The Bobcat Café
- 5 Main Street, Bristol, VT, 05443
(Published in 7 Nights 2004-04)
Food-wise, Bristol's main "drag" is anything but. The historic downtown block hosts a bustling bakery, a breakfast spot, a pizzeria and Wokky's Chinese.
But it seems like everyone in Addison County is making tracks to an eclectic eatery that looks more Napa than Champlain Valley. Lace curtains and little white lights lure diners to The Bobcat Café. Inside, good music, a TV-free bar — and a pez dispenser collection — all confirm this is no ordinary rural restaurant.
The food seals the deal: it's creative comfort food. Your artisan bread comes with surprise foil-wrapped pats of butter. The coffee-marinated flatiron steak is served with cabernet tarragon butter and garlic mashed potatoes. Choose among dozens of wines served by the glass or local brews made on the premises, such as the App-Gap IPA.
Bristol gets its good taste from Robert Fuller, who owns a number of successful area eateries, including Leunig's and Pauline's. A Lincoln resident, he decided Bristol needed a restaurant that would serve dual needs, as an eating establishment and a community gathering place. For a while, the locals "owned" it, too. In 2002 Fuller raised $160,000 — in $5000 increments — from 32 neighbors who have since become his best customers. By the time their investor discount cards expired, two years later, Fuller had paid them all off. Now, at least on weekends, everybody needs a reservation.