bursting with flavor. There was so much umami to the side dish of corn, cut from the cob, and doused in miso and butter that I practically licked the plate. Another side of fresh roasted Italian sausage in a pool of cheese grits could have been dinner, but NO, we pushed ahead. My husband couldn’t resist the Cheese Steak: a fresh rendition of the classic sandwich made all the better with local beef, cheese, griddled onions, and a pile of skinny fries. For my entree, I chose the short ribs, boneless here, with tasty gravy, fat chunks of roasted carrots, atop a puddle of those ridiculous grits.

No, we did not save room for dessert but ordered it anyway: roasted peach crisp, topped with Dough Love’s gluten-free cookie (baked to order) and sweet cream ice cream. Yum. Then we waddled out, with a few containers of left-overs to look forward to.

Vintage is most certainly a passion project for Chef Tim. It’s BYOB, so he’s not making cash on cocktails. And all the ingredients are from local farms (not cheap, either), but it’s still well priced, imaginative and oh-so-worth the trip. Head up early, as there are only 24 seats, or make a reservation. Bring a bottle, if you so desire, and have yourself a feast. Kid-friendly, too (a fresh watermelon popsicle was the other dessert on offer).

16 Main Street in Colchester

You may also like: Our last visit to Vintage and this article on Mystic Cheese.


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