Welcome to Zacks on the Rocks! An Eclectic Vermont Institution!

From the purple rocks outside this "off-the-wall" restaurant to coffee served with purple sugar, dining or staying at Zacks is an experience to be remembered. No one who comes here ever forgets that experience. Theatrics abound. During Christmas week, guests are escorted into the tiny, candlelit, three storey dining area by the proprietor dressed in an ermine robe, wearing a crown and ringing a cow bell.

Waitresses who have been there 20 years, (not quite as long as Zack himself who started here more than 30 years ago), serve the guests in nightgowns and slippers. It used to be BYOB, with drinks outside on the rocks, and waitresses in floor-length gowns and bo-beep hats.

Cosmopolitan magazine calls Zacks on the Rocks "outstanding and outrageous," The New York Times calls Zacks "curious and appealing." It's a "storybook setting," according to Vermont Life and "an oasis of gastronomic sophistication," according to SKI magazine. Gentlemen's Quarterly refers to it as "an unusual oasis."

The oasis is Hazen's Notch Road, Montgomery Center, 55 miles northeast of Burlington, and about 30 miles west of interstate 91. Zacks is close to the Canadian border. If you can find the big Jay Peak ski resort on a map, you can find Zacks. People drive for miles to come here, even going to the trouble of hiring limos for the evening.

Dining at Zacks

The dining room seats 34 on three levels. The room is filled with outlandish decorations that hang from the ceiling in a kaleidoscope of colors that set the scene for an evening of magic.

The menu comes on a brown bag, with the writing in purple ink. Chose from such items as chicken banana, escargots, veal kidneys, shrimp scampi, duckling, tournados bernaise, grilled salmon in brown butter and mushooms Monkey Center. Entrèes are around $17. Major credit cards accepted. Reservations are required. Tel: (802) 326-4500

There is more than one Zacks

Besides Zacks on the Rocks, you'll discover four other Zacks: After the Rocks is the bar. Off the Rocks is for Zack and his wife, Gussie. Then, there is 'Fore the Rocks - undoubtedly one of the smallest inns in Vermont. It's designed exclusively for a couple and costs $100 per night. 'Fore the Rocks sits off to one side in slight seclusion. Like the other buildings in the Zack compound (if one may call it that), it's a separate stucco building. Inside it contains a canopy bed, sunken tub, and fireplaces in the living room and bedroom. The windows reveal mountain views and a pond. Finally, there's Under the Rocks, the hillside gravesite that Jon Zachadnyk has selected in the local cemetery for himself and his wife.

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Copyright PB Publishing 1996