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Great All American Diner Run
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Motorcycles, Travel & Adventure

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Great roads, superb food, good times - do we need more?

Without any doubt our most popular column. The Great All American Diner Run, or GAADR, gives our readers some of the best places to ride for a great meal. Whether it be some hidden barbecue in the Adirondacks or a crab place in the Chesapeake, the GAADR gives the very best eateries, and like most things in Backroads, we'll supply a super way to get there as well with our own Rip & Ride® Route Sheets.

MacLaomainn's Scottish Pub

MacsOutsideBikeThere isn’t a lot in Chester. Ten miles west of I-91, at the intersections of VT Routes 35, 103, and 11, with a 2010 census of just over 3,100 people, it was the last place I expected to find an amazing pub. But on a sultry July day, that’s exactly what Betsy and I did.

I usually don’t trust the GPS to find food, but after a quick stop for syrup at Plummer’s in nearby Grafton, I punched the knife and fork icon and saw, to my surprise, a listing for a Scottish pub! After our trip there a few years ago, Betsy and I dearly love Scotland, so we hit Route 35 with alacrity and right by the intersection with 103, was MacLaomainn’s.

At first, with the large outdoor deck filled by colorful umbrella tables, you might mistake the place for something more…beachy, but once you walk inside and are greeted by a full suit of armor, a giant sword, a dart board, and a set of bagpipes, you know you’re in a wee bit of Scotland. A sign proclaims, “What’s For You Won’t Go Past You” and another says, “All Our Guests Bring Happiness, Some by Coming and Some by Going.”

MacLaomainn’s was founded by Deb and Allan Brown, she of Chester and he of Scotland. If you’d like a spirited game of cribbage, I wager they’d give you one because they met online playing it and Allan came to the U.S. to marry Deb and open the pub in an extension of their home. And homey it is, true to their slogan of “Scottish hospitality in the hills of Vermont.”

52 South Main St, Chester, VT • 802-875-MACS

Open: Sun-Thur 11:30am-11:00pm • Fri/Sat 11:30am-Midnight

Online

The mark of a great pub is two things: their beer and their food and MacLaomainn’s gets full marks on both counts. I normally refrain from consumption whilst moto’ing, but I made a ten-ounce exception for the light and refreshing Tenant’s Lager. I also intended to blend it with food, and what amazing food it was.

MacsArmourI started with a bowl of the tomato cheddar soup made with fresh, local cheddar and it was outstanding. Betsy had the humorously-named “Cock-a-Leekie” soup, which was a delightful combination of chicken and leeks in a creamy broth. It was reportedly as heavenly as it was rich.

There’s a wide array of traditional Scottish fare available, including haggis and “tatties and neeps,” but Betsy had the “Mary Queen of Scots” sandwich, with sliced turkey and apple butter, granny smith apple slices, and white cheddar on a honey oat bread made on site.MacsSoups Mary would be proud of her namesake sandwich. I had the house-grilled cheese, also on the honey oat bread and with local cheddar, bacon, and onion. We were served by none other than Allan himself, fully attired in a kilt complete with a sporran and he was as friendly and attentive as the food was good.

In nearly a decade of going to Vermont, there are a few places to which we return nearly every time and now we have another one. Another sign says, “Haste ye back” and that’s a sign we are bound to obey.