The Blue Benn, Miss Lyndonville and Oasis may get more press, but when you're seeking swivel stools and sausage gravy in the heart of Rutland County, Castleton's art-deco Birdseye Diner is what's for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Locals, students and summer people all patronize the lovingly restored 1940s "Silk City" eatery on Main Street, with its bright orange neon sign and chrome-and-porcelain detailing.
The menu, too, is a healthy mix. You can get all the classic diner fare, from "hot sandwich" to hash, or one of the daily specials described on a separate print out. The cream of tomato and basil soup here definitely isn't Campbell's. A smoked turkey wrap with grilled onions, roasted red peppers, goat cheese and pesto mayo is an alternative to the Birdseye Club. All the French fries are hand-cut.
Dinner brings more substantial choices. Homemade meatloaf and gravy. Crispy buttermilk-battered chicken. Calf's liver with bacon and onions. And you can get an ice-cold Long Trail or Mondavi Cabernet with that.
A "Fresh Net" sign by the door confirms the Birdseye — with its deftly prepared, well-seasoned dishes — aims a little higher than its burger-slinging sisters. Proprietor John Rehlen, who is on the board of the local land trust, also owns the general store across the street.