There’s almost always a good reason to go to a great cafe. Whether you want to spend time with a good book, do some computer work (but not at home, and definitely not at your office), meet with friends, or just change your scenery, we’re big fans of our local cafes.
Here’s a list of a few of our favorite cafes in Central Vermont.
The recently expanded Capitol Grounds is a Montpelier staple. It’s located a block from the state house, and a block from Main Street, making it super easy to get to from anywhere downtown. Capitol Grounds is open for breakfast and lunch (great sandwiches!), and sells baked goods as well as any coffee or tea beverage tha you want.
In the warmer months, they offer outside seating, so you can relax, chat with a friend, and talk with lots of other friends as they’re going on with their day.
The sizes of the drinks are noteworthy too: Conservative, Moderate, and Liberal. Starbucks sizes still make no sense to me. This I get.
I dare you to try to pigeon hole Rabble Rouser. The sign out front gives you a hint at its breadth–coffee, chocolate, spirits, florist. Yes, it’s all of those. It’s also granola, art, and baked goods, and it’s all wrapped up in part bristly, part tongue and cheek activism.
Of course, you can go to Rabble Rouser to grab a coffee or a gift. But why not stay for a bit and see what moves you?
Main Street in Barre is flanked by two great cafes, and they couldn’t be further apart in appearances. Espresso Bueno’s dark and intimate decor works surprisingly well for business coffee breaks as well as for dates.
It’s a fun place to go, and the staff genuinely seem to like working there. I’ve spent a couple hours at a time working there, and I’ve always run into friends stopping in for coffee or a sandwich.
If you’re looking for something more open and airy, then check out Delicate Decadence. The coffee is good (so are the prices), and the baked goods are made right on site. The kitchen is front and center, and open. It’s fun to watch the hustle and the skill of the people prepping, baking, decorating, cleaning, and everything else that goes into all of those delicious baked goods.
I’m a little biased toward Carrier Roasting, as our Northfield office is right next door. The team there has built a strong coffee-centric community, and there are loyal devotees that come in regularly.
Fun fact–Carrier Roasting doesn’t sell drip coffee. That threw me off, with my midwestern roots. But they do make fantastic espresso drinks, and it turns out that a cafe Americano is better than any drip coffee you’ve ever had.
Carrier Roasting roasts its own coffee beans, and you can find them available for sale/pickup at a variety of sites in Barre, Montpelier and beyond.
This place just finished a gorgeous renovation/expansion. Stop in and enjoy the expanded seating area and the beautiful new space. (Oh, and there’s a brewery right next door as well. Just saying…)
I know we said 5 but we just couldn't leave this one out!
Let’s start with what Stowe Street Cafe isn’t. It isn’t on Main Street, so you have to pop over one street. But it’s exploring those 50 feet.
What it is is a fun, art-filled cafe staffed by people who seem to like coming to work. No joke, I once heard two baristas talking deeply about the differences between a sine curve and a cosine curve. Then they laughed their way through a conversation about a derivative. It was hilarious, and endearing, even if I couldn’t quite get the cobwebs off my high school calculus.
The coffee is great, the food is great, and there’s easy parking. Plus, bonus! Stowe Street Cafe is right next door to Bridgeside Books. The classic combination of a bookstore and a cafe works well, and is (thankfully) vastly different from the corporate visioning of bookstore/cafe combos that Barnes and Noble brought to the world. In case you’re wondering, an employee of the bookstore wandered in to ask a question, and got involved in the same math conversation as the cafe folks. Again, endearing.
There you go, a quick list of some of our favorite cafes in Barre, Montpelier, Northfield, and Waterbury. You can’t go wrong with any of these!