Tavern II (South Burlington, VT)

I began to question my title format toward the end of my time in New Castle County.  Argilla was monthly, so Newark popped up a lot to begin with, but many of the restaurants I was visiting were also Newark places.  Anything catering to the University of Delaware would have been Newark, certainly.  I began to worry about it—just a little.  Now that I’ve shifted my surroundings, I have a whole new set of town names with which to work, and we all know variety is the spice of life.  Maybe next week I’ll go all the way to Vergennes, just for the more French-looking town name (even though you pronounce both the g and the s: ver-jenns).

South Burlington is actually its own distinct city, despite sounding like a portion of Burlington.  It’s the second-largest municipality in Vermont (after Burlington), and home to a great deal of commercial activity: the Magic Hat Brewery (article coming soon!), the Ben & Jerry’s corporate headquarters, the University Mall, and a great many car dealerships, to name a few.  Of note this week is a pleasant little sports bar on Shelburne Road, the main thoroughfare through the bulk of South Burlington (not counting I-189).  The folks in charge of Church Street Tavern, in downtown Burlington, also run Tavern II.  The logo is the same (it’s the spire on the church at the top of Church Street), and the servers wear the same uniform, so it’s a neat bit of cohesion despite the distance.

If I were a diehard fan of a sport (any sport), I’d strongly consider making Tavern II my33091388_10204612283424134_8204556067112222720_n go to hangout on gamedays, provided not too many other people share my thinking.  It’s not the most capacious dining room, though the patio is fairly sizeable, but its location just may mean the crowds gather elsewhere.  The beer list is full of Vermont beers, and a fair number of tap handles means draft variety, not to mention their selection of bottles and cans.  Mondays and Wednesdays are special days at Tavern II: half price wings on Monday and half price burgers on Wednesday, and I intend to head back and take advantage of both of those specials.

I know the wings are worth returning for.  Regular readers will know I have strong opinions about Buffalo sauce; after all, it’s not hard to tell when a restaurant is just using Frank’s Red Hot.  As a base it’s fine, but it’s not the right flavor for a good, proper plate of wings.  Tavern II’s wing sauce is wonderful, with hints of a flavor I couldn’t quite place.  the pieces are big and meaty, and come in portions of six or twelve.

33081612_10204612283544137_1648357054626136064_nMy sandwich was less enjoyable.  It’s partially my fault.  I ordered an open-faced steak sandwich knowing full well that I’d have to eat it with a fork and knife, which I don’t like doing.  The seven ounce NY strip steak is cooked to order then served on a baguette with tarragon mayo and a side of lettuce, tomato, and onion.  The trouble was that, even with a steak knife, I couldn’t cut all the way through the sandwich without smushing the bread, and getting bread and meat on my fork at the same time proved problematic as well, not to mention the vegetables.

Still, I fully intend to go back to Tavern II.  The specials are nigh irresistible to me, infatuated as I am with wings and burgers.  However, there’s another reason, too.  Looking at the draft list online as I wrote this article, I discovered there’s a “Tavern II Ale” on the list.  I was in the mood for a mixed drink when I showed up, so I forgot to examine the beer list closely.  Keep an eye on the Little Blue Umbrellas Instagram (@littleblueumbrellas), because when I go back, I’m definitely trying it.  I’ll tell you all about it then.

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