It’s been months since I wrote a Staycationaurant post on the blog. If you’ll remember, staycationaurant is the corny term I created by mashing together the words staycation and restaurant. I’ve defined it as a vacation day (or days), in which I while away the hours eating at interesting or unique places. For today’s post, I think I’ve found a business that qualifies as both the former and the latter.
This past Tuesday I had most of the day to myself, and it was beautiful; a drive was in order. I started thinking about which direction to head out of Albany. Vermont came to mind. Bennington is just one hour from Albany, and if you’ve been, you know what a lovely place it is. I decided to search for restaurants in the area. I discovered The Tap House at Catamount Glass.
I wouldn’t call it a restaurant. And it’s not a bar. I wouldn’t call it a pub. I think it’s aptly named, but it’s not a house either, in spite of the paint job on the front of the building that evokes the shape of a classic A-frame.
Catamount Glass initially specialized in laboratory glass and has since expanded into promotional glassware among other items, and I got the impression they’re a small operation. The entrance leads you first into the glass shop. It’s barely twenty-five feet long, and about 8 feet wide. There’s a large selection of Catamount glassware for purchase as well as an eclectic mix of kitchen gadgets, a refrigerated case of beer and other drinks, and Vermont made foodstuffs among other items. The Tap House is to the right as you enter, and it is tiny. I think I saw seven tables. There is a door that leads out to the front patio, where I was seated, with another five tables.
Andy greeted me and introduced himself as the owner. I’ve said this before, but it bears
repeating. I love having lunch in small establishments mid-week; I’m usually the only customer there, get to interact with the staff, and many times the owner(s). Our conversation rolled around to how he got the idea for the Tap House. Apparently he was working with Magic Hat (I assume selling them glassware) and it was there that he got the idea to sell beer at the glass factory. He initially was going to do a small selection of cold hors d’oeuvres—chips and salsa, that kind of thing, but from personal experience, decided that if his customers were hanging out drinking beer, it’d be best to offer a small menu of hot appetizers.
Andy created the menu. It’s impressive that someone with no professional culinary experience can design a menu that while it won’t set the world on fire, is surprisingly good. I ordered the sweet chili sriracha wings and the pizza.
I liked the wings. They were small, and that’s fine with me. They were crispy, saucy, and spicy, and I love spicy. The only negative is the sauce was too sweet for my tastes. The blue cheese sauce tasted mayo based which I didn’t care for, but it did have chunks of blue cheese and good blue cheese flavor.
The pizza, which more closely resembles a flatbread was tasty. The end crust wonderfully crunchy. Just the right amount of cheese, with a pleasantly sweet and salty tomato sauce.
The beer selection is decently curated. Not surprisingly, there are quite a few from Vermont breweries, the others all from small craft producers. And Andy mentioned he’s continually changing the offerings on tap.
Unfortunately, I had to head back home, and didn’t have enough time to peruse the glass shop. It would’ve been nice to come home with a souvenir.