Foley Taco and Bean (Brandon, VT)

One of my more unusual destinations in late 2020 and early 2021 was Middlebury, VT, for both work reasons (a subcontractor runs a lab there), and recreation (in the Fall of 2020, we hiked the TAM: the Trail Around Middlebury). Our travels around there also lead us by a favorite winery (Lincoln Peak), and one of my favorite breweries, Foley Brothers in northern Brandon, VT, a nice little western VT town. On one swing through Brandon after visiting the brewery, we noticed that Foley had started up a new business, Foley Taco and Bean, located in downtown Brandon, VT, so we decided to stop in and try it.

In some ways, the Foley Brothers couldn’t have picked a worse time to open a restaurant, they announced their plans in February 2020, right before Covid shut everything. But they continued working on the conversion (on a previous trip through Brandon, the used to be a different restaurant, Heart and Soul Cafe, with much of the space given over to an antique store). I’m not entirely sure when they opened, but by September, they were going strong. It’s a nice space: they’ve got a nice ordering counter up front, several nice interior dining rooms areas, and in this era of pandemic-conscious dining, they’ve got one of the most important features of all, a nice large outdoor porch with several tables for outdoor dining. It’s actually a nice setup on a good day, sitting and watching downtown Brandon.

Menu-wise, there are really three items of interest on the menu: first, being a cafe run by Foley Brothers, they’ve got a good selection of beers available, primarily those from their own brewery. Next, they’ve got a nice selection of street-style tacos, with options ranging from your usual pollo/carne asada/carnitas offerings, to the vegetarian bean option, a breakfast taco, and even a second vegetarian option: a BBQ jackfruit taco. They’ve also offered up all of these as build-your-own burritos. Since we were only lightly hungry, Carol and I opted for two pairs of tacos, one of the Mojo Carne tacos, and another of the Carnitas tacos.

Starting with the Mojo Carne tacos, these were a decent seared, spiced carne asada (refreshingly, they had a good amount of crisping and searing, which I consider essential to a carne asada taco). They then add in some pico, cotija cheese, and an avocado crema, and dressed it lightly with their house made green hot sauce. In a nice departure from most other northern New England taquerias, for this set of tacos, they did the double-tortilla stack that I’m used to from most of my Southwest taco dining, preventing the dreaded “taco blowout”. The house-made hot sauce was a nice, flavorful, and reasonably spicy jalapeno-based sauce, and tied everything together well. The avocado crema was a bit heavy for my taste, though; if I get these again, I’ll go light on that.

The carnitas tacos were even better: these were served up in what I call “classic street style”: a nice layer of good, tender carnitas, pickled onions, cilantro, served up with a very robust and spicy house-made red sauce (oddly, unlike the Mojo Carne tacos, these were served on a single tortilla, which did seem to hold up well during eating). A squeeze of fresh lime, and these were exactly the sort of good street tacos I crave, each bite having some good pork, some tangy onion, and a bit of cilantro. These were actually some of the best tacos I’ve had in Vermont.

Overall, I’m really happy that Foley Taco and Bean has opened: it’s a nice addition to the town of Brandon, serves up some good food, and a nice complement to the areas breweries (Foley, Red Clover). I’m particularly happy to see another good taco option show up in Vermont.

One Response

  1. Christine Foley 12 Aug 2021 at 07:22 #

    Thank you for the write up! We hope you will join us again soon 🙂

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