Health Check: Hartland Diner (Hartland, VT)

As our regular readers know, here at Offbeat Eats, every once in a while we do a “health check”, revisiting one of our favorite spots and see how things are doing. We first visited the Hartland Diner back in 2015 when they were a relatively new breakfast spot, having taking over from the previous incarnation in that location, Stella’s. In our 2015 visit, we both had a rather good experience, myself with a hash Benedict (probably one of my standard orders these days), and Carol with a similar order of a hash omelet. We both enjoyed our visit; the staff was pleasant, the food good, and the prices reasonable for the quality. With that in mind, we stopped off at the Hartland Diner on a trip down to MA to check them out again.

Walking in the door at the diner, little has changed over the 8 years since our last visit, aside from the sign fading a bit. It’s still a cozy interior featuring a central U-shaped counter surrounding by a half dozen tables; so if it’s a busy morning (like if there’s an event in Hartland or at the nearby Harpoon Brewery), you might have to wait a bit. But on our fairly early Saturday morning visit, we were promptly seated and enjoying a rather good cup of coffee as we looked over the menu and looked at the various bits of decor around the diner (pro tip: check out the shelf of awards in the back; yes, those are actual Tony and Olivier awards from the owner’s family).

Apparently we’re creatures of habit; I hadn’t re-read my 2015 review before coming, and while I didn’t order the same thing I did back in 2015, I actually ordered what Carol did back in 2015: a Hash Benedict Omelet. This was a generous 3 egg omelet with corned beef hash and cheese inside, and Hollandaise on top. Here, the two key ingredients worked quite well: the hash is a house-made hash, and it’s got a really nice texture to it: large shreds of potato, substantial chunks of a bold corned beef, and a light bit of pepper spice. The Hollandaise was smooth, creamy, and slightly tangy, and partners nicely with both the egg and the hash. Tied together, it was a great omelet and confirmed that Hartland Diner has still got their A game going.

Carol stayed with the hash theme as well, having hers in the form of hash and eggs. This is a great, simple dish that doesn’t really hide any mistakes, and their weren’t any: the hash the same house-made hash as my omelet, with a nice sear on it from the griddle. Two eggs, poached just to a slightly firming center, topped with the same Hollandaise as my omelete, and a big pile of shredded hashbrowns. I always like it when a place has proper, house-made shredded hashbrowns instead of home fries, especially if they crisp up well and aren’t overly greasy. The Hartland Diner ones didn’t disappoint.

So, in short, the Hartland Diner passed its health check with flying colors. Aside from the unfortunately ever-present higher prices (although I think the Hartland Diner has done a better job than most holding its prices down while still paying their staff reasonably), the food, ambiance, and pleasant staff are unchanged from 2015. And I’d definitely try to come back more often (and maybe try something else in addition to the hash)

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