So, what are you having for dinner, Eileen McGuckin?—Thyme Restaurant
“Not your grandmother’s . . .”
You are seated at a table at Thyme Restaurant in White River Junction, Vermont. A server appears. What are you ordering from the menu, and why?
Owner Eileen McGuckin would direct the server with a single word: meatloaf. By way of explanation, she produced a groanful (yet evidence-based) pun: “It has stood the test of Thyme.” And . . .
“It has been on my menu since I bought the restaurant and before that. It is as popular as ever. It is made with pork and ginger then grilled and sometimes is mistaken for steak. It is a twist on an old favorite and is a very approachable item for many guests.
Customers have said "this is definitely not your grandmother's meatloaf".
Thyme Restaurant just celebrated its 9th anniversary under Eileen’s ownership, though she worked there for many years before when it was known as the Tip Top Cafe. She shares the challenge of running Thyme with her life partner of more than 20 years and Thyme’s chef, Francisco Guerra. “We have a shared passion for the business and vision for where we want to be,” she says. Of their collaboration: “Two heads are better than one. We have different strengths and skills which compliment each other very well.”
You’ll see Eileen at the front of the house. Francisco is in the kitchen. How does he decide what else in on the menu?
“We . . . offer a more limited menu with some favorites and other items that vary every week . . . Our menu is inspired by the availability of local and seasonal products and positive feedback from guests regarding presentation and combination of ingredients.”
(Photos courtesy of Eileen McGuckin and Thyme. For more information and a browse of the menu, click the hyperlink in the first line of this post.)
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Susan B. Apel shuttered a lifelong career as a law professor to continue an interest (since kindergarten) in writing. Her freelance business, The Next Word, includes literary and feature writing; her work has appeared in a variety of lit mags and other publications including Art New England, The Woven Tale Press, The Arts Fuse, and Persimmon Tree. She connects with her neighbors through Artful, her blog about arts and culture in the Upper Valley. She’s in love with the written word.