Taste (West Lebanon, NH)

In early August, I got to try out one of the more welcome additions to the Upper Valley’s breakfast scene. Every since the pandemic started and The Lebanon Diner closed, most of the Upper Valley’s breakfast joints have been overwhelmed with demand, so it was very welcome that Taste started serving traditional breakfast and lunch at the north end of the West Lebanon Strip.

It’s worth noting that Taste has had one of the odder origin stories of the Upper Valley. The building itself was, for decades, Seven Barrels Pub and Brewery, which was one of the region’s first microbreweries, and then from 2017 through 2022, it was the West Lebanon location of the local Salt hill Pub chain. But in their post-pandemic business contraction, Salt hill closed this location and sold the building to the owners of Ziggy’s Pizza down the strip. After several months of refurbishment, and a slightly odd campaign of posting logos but no menus or details to various social media outlets, in June of 2023, they opened as “Taste Drive-In”, serving a variety of noodle, rice, and lettuce dishes featuring Asian themes like bulogi and teriyaki. The concept looked decent, but only a few weeks after opening, Taste shuttered up again with a “re-opening soon” banner. Then in July 2023, in a major pivot, they finally reopened as simply “Taste”, serving up a classic American-themed breakfast and lunch items.

Walking in to Taste at breakfast, you can seen that the Upper Valley has a strong demand for an additional breakfast spot, since at 8:30 AM on a Saturday morning the place was completely hopping with activity, with several people on a waiting list for tables. But the tables were turning frequently, and it was only 5 minutes (halfway through our cups of coffee while we waited) before we were seated and looking over the breakfast menu. The basic menu at Taste is “American Classics”, with a selection of omelets, egg combos, Benedicts, waffles, and pancakes. Two notable items are that they do a hash scramble (eggs served over a bed of sweet potato and quinoa hash) and chicken-fried steak. I had to get the latter of these, since this hasn’t been a regular menu item on Upper Valley breakfast menus since Country Kitchen in Newport closed in 2020. This was a rather nice rendition: a good, well-cooked chicken-fried steak with a nice tender interior and a good crispy, well-bonded breading. Topped with a decent house-made sausage gravy and some eggs and home fries, and this was a solid breakfast. It’s nice to have this on a regular menu in the Upper Valley again.

Carol opted for one of the many Benedict variations on Taste’s Menu, the Heater. This was a Benedict with North Country Smokehouse bacon (another hallmark of 2023 has been rather a lot of good bacon-based Benedicts), jalapenos, and both their Hollandaise sauce and a spicy chipotle aioli. Served up with some home fries, this was a great, well-rounded spicy breakfast

Overall, this was a great breakfast. Taste took a slightly odd voyage to get where it ended up, but it’s been a good addition to the local breakfast and lunch scene. The food is good, the staff friendly, and the location nicely renovated. I suspect they’ll continue to get their concept dialed in and continue to be successful.


  1. Valley News - Food and shopping options expand in West Lebanon plazas  - 13 May 2024

    […] leases will join other recent Route 12A food arrivals: Taste, which the owners of Ziggy’s Pizza opened last June, and submarine sandwich franchise Jersey Mike’s, which opened last […]

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