Eaton’s is a tourist restaurant. Let’s state that right up front. Yes, almost anywhere in Vermont that specializes in things maple receives plenty of tourists but (and maybe we’re wrong here) we can’t imagine the local who would walk through Eaton’s doors. That doesn’t have to imply that there’s nothing good to eat under Eaton’s roof. In fact, there is, but you’ll have to choose carefully.
Pancakes and bacon are the best morning choices. Blueberry cakes are well-populated with the juicy berry and, best of all, of course, they are served with real Vermont maple syrup. You may not find your serving of syrup to be sufficient dressing for your entire allotment of pancake, but we recommend waiting until you need it before ordering extra (for extra $). You never know how much of the stack you’ll actually get through (and you may be able to cop leftovers from a dining companion more nutritionally minded than yourself). Get a side of bacon. It’s uncommonly good, thickly sliced, sweet and smoky. As we jumped around the rest of the menu, however, we had very mixed results.
Both the Grape-Nuts pudding and, especially, the maple milkshake are recommended. That milkshake disappeared quickly as it made the circuit around the table. Unfortunately, a giant biscuit was hard, dry, and dense, and a plain donut, which we thought would be the perfect base for an order of maple cream, was also dry and dense (we should have tasted it before spreading that exquisite maple cream across the top!)
Finally, a slice of maple pie: it arrived looking like a wedge of pecan pie without the nuts. That familiar soft gel of a filling promised much joy, and at first taste it was wonde… wait a minute… what’s that strange background flavor? Another bite. Yes! Garlic butter! Somehow, something garlicky had dripped or splashed onto the pie in the kitchen. Of course, our waitress was apologetic and removed the pie from our bill. We assume most people who order a wedge of this pie get it sans garlic, so we’d recommend giving it a try. Has much potential if you are a maple lover.
Eaton’s is open for breakfast and lunch, but it’s breakfast that draws the largest crowds. The building has a ramshackle, worn appearance, with lots of weathered wood and casual signage. Inside, basic hefty wooden tables and benches, again, evoke Vermont rusticity. There’s a large gift shop that you pass through between the front door and the dining room. Here they sell maple syrup in every kind of vessel, grade, size, and form known to humanity, at prices somewhat above what you’ll pay at the area sugar shacks. There are also plenty of the sorts of souvenirs and toys you’d find in the gift shop of any large tourist attraction. We’re simple folk – we were entertained.5894 VT-14 South Royalton VT 05068 802-763-8809 Eaton’s Sugarhouse on Facebook