VisitingNewEngland Header Travel Site
Best of New England travel lists   New England hotel getaways   Top New England diners   Massachusetts Town Greens  

These scenic New England photo prints and unique gifts are ideal for the home or office.

VisitingNewEngland/Vanilla Bean Cafe Business Partnership - Local Small Business Stories

The Vanilla Bean Cafe, Pomfret, Conn: Cozy, Quaint, Delicious and Anything But Vanilla

Vanilla Bean Cafe, Pomfret CT

by Eric Hurwitz. Article updated on 11/01/16

Share this New England travel article with your friends

If it was a house, we'd buy it. If it was an inn, we'd stay an extra night. If it was office space, we'd work overtime.

Perhaps that last sentiment is a stretch, but the Vanilla Bean Cafe is one of those places you simply don't want to leave. With crowds galore often waiting to be seated,Vanilla Bean management staff probably wouldn't want you to take up permanent residence, but they do allow you to sample the great comfort food in a leisurely fashion.

No one is rushing you to eat your food and get out. Rather, the staff is as laid back as the surrounding northeastern Connecticut "Quiet Corner" countryside and the clientele embraces the atmosphere as sort of an indoor village green -- a place to meet and talk about hometown life.

Interestingly enough, the Vanilla Bean Cafe is adjacent to an extraordinarily pretty village green in the great New England town of Pomfret, CT.  Pomfret, Woodstock and other stunningly beautiful nearby rural communities make Route 169 one of the most scenic byways in the six-state region. Rolling hills, wide expanses of green grass and grand farms, big wide-open skies with more stars out at night than Hollywood, and interesting antique shops (particularly on Route 44 in nearby Putnam), country stores and elegant inns create a great day trip or extended vacation. Either way, the Vanilla Bean Cafe should be on your "must-do" New England travel list. It has the best food we've sampled, to date, in Connecticut.
That night, a few squirrels convened at the Pomfret village green, while a full house graced the Vanilla Bean Cafe. In there were families, college-professor-types, high school kids on dates, married women meeting for a girl's night out, urban professionals out for some detoxifying fresh country air and toxifying microbrews, and some guy who looked like Danny Bonaduce's grandfather (his long pants didn't make it to his socks). They all seemed to enjoy the cozy, restored 1800s farmhouse atmosphere with post-and-beam design, a couch and coffee table area (taken out when locally and nationally-accomplished folk, blues and country musicians play on the weekends; folk music cult figure Geoff Muldaur and the hugely-talented Lori McKenna have played here) and a fish tank with plenty of interesting fish. Outside is a patio area, perfect for dining in the spring, summer and fall. In the back of the building behind the parking lot are a few picnic benches -- nicely secluded for reading the newspaper while drinking some tasty coffee or herbal tea.

The overall feel of the Vanilla Bean Cafe is friendly, casual. charmingly dated, quaint, and family-oriented. You feel like it's a trip back in time-- somewhere between Thomas Jefferson and Ozzie Nelson.

The "order-at-the counter," format was a daunting assignment. We saw so many delectable sandwich, soup and breakfast selections (most under $10.00) on the main above-the-counter menu board and dinner specials (in the mid to high-teen range) on the side blackboard that when it was time to order, we stuttered worse than Porky Pig. The tempting dessert display right in front of us did not help our decision-making woes, either.

The pleasant waiter at the counter had more patience than Ghandi, and smiled politely until we completed reading the menu board in Tolstoy or Milton time. In the background, we could see the open kitchen with each employee doing his or her job with precision, punctuality and professionalism. There were no fast food weenies working here, just committed people with big smiles interested in pleasing the customer. The waiter gave us a huge playing card that the waitstaff used to identify where to serve the food.

We received a three of clubs, but the food was more like an ace of spades. What we sampled was a duck soup more tasty than the best duck dinners, a fresh salad with lively mixed greens, an "I want more" delectable pork dish with flavorful wild rice, savory beans and all the right spices, hot dogs that bested county fair and ballpark versions, and a fresh turkey sandwich that rendered competitors' offerings "fowl." The bowl of chili was about the best we have tasted anywhere -- full bodied, flavorful, complemented by additive chips, and, ultimately, the height of a warming comfort food.  For dessert, we experienced wonderfully moist carrot cake and a rich chocolate cake, using the highest quality chocolate. The chocolate chip cookie relegated Peggy Lawton's version to hockey puck-tasting status.

Chili fro the Vanilla Bean Cafe, Pomfret CT

Chili from the Vanilla Bean Cafe

We felt so much at home that we could have fallen asleep right in the dining chairs. Avoiding this Homer Simpson tendency, we headed back home looking in the read view mirror at the Vanilla Bean Cafe for as long as we could. It was a soothing sight in the dark country night, leaving us to think, "When can we get back here?"

The answer was "Soon, very soon." Tomorrow would be optimal!

The Vanilla Bean Cafe, Corner of Routes 44, 169, and 197, Pomfret, CT., Tel. (860-928-1562)

Be sure to check out the Vanilla Bean Cafe web site and Vanilla Bean Cafe Facebook fan page for more information.

Editor's note: VisitingNewEngland business partnerships started on Jan. 30, 2017, and differ than feature articles previously posted on VisitingNewEngland. Businesses pay a small, one-time fee to have pages like this appear, and first must be accepted by editor and publisher, Eric Hurwitz, as a business he approves as part of "real New England travel" to keep the integrity of the site. Businesses that sign up for business partnerships receive priority by receiving more social media exposure and link placement on Contact me if interested in forming a business partnership.

If you enjoyed this article, please share through any of the social media buttons below -- thanks!

Like this story on the Vanilla Bean Cafe? Share the graphic below on Pinterest!
 The Vanilla Bean Cafe in Pomfret, Conn., should be on your must-do New England dining out list. It has the best food we've sampled, to date, in Connecticut.

Eric wrote these helpful, fun New England travel books just for you...

Best Diners In New England Kindle bookMassachusetts Town Greens Book

Stay connected with VisitingNewEngland at  Facebook Social Media Button Facebook  Twitter Social Media Button Twitter Social Media Pinterest Button Pinterest  Social Media Google+ Button Google+


Featuring our latest New England travel insider's news updates and stories, discounts and coupons!

VisitingNewEngland's small business commitment to excellence: is a proud, small business based in New England. We love it when one of our articles helps you with your New England vacation and travel trip planning! That's what we are here for: to serve you in the most genuine, helpful way possible.

Old-fashioned New England work ethic: All articles, photos by Eric Hurwitz unless otherwise noted. Eric also manages the site's layout and design, social media, and public affairs.

All this, and blogs too! Also, please check out our authentic, informative and entertaining New England travel blogs with original content: The Thrifty New England Traveler (New England travel ideas on a budget), The New England Travel and Vacation Gazette (more original New England travel articles), and Old School Boston (warm memories of Boston and New England from back in the day).

Home | Connecticut | Maine | Massachusetts | New Hampshire | Rhode Island | Vermont | About Us | Privacy | Contact Us