Montpelier’s Wayside Restaurant celebrates 100 years

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“The Wayside is a crown jewel in Vermont’s culinary crown,” said Brian Zecchinelli, co-owner of Wayside Restaurant, Bakery & Creamery.

It’s a home away from home in Vermont’s capital.  

Wayside was founded by a woman which gives co-owner, Karen Zecchinelli, a great deal of pride.

“I can’t even imagine in 1918 being a woman and starting your own business, it’s pretty amazing, I’m proud of that,” she said.

The Zecchinelli’s became co-owners over 20 years ago when Karen’s father passed it down. For Karen and Brian, it’s all about sticking to tradition handed down by her parents.

“I try to carry on the tradition that they started in 1966 of family and community and giving back to folks when we can,” she said.

Customers like Beckie Pierson of Barre, have been coming to the mom and pop diner for 50 years.

“Try it, it’s not a mistake that’s for sure,” she said.

Piersons’ 15-minute commute makes it easy for her to visit often. For others like Stephen Roberts of Botlon, the commute is 45 minutes.

“The food is always on point and delicious so it always kept me coming back,” he said.

Roberts has been coming to the Wayside for nine years. Now, his 9 month old son gets to try it for the first time.

“It’s absolutely a great place to bring your family, we have two kids, one that’s already well versed in the Wayside ways and this is actually this one’s first visit and he liked it, didn’t you,” Roberts said smiling at his son.

They aren’t the only ones who love the fresh food.

“I don’t know if I have a favorite meal but I love the dinner rolls.” said Pat Macaskill a long-time customer of the restaurant.

The Wayside has over 200 menu options from pancakes to burgers and more.

“We follow my dad’s guideline that we don’t change it too much if things are working. Just kind of keep it the same,” Karen Zecchinelli said.

Lucas Dutil now lives in Virginia but his family always makes the trip when they’re in town.

“You just know what to expect. The people are always friendly, you can order the same dish and it always comes the same way, it’s always good food,” Dutil said.

A reunion place is what the Zecchinelli’s hope the restaurant can be for its customers.

“We’re just trying to carry on the tradition of days gone by,” said Brian Zecchinelli.

This year the Wayside celebrates their centennial.

There are over one million restaurants in the United States and only 240 of them made it to the 100 year mark, Wayside Restaurant is one of them.

“It’s a Vermont institution, I mean 100 years is a long time everywhere but in Vermont that is an eternity,” said Roberts.

“If you’re from Vermont, this is what you expect, this is a Vermont atmosphere this is not a chain restaurant, and this is a Vermont restaurant,” said Dutil.

Brian Zecchinelli said its a Vermont staple and a place everyone needs to try.

“We encourage folks that have never been here to come and be part of history,” he said.
 

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