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The Meltdown in Barre....Just go and thank us later!

Sep 29, 2020 10:01PM ● By John Gales

Diane Hood is no stranger to the restaurant business. From the age of 15 when she became the youngest assistant manager in the history of Tony Roma’s restaurant in Miami until today as co-owner of Barre City’s The Meltdown, this native Montrealer has always been passionate about superb cuisine.

“I am a woman who has big dreams and makes those dreams become a reality,” Diane said. “Failure is not an option. The Meltdown restaurant that I am building with my husband, John, of 24 years is a lifelong dream coming true. We are beyond excited to bring you the newest restaurant and taproom in central Vermont where glasses come together and friends are made.”

John is a hometown boy, having grown up in East Barre, VT. He hasn't had much experience in the restaurant business (particularly in the kitchen) yet,  but is an accomplished woodworker and restorer. He is responsible for building The Meltdown out of an old Vermont home just off Main Street.  

Diane and John served their first meal in early August, having signed the papers in March as the Pandemic began in Vermont. Head Chef Donna Dick, who grew up in a small town in New York, said that customers have been particularly fond of the hot lobster grilled cheese, smoked meat grilled cheese, chopped cheese, and big sandwiches.

“Donna is a hardworking, talented and incredibly committed team member/friend, and I could not be more excited or honored to have her running our kitchen with John,” said Diane. “I knew when she and I met 32 years ago that we would make an unstoppable team in a restaurant together. And, here we are – Donna, John and I – team Meltdown.”

 The restaurant’s name comes from Diane’s vision of a logo with sumptuous cheese oozing out of a toasted sandwich.

“It sounded cozy and welcoming,” she said. “People can relax and ‘melt down’ into their seats as they enjoy their meal of comfort food.”

 In addition to a variety of grilled cheese sandwiches, the restaurant also offers such appetizers as Greek fries, Poutine, and Garlic Parmesan Chicken Tenders; Caesar salad, Cobb salad, Buffalo Chicken salad; cream of tomato soup, cheddar ale and minestrone soups; and an assortment of dips. Key Lime pie is currently the most popular dessert, house made with a pecan and graham cracker crust. There are lots of substitute and add-ons from which to choose as well. Local food vendors include Graham Farms Maple, Cabot Cheese, La Panciata Bakery, and Paquet Farm. Breweries bring in Blue Moon, Otter Creek, Switchback, Fiddlehead, Red Barn, Lawsons, and Zero Gravity.


Seating currently accommodates 31 visitors at a time with mandatory call-ahead seating and masks required. Operation hours are Thursday through Monday. Hours are Monday, Thursday, Friday from 3 p.m. to 9 p.m.; Saturday from 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.; and Sunday from 11:30 a.m. to 8 p.m. Phone 802.622.8277 for reservations or email [email protected]

Lest there is a question about the current success of the new restaurant in the time of a Pandemic, Diane related that “business is going great”.

“People appreciate the atmosphere, the unique menu, and the friendly and efficient service,” she said. “Donna, John and I have made many friends in the central Vermont area, and we had a shared vision of what we wanted our restaurant to be. We have plenty of outdoor space which has helped us to overcome the current 50 percent capacity restriction for indoor dining. With cooler weather ahead, we’ve already purchased and set up industrial heat lamps for our outdoor seating, and hope to get a retractable canopy for rainier days as well. We’re working on making takeout available sometime this fall.”

The phone has been “ringing off the hook”, she added, and the threesome is proud to live up to their motto of “where glasses meet and friends are made”.



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