What to Know
- The Wayside Restaurant, located in Montpelier, Vt., serves breakfast open to close; 15 hours a day, seven days a week.
- The Zecchinelli family is just the third to own and run the Wayside.
- The “100 Years and Counting” celebration is scheduled for Sunday, July 29 at 6:30 p.m. at the Wayside Restaurant.
A landmark business in central Vermont is joining an elite club—of restaurants open for 100 years or more.
The Wayside Restaurant, on the outskirts of Vermont’s capital city, Montpelier, serves breakfast open to close; 15 hours a day, seven days a week.
Mashed potatoes here are plated with an ice cream scoop, and throwback meals—like salt pork with milk gravy—are still hot sellers, across generations.
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“Even when I’m supposed to be on a restricted diet I come here,” customer Suzanne Carrien laughed.
“Every time I come here for lunch, I run into either a family member or a friend,” another customer, Nicole Chase said.
World War I was drawing to a close when this place first opened 100 years ago. A coffee was just a nickel then, the owners said.
“I started working here at 12,” owner Karen Zecchinelli recalled.
Zecchinelli’s family is just the third to own and run the Wayside. They’ve had it for more than half its now-century in business, and their 60 employees have together tallied more than 600 years of combined service, she said.
“We’re more than a restaurant,” Zecchinelli told necn. “We’re a community here at the Wayside. We know people’s names. Comforting and comfort food—that’s our motto.”
By some estimates, there are only about 250 restaurants in the United States that have made it to 100 years in business, the owners said.
“From what we’ve been told, only a fraction of one percent of restaurants in America have achieved this 100 year milestone,” added Zecchinelli’s husband, Brian. “So we’re in pretty elite company, proud of it, and actually looking forward to the next century.”
To mark this rare accomplishment, the busy Wayside is holding a community-wide party Sunday with fireworks and of course, food.
Descendants of the restaurant’s founder, Effie Ballou, are even traveling from as far away as California to join in, the Zecchinellis said.
So what’s been the secret to maintaining landmark status here for so long? The Wayside says it’s simple: good prices, good ingredients, and a good attitude: “Try to have fun every day,” Karen Zecchinelli said, smiling.
The “100 Years and Counting” celebration is scheduled for Sunday, July 29 at 6:30 p.m. at the Wayside Restaurant, at 1873 US Route 302 in Montpelier.