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Nutty Steph’s

Middlesex, Vermont

By Devin Bramhall | January 05, 2012

Nutty Steph’s

Much like an old school speakeasy, “Bacon Thursdays” at Nutty Steph’s in Middlesex caters to forbidden desires.

The Chalkboard Alerts You to the Day's Specials

It’s an evening of sensual pleasure in which the chocolaterie/granola manufacturer is transformed into a family friendly European-style pub featuring live music, beer and wine, chocolate, and the evening’s namesake: bacon.

Because of the shop’s small size, the setting is intimate, casual, and displays a healthy dose of flair. The walls are painted yellow and the windows covered in red and yellow striped tapestries. Lighting is largely provided by white holiday lights strung haphazardly through chocolate cases and weaved into merchandise shelves.

The clock on the wall behind the bar is permanently stopped at 4:20. There are the decorative plates piled high with decadent chocolates, and in the back corner, pianist John Luce keeps the energy lively with old ragtime tunes on a small box piano.

The highlight is the made-to-order bacon, served on small platters with optional dipping sauces (chocolate, caramel, honey, or maple) for a dollar each.

Choose from Pepper Rubbed ($3), Fruitwood Smoked ($4), or go for farm-fresh varieties from Vermont’s own Daniel’s Family Farm ($4) and Tangletown Farm ($7). If the decision is too difficult, order the sampler ($8), which comes with caramel and chocolate dipping sauces.

Sizzling Bacon

For those looking for lighter (or non-carnivorous) fare, Nutty Steph’s also serves a snack platter that comes with a baguette, two cheeses, apricots, pistachios, and a red pepper dip ($9).

The L-shaped bar at Nutty Steph’s doubles as a chocolate case on one side filled with truffles, chocolate bars, bonbons, dipped fruit, and pizzelles—all made in-house by chocolatier Josie Green.

All their homemade chocolates are produced using Ecuadorian chocolate imported directly from Quito, where it is roasted, hulled, and conched at Ecuatoriana de Chocolates. According to Nutty Steph’s owner, Jaquelyn Rieke, working with the actual coco bean growers was part of her vision.

“I wanted to find a source that I could buy directly from and have a direct relationship with the country that is actually growing the coco beans. I wanted to find a source where we could put the money directly back to where it grows.”

Among the tastiest selections are the spicy cayenne dark squares ($2), fig in the dark ($1.50), caramel explosion ($1.50) and pistachio chocolate toffee ($32/lb).

The last two were recommendations by the extremely knowledgeable, friendly staff. For the more adventurous chocolate lover, I recommend the earl grey truffle ($2) and the bacon and smoked sea salt chocolate bar ($5).

A Packed House

Most notably, Nutty Steph’s has a reputable, yet inexpensive beer list, with most of the microbrew bottles ranging from only $2–$5. This includes popular brands like Smuttynose, Sierra Nevada, as well as North Coast, Rogue and a gluten-free beer produced by Bard’s Tale. Among the large bottles are a 22-ounce Rogue Chocolate Stout and 17-ounce Samuel Smith’s oatmeal stout.

The wine list includes many Vermont winemakers such as Lincoln Peak, Shelburne Vineyard and Artesano. In addition to reds and whites, there is a short list of sparkling wines, meads, and ciders. The Argento Malbec ($7) and the Marsanne ‘07 Crozes-Hermitage ($9) pair the nicest with the bacon and the chocolate.

A surprising highlight of the night is the occasional serenade provided by bacon chef, B.O.B (as he likes to be called). When an order is placed from the song menu, B.O.B emerges from the kitchen in his pink bacon apron, army boots, and cut-off t-shirt to play it on his banjo. The performances always include hefty stomping, cheering, and tips thrust in to his apron.

From the bacon platters and chocolates, to the upbeat piano music and occasional serenades, Bacon Thursdays is an evening of indulgence and enjoyment. Go share in all the sweet, savory stimulation, then leave with a heavy belly and light heart.

TELEPHONE(802) 229-2090

Nutty Steph’s
961C US Route 2
Middlesex, VT 05602


Tues – Sat: 10AM–6PM

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