The Downtown Grocery, Ludlow VT

While in Vermont, we cancelled our swanky dinner reservations for something more low-key and came across what we thought was Cappuccino’s restaurant in Ludlow, VT. When we called to make a reservation, they told us Cappuccino’s was no longer in business (despite the awning above the door saying it was) but a new restaurant, The Downtown Grocery, was in its place. We decided to eat there anyway, and were so glad we did.

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We learned that not only was The Downtown Grocery brand new, but it was only 3 days young! The owner of TDG hailed from Mississippi and her southern hospitality lit up the teeny restaurant. She hopped around to different tables talking to people as if she had known them for years, sharing food stories – she was a journalist who loved to travel, so waited tables to fund her trips. She fell in love with food, and a chef who became her husband and restaurant co-owner, and the rest is history!

The menu is small and seasonal, but the big chalkboard boasts daily specials that are creative and mouthwatering. Funk and I ordered cocktails (a grapefruit drink for me with a salted rim), seafood entrees (one with soft homemade linguini), and a dessert each. Usually we split dessert but couldn’t decide on one, and when Funk actually orders (and finishes) his own dessert, you know it’s a good one. My only regret was not requesting that the chef whip up special vegan meals for us; we overheard the waitress tell another diner this was possible, however the seafood did not disappoint.

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Even the little touches, like the old milk bottle full of water the left on the table, and the tiny bowl of sea salt in place of a shaker, added a lot to the meal. I was so obsessed with the dining room’s paint color, I think we’re going to paint our living room in the same shade. And the owner told me about the artist who crafted their adorable coat rack – using forks as coat hooks – that I spotted as soon as I walked in.

The restaurant was packed on night #3 and I’m willing to bet it’s going to be a hot spot in Ludlow. We never knew the former restaurant Cappuccino’s, but we’re so glad to see The Downtown Grocery has taken its place.

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Website : www.thedowntowngrocery.com
Address : 41 Depot Street, Ludlow, VT

24 Comments

  1. Posted December 23, 2010 at 9:06 am | Permalink

    I just realized you are near one of my favorite spots in VT. We used to ski at Okemo every winter.

    If you get a chance, stop by The Old Town Farm Inn http://otfi.com/ in Chester. It sounds crazy but they have great sushi!

  2. Janel
    Posted December 23, 2010 at 9:31 am | Permalink

    Yes! We don’t ski but the mountain was right there in the background. Too funny that doesn’t sound like a sushi place at all! I’ll put it on the list – we’d love to go back again soon. Thanks Sarah!

  3. Posted December 27, 2010 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

    Jane you were lucky. We too went there last night for my wife’s birthday and had been there countless times under previous ownership. We were a party of 11 and waited over 2 hours and watched the tables next to us not only get served the same food but actually finish their dinner and leave. The owner, Abby tried out her Southern charm but never offered an apology but instead used condescending excuses on why they had us sitting there for over 2 hours. Had she explained what we knew, they were open just 2 weeks we might have understood but she actually insulted us with her lies to the point we got up adn left. Nice restaurant but with service and attitude like that, it won’t make it through the season.

  4. Janel
    Posted December 27, 2010 at 6:55 pm | Permalink

    Oh no! I’m so sorry you had that experience and missed out on their great food.

  5. Joash Povec
    Posted January 2, 2011 at 9:44 pm | Permalink

    This place Rocks! We loved their New Years Eve set menu so much we went back tonight to try items on their à la carte menu. Abby and Chef Rogan were great and their food was fantastic.

  6. Janel
    Posted January 3, 2011 at 7:48 am | Permalink

    Hi Joash – so jealous you got to enjoy TDG twice in the new year already! Glad you loved it as much as we did. Happy New Year!

  7. Denise
    Posted January 22, 2011 at 9:32 pm | Permalink

    We decided to celebrate Captn Bob’s BD at DTG, made a reseration for 6pm for table for 2. Not too busy at 6pm however we waited 15mins for a drink order and ended up going to the bar to place an order, never even got the milk jug H2O. Wanted to change reserv to sit at the bar however staff said it would interrupt the service. Finally after 2 drinks per person finally got salads at 7:15PM, which were delicious. Finbally got dinners at 7:45Pm which again were delicious. Dessert which was a pre-order for the BD took another 20 mins. The food (speaking as a foodie) was FAB the service and timing really had a great deal to be desired (aka one one of the worst experiences we have ever had din ing_. Spoke to owner Abby who was apologetic however never made it right. They need to hire more staff to bus tables so the servers can attend to the guests.

  8. Dick
    Posted January 23, 2011 at 5:52 pm | Permalink

    We had a great meal at Downtown Grocery last night. The place was packed and we had to wait about 15 minutes for our 8:15 reservation, but it was worth it. Food was delicious and Abby is an engaging and spirited proprietor. We ski at Okemo almost every weekend and will be back to try all the tempting dishes on the menu that we didn’t sample on our first trip. And the deserts provided a fine finish for a fun evening.

  9. Dave
    Posted February 1, 2011 at 7:57 am | Permalink

    Having travelled to the Okemo area for many years, we have tried most restaurants in the area.The Downtown Grocery is pretty near the bottom of the list.We have dined there twice and on the first trip we were disapointed but convinced ourselves it was new and we would give it another try.

