Sneakers Bistro (Winooski, VT)

Two weekends ago, Carol and I attended the Vermont Brewers Festival as we usually do. However, instead of our usual trip to Coffee Corner in Montpelier (note to self: haven’t reviewed Coffee Corner yet!), we decided to shake it up a bit and find someplace new to try. Doing several online searches, Sneakers Bistro in Winooski seemed to be consistently recommended, so we gave it a try.

The place is very nondescript, with the primary signage being a pair of Converse All Stars hung outside the restaurant (shown here). It’s a fairly cozy little storefront, but they have a reasonably large amount of outdoor seating as well. Which was good, since when we arrived, there was a healthy crowd of hungry people waiting for tables. Luckily, two-seaters were turning over quickly, so Carol and I got seated almost immediately at a nice sidewalk table.

The primary thing that had been recommended to me at Sneakers by both other foodies and the staff was one of the Corned Beef Hash dishes. As most people know, CBH is one of my favorite breakfast dishes, although I’m often disappointed by it (oh, the places I’ve been with “good” CBH that wasn’t any better than the canned stuff…). But I decided to tempt fate in the pursuit of yumminess, so I ended up ordering the Hasher: a breakfast sandwich with CBH, egg, sauteed onions, and mushrooms.

I’m glad I did, since it mostly worked. What worked here: The hash was excellent, and easily earning a spot on my “top 10 hash” list. It also combined well with the onions and mushrooms. The homefries were very good as well, with some nice spicing and a good crispiness. What didn’t work? CBH as a breakfast sandwich is probably a workable idea, but a toasted bulky roll isn’t the way to do it. The bread is too soft, and the CBH tends to squish out as you are eating. They should replace the bulky with some nice thick toast, or maybe a jumbo english muffin. But aside from that, it was a good breakfast.

Carol, on the other hand, opted for one of the “Quickstart” breakfast specials: black bean cakes, eggs, shrimp, and grits. Overall, a pretty good dish, although the black bean cakes were a little dry, and one of the eggs wasn’t 100% cooked. If they could get this dish dialed in, it would be a 10/10, but it lost a few points for those gaffes, and I’d probably give it an 8/10.

All in all, Sneakers makes my list of places to revisit, since (a) the CBH was indeed top 10 list material, and (b) only a few minor gaffes subtracted from what was otherwise a near-perfect breakfast.

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