This New England staple is a sure sign of spring
A sure sign of spring in New England? The return of the roadside dairy bar.
Forget about the return of seasonal birds or trees budding; hearty New Englanders know that spring has returned (and summer isn’t far off) when their favorite roadside haunt has set up its picnic tables and fired up the grill.
And there are plenty of roadside eats to choose from in the UpCountry. We took a trip through the Berkshires, and Bennington and Windham counties, to visit a few of our favorites. Be prepared to wait in line and get a little messy. (We assure you, these places are worth it.)
Pedrin’s Dairy Bar
1360 Curran Highway, North Adams, Mass.
The menu at Pedrin’s Dairy Bar, family-owned and operated for over five decades, still boasts the original offerings, like the fish fry — a delicious piece of the finest North Atlantic haddock delicately fried and served a roll, and homemade onion rings, deep fried to crispy perfection. While dishes like those and a few others — the clam boat and sausage grinder — have kept customers coming back for generations, Pedrin’s doesn’t shy away from expanding its offerings, adding new items each season.
In addition, Pedrin’s serves ice cream, both scooped and soft serve, with all sorts of delicious toppings to choose from.
The Bistro Box
937 S. Main St., Great Barrington, Mass.
The Bistro Box, opened in 2014, offers a mix of classic “shack favorites” and cafe fare made with fresh, quality ingredients. The menu includes a variety of sandwiches, burgers and hot dogs, as well as salads, chili and a daily handmade soup. Fried dill pickles and hand-cut fries with a variety of toppings, from toasted garlic and herbs to chili cheese, round out the menu.
And, for dessert, The Bistro Box offers ice cream cones, shakes and ice cream floats.
Top of the Hill Grill
632 Putney Road, Brattleboro, Vt.
At the Top of the Hill Grill, the menu is filled with mouthwatering barbecue and smoked treats: hickory-smoked beef brisket, pulled pork and ribs and smoked turkey, as well as grilled chicken and fresh ground burgers. In addition, the menu is stocked with Mexican and Cajun specialties — chili, gumbo, jambalaya, fajitas and quesadillas.
For vegetarians, there are tempeh wraps and burgers, as well as a variety of fresh salads and sides. The “Kids Menu” includes mac and cheese, hot dogs, sloppy Joes, burgers and chicken.
Billy T’s Northside Dairy Bar
217 Northside Drive, Bennington, Vt.
Celebrating its 25th season, Billy T’s Northside Dairy Bar is a family-owned and operated eatery offering typical roadside diner food and then some. The menu includes French fries, fish fry, burgers and hot dogs, as well as fried dough or pickles and a variety of seafood-filled rolls —seafood salad, clam (strip and whole), scallop and lobster.
Over 50 flavors of soft-serve ice cream and a great selection of hard ice cream are also available.
Snow’s Arlington Dairy Bar
3158 Vt. Route 7A, Arlington, Vt.
Snow’s, with its roadside food stand painted red and styled like a classic New England barn, is a favorite stop for locals and travelers along Route 7A. If you’re looking for an old-fashioned dairy bar with a delicious menu, this is the place. Enjoy burgers, fish fry and thin, crisp, golden fries.
Bring the whole family for lunch or dinner, but don’t forget to end with some soft-serve ice cream. If you’re feeling adventurous, ask for the chocolate dip! •