We came to a screeching halt last week on Route 15 in northern Vermont and pulled into a muddy driveway because we saw a homemade food trailer painted with a Holstein roof and sporting the name ''Burger Barn.'' Having spent a fair bit of time earlier this year researching burgers for ''Kings of the Grill," we were intrigued by this unlikely lunch spot.
This is the fourth year for the roadside eatery operated by Jud Gravel (at the grill) and Kierstin Colaceci (at the window). They use grass-fed local beef--Boyden Farm is only about a mile west--and have come up with 31 combinations of toppings. The hot burger for 2011 is the ''Nutty Goat,'' which features chevre, maple-crusted walnuts, caramelized onions, and a touch of mayonnaise. The biggest seller is the classic with lettuce, tomato, and a slice of red onion. In both cases, the star is the burger itself—amazing rich and beefy and surprisingly tender for such a lean patty. It might be the best burger we have tasted in Vermont. We'll be tasting others, no doubt, as we continue our research for Food Lovers' Guide to Vermont and New Hampshire.
Many of the customers are locals, ''and we get a lot of traffic from Smuggs,'' says Colaceci, referring to Smugglers Notch Resort. She's anticipating a great foliage season, and notes that the river across the highway from the Burger Barn has receded back into its banks. Finding the Burger Barn is no easy feat. When people call, Colaceci says she gives the GPS coordinates, though when we asked, we got the street address: 4968 Route 15, Jeffersonville, VT. Just go east a little over a mile from the intersection of routes 104 and 15. It's a long way to go, and worth the trip. But go now: Burger Barn is only open through October.
Burger Barn. 40968 Route 15, Jeffersonville, Vt., 802-730-3441. Burgers $5-$9.75.
Photos by David Lyon for the Boston Globe