Three Post-Ride Places to Eat and Drink

Three Trailside Mountain Bike Bars for Post-Ride Refueling in Vermont

By Jordan Barry and Melissa Pasanen
Story originally published in Seven Days on 04|27|2021.


44 Belden Hill Rd., East Burke

You’d be hard-pressed to call Mike’s Tiki Bar a hidden gem, as Yankee Magazine did a few years back. It’s a gem, for sure, but there’s nothing secret about this bumping bar near the Kingdom Trails welcome center. It draws crowds from early May through mid-October for its expansive tap list, trailside location, food trucks and live music.

The open-air bar didn’t start out as one. East Burke native Mike Mathers decided to repurpose an old gravel pit he owned into a parking lot. During peak biking season, “the town was flooded with cars,” he recalled. Mathers thought he’d sell ice and offer coin-operated showers. (Mountain biking can be a dirty business.)

But soon, “Everyone was buying beer, sitting on their tailgates and drinking,” he said. “I thought, If I could get a dollar from every biker who parks here…”

With a little help, Mathers built himself an outdoor bar fitted with 30 taps and stocked with dozens more cans and bottles. On-site food trucks recharge hungry bikers with wood-fired pies, freshly made tamales and enchilada plates.

Mathers said he didn’t try mountain biking until relatively recently. “For the longest time, I couldn’t figure out why anyone would want to ride a pedal bike through the woods,” he admitted. Once he started, it didn’t take long for him to see why his parking lot was so busy: “It gets you in shape, it’s fun, and you don’t have to watch out for cars.”

The only problem, he added with a chuckle, is that every so often “a tree will step out in front of you.”

In the area…


83 Huntington Rd., Richmond, 434-5787

Huffing and puffing aren’t prerequisites for diving into a mound of nachos. But Stone Corral’s Huff & Puff nachos — with smoky barbecue pulled pork, Monterey Jack cheese, pickled jalapeños and red onions, passion fruit, pineapple, chopped scallion, and chipotle crema — might be perfect post-bike food.

Stone Corral is a hub for the local cycling community, with Richmond Mountain Trails, the town forest, and Sleepy Hollow Inn, Ski & Bike Center all nearby. The business is also a regular contributor to bike-specific causes, including Richmond Mountain Trails. It’s no surprise that the brewery’s theme for the summer is “get outside and play.”

When the weather’s fine, customers spill out into the outdoor biergarten; evenings bring open mic, trivia and live music nights year-round.

The staff is always ready to offer food-and-beer pairings — including creative suggestions to complement the chef’s weekly specials. Beer cocktails, kombucha and nonalcoholic seltzers are also on the menu next to the extensive list of housemade brews, including one-off weekend kegs. Try a tasting flight to sample the variety; the menu is helpfully listed in the recommended order for flights.

Beyond nachos, the taproom’s menu of pub-style food features a variety of loaded mac and cheeses, tacos, sandwiches, salads, rice bowls, and burgers — many with beer as an ingredient, of course.

While spring is traditionally a quieter time for Stone Corral, reservations are strongly recommended for indoor and outdoor dining.

In the area…


2910 Killington Rd., Killington, 422-5665

“Lookout!” might not be the most reassuring thing to hear as you’re hurtling down a mountain on a bike. But if you’re at the Killington Bike Park, chances are it’s not a warning — it’s a post-ride dinner suggestion.

Situated near the top of Killington Road, Lookout Tavern is a go-to gathering spot for the local mountain biking crowd. The view from the restaurant’s rooftop deck looks out on the resort, so you can relive your ride as you dive into a beer and a Cajun Black & Blue burger or Beast buttermilk chicken sandwich.

Phil and Joy Black have owned Lookout Tavern since 2000. Phil said they’ve seen summer traffic boom in recent years, thanks in large part to the draw of the bike park. They’re actively involved in the scene, too, organizing group rides from the tavern on Tuesday nights.

“It started with 12 of us, and now it’s grown to 30 to 35 sometimes. It’s really anything but organized, but it’s fun,” Phil explained. Post-pedal, the group returns to the restaurant to refuel.

Lookout’s extensive menu features classic comfort food and creative sandwiches with a Tex-Mex twinge. Handcrafted burgers billed as “the biggest & best” are topped with melted pepper Jack cheese and guacamole for the Left Coast burger, or double the meat, cheese and bacon for the Vermonster.

The drinks menu is full of local brews and cocktails such as Killington-area staple the Goombay Smash — made with a blend of rums, fruit juices and crème of coconut.

The Blacks also own Base Camp, a full-service backcountry ski, bike and gear shop down the road, offering rentals, service and sales. Base Camp sits at the trailhead of the local town trail system, Phil said, and “having a full-service bike shop there, for us, was a no-brainer.”

In the area…


Seven Days Staytripper Series

Created by Seven Days, the Staytripper: The Road Map for Rediscovering Vermont” series presents curated excursions statewide. The series was originally published from 2020-2022 and highlights Vermont restaurants, retailers, attractions, and outdoor adventures to spotlight all corners of the state.