American Flatbread Burlington Hearth (Burlington, VT)

On Memorial Day, we decided to drive up to Burlington, Vermont, and go bike riding on the Island Line bike trail. Afterward, we then headed into downtown Burlington for some dinner, ending up at American Flatbread after stops at Three Needs for some beer and Hong’s Chinese Dumplings for a quick snack.

We’ve long been fans of American Flatbread. Being first introduced to them via their frozen pizzas (which have outstanding quality, unlike most frozen pizza), we then visited their main bakery in Waitsfield, VT back in 2001. That place is an experience; they’ve taken an old barn, and 4-5 days a week they produce the frozen pizzas there, and for the weekends they put away the assembly line, rolls out tables with red-checked tableclothes, and run a very informal restaurant and bar. It’s quite the experience, and one I recommend (I’d write it up here, but I still don’t have photos from there), since it is about as “Vermont” as things get around here.

In 2005, American Flatbread opened up a location in downtown Burlington, which brings a good part of the Flatbread experience to town. They also have a small brewery on-site (Zero Gravity Brewing) that provides a nice variety of microbrews (and several guest taps) to enjoy with your pizza. After a pair of “Mr Black” Schwarzbiers at the bar, our table was ready.

We ended up settling on their “New Vermont Sausage” pizza, which has locally made fennel sausage, mushrooms, and caramelized onions. Normally served as a sauceless pizza, we had them add their normal fire-roasted tomato sauce, which resulted in a very tasty pizza, without being too overloaded with toppings. It also has a most excellent crust; American Flatbread is well aware that the cornerstone of a good pizza is a good crust with a good toasted char to it. They don’t disappoint.

One odd thing that I’ve noticed about American Flatbread. I’m used to three styles of cuts: the classic radial wedge slices, the midwest “square” cut, and the Pepe’s style “drunken cut” (like the wedges, but done quickly and deliberately sloppily to make random slices). Here’s one I haven’t seen elsewhere: the “fishbone” cut: wedges on the ends, but “ribs” in the middle. Odd. I think I’ll ask for classic wedges next time.

Despite the odd slicing, however, this is still great pizza, and it’s nice to see them maintaining consistency even as they expand.

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