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Mangalitsa Bringing Farm to Table to Life in Woodstock

Mar 24, 2022 02:21PM ● By By Pamela Brown. Photography by Lynn Bohanon (unless otherwise noted).

Chef Scott Ryan plates smoked monkfish chowder.

Food, farming, and wine. This trifecta serves Matt Lombard well. As owner of Mangalitsa, a farm to table restaurant on Central Street, and longtime farmer and wine enthusiast, Matt brings his three interests together. “It’s been a vision of mine. I’ve always dreamed of owning a restaurant and having a farm, and I like wine. They all support each other,” says Matt, who raises about 70 percent of the food served at the restaurant on nearby Peace Field Farm, including pork and produce. Beef is sourced from local farms. Entrees are complemented by the wine he sells at his recently opened Decant Wine Shop.

Local and Seasonal Cuisine

Mangalitsa menu jacket.

Opened in 2017, Mangalitsa offers locally sourced New American fare. A year-round dish is its Mangalitsa pork, featuring what Matt describes as the Kobe beef of pork. “Our chef prepares it in a number of different ways accompanied by seasonal farm products. The expertly crafted cuisine is centered around seasonality, and our menu changes frequently to reflect what’s current,” says Matt. Dishes features produce harvested from his nearby farm, including different kinds of cabbage, cauliflower, and brussels sprouts; sweet corn; up to eight varietals of tomatoes; hearty greens, such as endive, radicchio, kale, and Swiss chard; and dry beans. He also grows microgreens for garnish and is experimenting with dry tea.

“We’re able to be farm to table even in winter because we extend our harvest by keeping the produce fresh by various methods, such as pickling and curing. Plus we grow a lot of storage crops and root vegetables. I like to see people caught off guard knowing that of the 16 vegetables we serve, I grew 14 of them,” he says, noting they rarely waste anything. “People never grasp how exceedingly farm to table we can be, especially with the state of Vermont being so close to farms.”

Roasted cauliflower, Vermont Farmstead Cheese Company aged cheddar, beer mustard, sage, apple, and rye crisp.


The Whole Package

At the height of the pandemic, Matt closed for a year, focused his energy on the farm, and regrouped, and today business is better than ever. He emphasizes the importance of a dedicated staff. “They’re like family. It’s about the people there with you and on top of that the local following that has kept us alive,” he says. “I’m hospitality driven. Hospitality and cuisine work hand in hand. The interior is very warm and inviting. There’s an authentic barnboard wall that people love. I put a strong emphasis on how we treat others. I want guests to feel they’ve had a unique dining experience from start to finish. It’s about the whole package.”

In mid-January, across the hall, Matt opened Decant Wine Shop, managed by his best friend Keven Ring, a certified sommelier. “At Mangalitsa we serve great wines and I always wanted to offer them outside the restaurant,” he explains. The shop carries wine from a local producer in Vermont and a unique selection from wineries around the world. “We source wine only from winemakers who make wine as a form of agriculture—with a sense of place; staying true to its varietal, region, and history; and growing good quality grapes that translate into good wine.” The shop also sells pork products, a selection of prepared food, and charcuterie. “There’s a lot of walking traffic in this town and it gives the townspeople and tourists an opportunity to grab and go, get some wine and snacks and sit and eat on the Green.”


Matt Lombard, owner of Decant Wine Shop and Mangalitsa.

A longtime Vermont resident, Matt remains community-focused. “My first job was in a restaurant kitchen that used to be in this same building. I love this town and I want to be here forever,” he says. “As a resident and a business owner, I feel there’s an obligation to uphold the needs of this town. Woodstock is a destination, and my goal is to offer multiple unique experiences.” Matt is on his way to fulfilling that dream when he opens a second restaurant downstairs. It will offer small plates and also feature seasonal homegrown ingredients. “I love a challenge. There’s no hiding I’ve bitten off a lot,” says Matt, who’s living the phrase “go big or go home.”

“Having gotten through everything, I feel we’ve definitely been successful and the reputation we built is something I never imagined. The restaurant has been so well received. The demand is through the roof—it’s pretty amazing!”

Mangalitsa and Decant Wine Shop
61 Central Street, 2nd Floor
Woodstock, VT

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