    Well, we did and it was a big mistake. It is very slow and the staff does nothing to remedy it.Abby and her husband had a restaurant at Stratton and they have brought a following from there with them.I ordered a Rib Eye for $32 and it was awful.A steak for $32 anywhere should be great and served perfectly.It was tough and when Abby came over she was very condesending and said they never had a problem and acted as though I was wrong.She then gave us her history about coming from Mississippi but never offered any apology.

    We dined recently at Toscano on Beacon Hill in Boston.I had an entree that was not tender. They took it back, said they were sorry and took it off the bill. I ordered a pasta entree which was delicous and the manager came over and said it was on him to make up for the problems and invited us to have coffee or after dinner drinks on him.That is a place that understands customer service and I will return there often and send people.The Downtown Grocery needs to learn about customer service, food prep and attitude.

    When the skiers are gone after St Patrick’s Day,I believe The Downtown Grocery will follow.

  10. dave
    Posted February 2, 2011 at 9:08 am | Permalink

    We have tried The Downtown Grocery in Ludlow twice in the last month.We wrote the first time off to it’s newness and we tried it again.We found the food to be very high priced and not worth the money.The staff is not fully trained in customer service and the owner Abby is so condesending as to almost be offensive.I don’t think it is meant for Ludlow, VT.

  11. dave
    Posted February 2, 2011 at 9:27 am | Permalink

    Janel, I have tried twice to submit polite but negative reviews of The Downtown Grocery and you have rejected both.I guess you don’t want feedback.

  12. Janel
    Posted February 2, 2011 at 10:51 am | Permalink

    My apologies, Dave. I have been traveling and didn’t get to your comments in a timely manner.

  13. bobby t
    Posted February 5, 2011 at 5:55 pm | Permalink

    We had the best time & absolutely excellent & creative food….
    Dave seems like a real “douchebag” excuse my french…

  14. Babs
    Posted February 26, 2011 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

    Janel, I like your blog and we loved Downtown Grocery too!

  15. Janel
    Posted February 28, 2011 at 9:42 am | Permalink

    Thanks so much Babs! Glad you loved both 🙂

  16. Foodies from NJ
    Posted March 2, 2011 at 8:25 am | Permalink

    We are in town for another 2 days and would love to know the hours so we can give it a try. We drove by last night but it was closed (chairs even up on tables). We didn’t see any hours listed on the door. Thanks in advance.

    Foodies from NJ

  17. Janel
    Posted March 2, 2011 at 8:41 am | Permalink

    I’m sorry I don’t work for the Downtown Grocery so I don’t know their hours. Your best bet would be to call them 802-228-7566

  18. Kathy
    Posted May 30, 2011 at 5:58 pm | Permalink

    I ate at DTG this weekend for the first time. I agree that the food was excellent and nicely presented but the prices are exorbitant for Ludlow. There is food just as good at better prices nearby at the Inn at Water’s Edge on Echo Lake. If you liked DTG, I suggest you try Water’s Edge, you won’t be disappointed.

    I hope DTG gets it’s act together and figures out that the prices need to be adjusted. I would eat there again, but only if several of us share the plates and the costs.

  19. mark goldstein
    Posted June 2, 2011 at 9:59 am | Permalink

    So it’s now June 2011, enough time to work out the kinks ya’think? (this is a small place with a limited menu) and it’s clear that the folks who operate this place are either: incompetent, oblivious to the concerns of their customers, or deluded by some exalted fantasy that this is a Vt version of the French Laundry. Reservations made days in advance, even given the option of seating the two of us at the bar, meant nothing. We watched from a bench in the entry area as the walk-ins who were supposedly seated in our chairs at 5:30 (it’s now 7:30 and they were just served their main courses and getting their picture taken by the barkeep). By now we’ve polished off a half-bottle of wine, still on the bench. As the discomfort and disappointment began to build, we could have done without the clearly insincere, awkward apologies from the amped up hostess. The food was well prepared and interesting based upon Ludlow standards, but in the time we spent waiting on the bench we could’ve driven to the Inn At Weathersfield and enjoyed truly great food and true hospitality.

  20. Janel
    Posted June 3, 2011 at 2:24 pm | Permalink

    Sorry to hear you had such a bad experience. We really must have lucked out on their 2nd night open. We loved the look of the place, the food, and I had a great dinner companion! But others are leaving comments similar to yours and I hope TDG can work to meet the needs of it’s guests and diners!

  21. Ellen Ellis
    Posted July 7, 2011 at 9:32 am | Permalink

    Wow. I am really surprised by the negative reviews of the Downtown Grocery. I have been there numerous times and have yet to be disappointed. Rogan’s offerings are unfailingly delicious and oh so fresh. And while the service can be a bit pokey, we have always found the staff (and Abby) to be amiable and charming. Compared to the full service restaurant at Jackson Gore or the restaurant at Hawk (in nearby Plymouth), the prices are pretty well in line….

  22. Janel
    Posted July 7, 2011 at 10:11 pm | Permalink

    There are so many mixed reviews for TDG! We loved it and glad you did too!

  23. Ellen Ellis
    Posted July 7, 2011 at 9:33 am | Permalink

    One final thought — the house smoked meats — are sublime.

  24. Posted May 3, 2013 at 4:11 am | Permalink

    Very good blog! Do you have any tips for aspiring writers?
    I’m hoping to start my own site soon but I’m a little lost on everything.
    Would you advise starting with a free platform like WordPress or go for a paid option?
    There are so many options out there that I’m completely confused .. Any recommendations? Appreciate it!

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