Casual Eats

The Lake House Pub & Grille, Bomoseen, Vermont

I remember the first time I stepped inside the Lake House Pub & Grille, located on Route 30 overlooking Lake Bomoseen. I was meeting a friend from Killington nearly 10 years ago, and I fell hard for the little hole in the wall with stunning views of the lake, which has been operating for 85 years. It had a welcoming local’s vibe that I always search to find. It’s also one of the only restaurants and gathering places in the tiny lakeside community of Bomoseen, which is situated on the lake of 2,400 acres, sandwiched between Middlebury and Castleton.

I had been back to the Lake House on Lake Bomo a handful of times since my initial visit. The beautiful views remained untouched, but the food, service and interior had gone downhill. It felt dated and unloved. The Lake House was in desperate need of drastic updates, a new menu and someone to breathe new life into the historic space.

The Lake House Pub & Grille’s Transformation
If I didn’t know any better, I would have guessed Jon Taffer and Gordon Ramsay paired up to transform the pub to one of the best lakeside dining options in Vermont. Instead, three Vermont couples with local roots, hospitality expertise and some serious construction and interior design skills purchased the property at auction in November 2015 after the original owners decided to retire. The six partners “have been coming to the Lake House [their] entire lives and wanted to make sure that this gem of an establishment had a bright future.”

Renovations on the Lake House begun immediately after the sale and continued through the spring. The pub re-opened mid-May in 2016 with a wholly new look—a truly stunning makeover. The owners managed to preserve—and enhance—much of the nautical charm that originally defined the Lake House, while modernizing the interior to create a warm vibe. The 180-degree westerly views of the lake are emphasized, and the once seasonally operated restaurant is now a year-round lake-side destination(!).

Visiting The Lake House Pub & Grille
I’m a sucker for being on the water, good food and eating outside, so a few weeks after the Lake House opened their doors, I stopped by for an al fresco lunch. Although the property looks largely the same from the road, the inside renovation is remarkable.

The warmth of a Vermont lodge meets a lakeside retreat inside the Lake House with subdued natural hues on the walls, an oversized U-shaped wooden bar and nautical-inspired antiques. Cushy booths with cozy pillows and wooden tables face outward toward the lake, giving even more restaurant-goers an unobstructed view of the lake (you can’t beat a Bomoseen sunset, trust me). Lining the walls are old photos of the Lake House, which capture the history and essence of this local’s hotspot.

In addition to the surface changes, the overhaul of the building also included moving the kitchen to the basement level to create a private dining room, and more seating inside for rainy days. Although the deck didn’t need much renovation, there is all new outdoor furniture for more seating and cover from the sun. Whether you sit inside or out, the emphasis is Lake Bomo and the expansive views overlooking the lake.

Dining at the Lake House Pub & Grille
The Lake House boasts 12 beer taps, an extensive cocktail list and a menu that I would define as “crab shack meets Vermont farm-to-table,” with the type of food you crave after a day on the lake. The fare isn’t outrageous by any means, but it is perfectly suited for its lake location. Everything I tried was tasty and fresh and delivered to our table with a smile from the attentive server.

The Lake House is priding itself on a seasoned staff that wants to make your experience memorable and keep you coming back. Jon Gatewood, executive chef of the Dorset Inn and Barrows House in Dorset, Vermont, has brought on chef Kraig Willis to lead the culinary efforts, while Aimee Miller, formerly of Cafe Provence in Brandon, is ensuring a friendly and customer-centered front-of-house operation. The Lake House currently employs roughly 40 locals.

I tried a number of dishes from the Old Bay Peel-&-Eat Shrimp to the Lake House Crab Cakes with a chipotle remoulade and Maple Sriacha Chicken Wings for starters. The Loaded Nachos and Crispy Coconut Shrimp also grabbed my attention… For a main course, I tried the Salmon Burger, Sweet-&-Tangy BBQ House-Smoked Pulled Pork Sandwich and Turkey Club—all flavorful with huge portions. (If I had been swimming or boating all day, I surely would have eaten it all.)

Had I been around for dinner, the Lobster Mac & Cheese and Grilled Faroe Island Salmon with a maple-bacon aioli would have been hard to decide between. Chef Jason has seafood flown in from Boston daily, so the catch-of-the-day really is fresh. For dessert, don’t miss the popular Nuns of New Skete cheesecake from just over the border in New York; it’s the best cheesecake I’ve ever had. If you really have room to spare, I’d try the Chocolate Chip Skillet Cookie sundae—just ensure you order it ahead.

Drinks at the Lake House
The beer list at the Lake House features common Vermont craft beers from Switchback, Otter Creek and Long Trail, and some popular domestic brews as well. I enjoyed a shandy but, if I were in the cocktail mood, the Coconut Mojito or Pain Killer (rum, coconut puree, pineapple and orange juices with a nutmeg juice) would have been a refreshing start to happy hour. For the under age or non-drinkers, you’ll still have some fun options for beverages at the Lake House, such as Death Before Decaf’s Cold Brew Coffee (so good!), Vermont Sweetwater Sodas and Tretap Cucumber Sparkling Water made with maple sap.

Tips for Visiting the Lake House Pub & Grille Like a Local

  • Parking can be a bit of an issue at the Lake House, but the owners are trying to curb any frustration you might experience by opening up more parking down by Crystal Beach. For now, you can park in the small lot next to the restaurant and directly across the street.
  • Visit the Lake House Pub & Grille by boat! The Lake Bomo property has six docks 12 berths/slips. Rumor has it, they are hoping to serve guests in their boats; you’ll be able to text or call in your order (unfortunately, no booze for this service).
  • The Lake House is now open seven days a week, all year round. I’m already dreaming of cozy, snowy nights in the warm and welcoming interior.
  • The Lake House is pet-friendly, well, outside of course. Their huge, multi-level back deck allows pups to visit and dine al fresco. Whether you’ll be able to keep them out of the water is up to you.
  • Come to the Lake House for the views or food, but stay for the live entertainment. Thursday through Sunday in the summer, the restaurant is bringing in local musicians to entertain guests. Check out the full list of live music events here.

The Lake House Pub & Grille
3569 VT-30, Bomoseen, VT 05732
Open 11am – 10pm daily