At Vintage, Everything On The Menu Is Farm Fresh, Every Day

It would be simple to describe Vintage, a new casual restaurant in Colchester, as farm-to-table. Its menu of burgers, tacos and vegetable dishes spotlights produce, meats and cheeses from several partner farms, many a half-hour or less from the Main Street eatery.

But co-owner and chef Tim Marotto would rather not use the phrase.

“I can’t stress how much I hate the term,” he says. For him, it’s just a continuation of the relationships he’s built with farmers and producers over his career.

Marotto and business partner Sergio Mesen opened Vintage in July, taking over the former Peg’s Vintage Diner. In Colchester, Marotto is that much closer to the eastern Connecticut farmers whose products he’s used for years, most recently as executive chef at GoldBurgers.

“I loved being in Hartford and Newington, but I had to drive out here to get all my stuff,” he says. “Now I’m in the middle of everything.”

The menu at the 32-seat restaurant changes frequently — almost daily — and it’s inspired by what the farmers bring each week. You may see pork, ginger, green beans, onions and squash from Cold Spring Farms and Cato Corner Farm’s Womanchego and Black Ledge Blue cheeses, both within Colchester town limits. Beets, carrots and squash come from Field Engineer Farm in Columbia; mushrooms come in from Seacoast Mushrooms in Stonington; and apples from Littel Acres in Glastonbury.

“People are happy seeing the farms they grew up going to on the menu,” Marotto says.

The small space features an open kitchen and diner-style counter seating, where guests can see the farm-fresh ingredients in preparation. “They come in and they see the buckets [of produce],” Marotto says.

FEATURED/NOTEWORTHY DISHES: Vegetable-based snacks ($5 to $8) feature the best of the week’s produce, with recent plates like braised Field Engineer Farm purple cabbage with pickled mustard seeds; “squashes and cheese,” a mix of delicata and sweet potato with Mystic Cheese’s Melinda Mae and Sugar Maple Farm wildflower honey; and garlicky pole beans in tomato sauce with local cheese and roasted garlic oil. A platter of “roasted stuff” showcases seasonal harvests like beets, carrots and delicata squash with housemade aioli and other sauces.

Vintage uses grass-fed beef from Ellington’s JT Farms and the plant-based Beyond Burger for its veggie burger. Build your own burger (starting at $9) with choice of toppings: housemade pickles and relish, garlic steak sauce, grilled onion and pickled mustard seed are an extra 50 cents apiece, and higher-end options are $2, like a farm egg, mushrooms or local cheeses from Cato Corner and Mystic Cheese.

House burgers ($14 to $16) include the Brunch 2.0, with farm egg, Cold Spring Farms pork belly and Melinda Mae (recently served with a spicy peach barbecue sauce) and the Black Ledge, with Cato Corner’s Black Ledge Blue cheese, grilled onions, steak sauce and mixed Seacoast mushrooms.

The Loaded Beyond Burger features toppings like farm relish, Melinda Mae, tomato from Easy Pickin’s Orchard in Enfield and local broccoli and radish shoots. There’s also a Vintage melt, on pumpernickel from Colchester’s Angelo’s Bakery, with grilled onions, cheddar and house sauce. Burgers are served with fresh-cut shoestring fries.

Tacos on housemade, hand-pressed corn tortillas ($4 to $6) offer meat and vegetarian fillings, like pork with tomatillo, ginger and peach hot sauce; mushrooms with Black Ledge Blue; “cheeseburger” with ground beef, pickles, lettuce, tomato and onion and sweet potato, with fennel, chevre and toasted squash seeds.

Vintage has added the occasional dinner entree to the menu, offering plates like Cold Spring Farm pork chops with braised greens and roasted sweet potato, or bolognese with spaghetti squash. Marotto rotates desserts like seasonal crisps and creme brulee, often factoring in savory flavors like fennel-ginger or fennel tomato peach.

The restaurant is BYOB.

LOCATION AND HOURS: Vintage, at 16 Main Street in Colchester, is open Tuesday through Thursday from 4 to 9 p.m.; Friday and Saturday from noon to 3 p.m. and then again from 5 to 9 p.m. and Sunday, noon to 3 p.m. and again from 4 to 8 p.m. 860-537-2464, vintagect.com.

Small Bites: Dining News And Events »

Copyright © 2018, CT Now
37°