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March 24, 2009

Best Bites: Rozzi's Lakeshore Tavern

Rozzi's Lakeshore Tavern

1022 West Lakeshore Drive, Colchester 863-2342

When I travel to a large city, I always try to hit the most pretentious, avant-garde restaurant around. "Air" served as part of a tasting menu? Count me in.

But I also appreciate creativity in more ordinary foods, which is why I like Rozzi's and its menu of 26 different hamburgers.  When I first saw a sign advertising this phenomenon, I assumed it would include “burger with lettuce,” “burger with lettuce and tomato,” and so on. Instead I found a menu loaded with the kinds of unusual patties that appear on menus throughout the country, but which I've never seen in Vermont. Ever hear of a Guber Burger? Invented at the Wheel-Inn in Sedalia, MO, this Midwest specialty features melted gooey, peanut butter atop the meat. Rozzi’s also has a Breakfast Burger, Red Hot Cheeseburger and most believe it or not, an Escargot Burger.

But I craved an Elvis Burger ($7.99). The half-pound of beef came cooked exactly medium — what the French call “a point.” Slathered in peanut butter and topped with three banana halves, I worried that the usual lettuce and tomato would interfere with the experience. Au contraire. The bananas and fruity tomato paired brilliantly.

Another revelation was the plate of Chicken Sliders ($6.99). The tiny, southern-fried sandwiches accurately mimicked the long-since-discontinued favorite of my childhood, KFC’s Chicken Littles. No other chicken slider matched them until now.

Next time, I might spring for brunch, which is always available, and inlcudes Tie-Dyed Pancakes (with M&Ms), biscuits and gravy and Kahlua French Toast. But what really looms is “The Dozer.” It's composed of two, one-pound patties, and you win a T-shirt if you eat the whole thing. I want that shirt.

My ladyfriend and I stopped by Rozzi's a couple of days ago and have fallen in love with it. Great food, great pricing and a friendly staff. My mission is to try each and every burger on the menu.

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