The Bee’s Knees, as local as dinner gets


Maxc Van Wie

A beckoning presence in Morrisville

Concerned not only for the health of their meals but also for the well being of the world, The Bee’s Knees restaurant in Morrisville, Vt., offers local farm fresh food and local drinks. Opened in 2003, The Bees’ Knees has been a creative way for the Caroli family, owners of the restaurant, to sell their personal farm’s produce and meats. The Caroli farm is a small farm in Wolcott that grows cage-free pork, chicken, eggs, and produce that is harvested practicing organic principles.

The red brick architecture on the outside of the building reminded me of an old fire house, but on the inside the local artwork, bright yellow and purple walls, and the inviting bar room with a small stage area circled in comfy old couches and chairs gave off a much more homey vibe than to be expected in a restaurant café.

My friend and I were seated in the dining room right outside the kitchen so we could see what was going on in there. Inside the kitchen, one man did all of the cooking for this particular afternoon. To prepare meals each day according to what was harvested at the farm, the cook had to be creative and think on his feet.

To drink we both ordered a certified free trade Cola made with raw sugar cane. Reading over the menu, everything sounded organically excellent and I was excited to make my decision. The menu was filled with affordable, organic options and catered to gluten-free and vegetarian eaters very well. Bee’s Knees classics included locally crafted meals such as Vermont Cheddar Macaroni and Cheese for $9.50, Tofu Burrito made with Vermont soy tofu for $12.95, and Blair’s Chicken Goat Cheese Pot Pie for $16.95 that is made using local free-roaming Misty Knoll chickens out of New Haven. Some of the specialty entrees offered this afternoon included the Applecheek Farm grass-fed organic Burger for $13.95 made with fresh bread from the Elmore Bread Company, and the Black Bean Burger made in house with Vermont cheddar and Elmore Bread Company bread.

When the waitress returned after only a few moments we placed our order. My friend and I decided to share the spinach dip for $7.50 to start with. We ordered this for comparison because we have ordered it at other restaurants in the area including 158 Main in Jeffersonville and the Smuggs Village Tavern. For dinner my friend ordered the soup and salad combo for seven dollars with the soup of the day that happened to be tortilla soup. I ordered the “Big Salad” for $10.50, with grilled salmon on top.

While we were admiring some of the local artwork and photos on the wall that were for sale, the waitress brought out a full loaf of local Elmore Bread Company pumpernickel that sat on the sides of a bowl full of a warm spread. The dip was creamy with sharp Parmesan taste and fresh steamed spinach. After finishing the whole loaf of bread there was still some of the dip left in the bottom of the bowl. When our waitress asked if we would like more bread to “finish up,” we welcomed the offer because the dish was delicious and quite possibly the best spinach dip I have had in the area yet.

My friend’s dinner came out and I could smell the heat from the tortilla soup. It was displayed in a large bowl next to a salad that looked crisp and chilled. The greens in the salad were from the Caroli farm. My salad came out in a huge bowl completely full. Looking at the salmon I was momentarily discouraged because the size of the cut was much smaller than I would have normally expected.

Biting into the salad I got a fork full of maple walnuts, dried cranberries, fresh greens, tomato, and goat cheese coated in homemade maple vinaigrette. For any North Country pescetarian, this is the equivalent of a perfectly grilled prime rib. Everything in this salad was so crisp and filling that the size of the salmon didn’t bother me as much. It also helped that the salmon was cooked very well with appetizing grill lines that flaked perfectly when cut into.

My friend said she enjoyed her tortilla soup even though it was quite spicy. She explained, “The spiciness didn’t over power the rest of the soups flavor.” She also enjoyed her salad because, like mine, it was coupled with the delicious maple vinaigrette dressing.

Another interesting aspect of this little restaurant is its dedication to the local music scene. While not able to pay for larger acts, the Bee’s Knees has catered to smaller local acts. Monthly music calendars are filled with upcoming acts and can be seen on the website,

The other night I made my way to the restaurant to check out one of the artists that plays there often. Ben Roy was performing on electric guitar accompanied by a special guest singer. The mood in the bar area was calming because of the dim lighting and easy going wait staff. Ben’s voice and guitar riffs filled the room nicely as he sat next to the piano that is permanently placed in the room. Everyone seemed to enjoy the music and food that night and the bar area did seem packed for a Wednesday.

It seems that this restaurant is determined to give back to the community in as many ways as possible. With amazing homemade food and local music nearly every night, the Bee’s Knees seems to situate itself in its own niche in Vermont.