In 1980, artisan glassblower and potter Simon Pearce and his wife, Pia, bought an 18th century mill overlooking a waterfall and covered bridge on the Ottauquechee River in Quechee, Vt., about an hour’s drive north from Massachusetts. Within a few years, the couple had restored the mill’s hydroelectric power and opened a small lunch counter inside their workshop and gallery. Since then, the Ireland-born Pearce’s decorative glass pieces and ceramic dinnerware have earned international acclaim, and the lunch counter has evolved into a fine dining restaurant and bar attracting visitors from around the world.
Simon Pearce Restaurant earned its first Wine Spectator Restaurant Award in 1991, and has held a Best of Award of Excellence since 2019 for its 425-selection wine list. The cellar’s 3,200 bottles are overseen by wine director Christine Geisler, who emphasizes diversity without sacrificing strong selections of California Cabernet, Burgundy and Italian reds. The list makes special note of biodynamic, organic and sustainable wines, and includes 20 selections available by the glass, along with a hearty selection of half-bottles.
Highlights from chef Alex Farris’ regionally focused menu include Vermont cheddar soup, Statler chicken with roasted root vegetable puree and braised beef short ribs with fingerling potatoes, spinach and crispy shallots. Simon Pearce Restaurant and Mill is open Wednesday to Sunday, and dinner is by reservation only.