Montpelier Alive recently had the chance to connect with Michael Drake, owner of the new restaurant The Social, now open at The Inn at Montpelier, 147 Main St. We can’t wait to check it out.
Montpelier Alive: Tell us about yourself and the restaurant:
Michael Drake: Both my wife and I grew up working hospitality, and after time in health care, here we are again. We own Zachary’s Pizza in Waterbury, as well. The Social is really meant to be a place to gather for an entire group — family or friends. Obviously during COVID, that means with proper distancing and precautions, but the goal is that between our atmosphere, our veranda, and a menu that caters as much to those looking for a sumptuous meal as those looking to eat healthy, we help create those special moments. Today, if a family of four walks into a restaurant, one of them is going to be on a restricted diet, and having dishes that work for them — say, a Veggie Buddha Bowl — as much as their friend who orders one of our dry-aged steaks with Whipped Red potatoes, is key.
We are currently reservation only with walk-ins allowed when we have capacity. We are open Wednesday-Sunday for Breakfast (7 to 11 a.m.), Lunch (11 a.m. to 2 p.m.), Afternoon Tea (2 to 5 p.m.), and Dinner (5 to 10 p.m.). We will explore take-out later in the summer. Go online at www.TheSocialVT.com to see menus and make a reservation, or call 223-0722.
MA: It’s our first time coming in. What do we need to order?
MD: For breakfast: dutch babies.
For lunch: any of our flat-pressed Focaccia sandwiches. Our Italian, Caprese, Turkey Bacon, and Meatball are some of my favorites.
For Dinner: our dry-aged New York strip with our Whipped Potatoes and our Brussels sprouts. Don’t forget dessert: try a slice of our Strawberry & Cream Bombe, a classic cake re-imagined.
MA: How about beverages?
MD: We have a curated list of about 20 wines that pair well with our menus, a lot of local beer offerings, and of course the usual domestic beers. More coming soon with our craft cocktails once we receive that licensure, we are excited about some of the riffs we can do on classics like old-fashioneds.
MA: Tell us about your team.
MD: In terms of team: we have focused on hiring experienced team members in both front and back of house. My experience is when you hire really great people and give them the room to make decisions and feel like a real part of a team, you build a wonderful culture. I already gush to others about how great the folks that work at The Social are.
MA: How have you found the Montpelier community?
MD: We have lived in Montpelier since early 2020 — pre-COVID — so having the opportunity to purchase the Inn and launch The Social was tremendous. We had decided to live in Montpelier before any of that. It’s very difficult to find a place (like Montpelier) that blends modern with a historical and welcoming community. Hubbard Park is a crown jewel. Almost anybody I talk to is friendly and helpful in some sort of way.
MA: What’s your guilty-pleasure food?
MD: Guacamole and chips (The Social has some wonderful gauc ...)
MA: Anything you’d like to add?
MD: Our goal is to be a place for locals in the community to eat at one or two times a week. We have priced our food and drink to reflect that. Make some time and sit on our veranda this summer.
Dan Groberg is the executive director of Montpelier Alive.