Our first visit was an exercise in checking off menu choices on a menu choice paper, without having any clue as to how much anything cost. The sandwich was good when I got it but I was told they were out of potato salad as a side, so how to explain that potato salad which arrived with my husband's choice on the menu sheet. The staff seemed so overwhelmed I decided not to even ask, and when we learned that this was only the second day of the new establishment we thought well they will get the bugs out and it will be better and they will have the umbrellas for the tables on the deck, and we can still enjoy that magnificent view. Clearly marketing the new Trapp Lager is their new venture and I did enjoy the beer. Doing away with the gift shop to make more room for the deli is a pity. I was much more inclined to buy something there than in the basement of the Lodge itself, it was much more fun to browse.
We returned again late July, my husband really wanted the strudel which was always the best at the Austrian Tea House. The white menu paper was now in the hands of an order taker and there was a menu with prices, to be picked up as one arrived at the cash but not while one was in line. The choices seemed more limited especially for what went in a sandwich and we were not given a choice of bread, which is usual when ordering a sandwich. No sign of the strudel and the young man at the cash thought they were out. Once our order was in, the staff brought it to us, on regular china, not paper plates which was nice, but they were really running trying to keep everyone accommodated, even one of the cooks was serving. Why not just have regular wait staff as they had had before I thought. Some tables were on the grass below and looking down I spotted apple strudel!!! We apprehended someone as they rushed past who told us that yes the strudel was in the kitchen and would we like some? We had already eaten a fabulous strawberry shortcake so no room for strudel. My sandwich was average, $10.50 seemed expensive for what I got, generous amount of meat but not much else and the bread was bland. The cakes and pastries are exceptional and the coffee was good, but they still have work to do on their process.
If you loved The Austrian Tea House it is no more but the ugly picnic tables on the deck from last summer have been replaced by the regular tables and umbrellas, the beer is good, the deserts are wonderful, and perhaps the rest of the menu will return to the previous high standard we remembered, and the view is still wonderful.
P,S, We always liked to end the day with a visit to the Lodge Gardens which are now off limits to all except hotel guests. The garden police apprehended us ( could my Vermont outfit have given me away?) and we found that even the kitchen gardens were off limits. This kind of exclusivity doesn't seem to be in the spirit of Vermont, after all we had just patronized one of the Trapp Family establishments. That strudel may attract us back......?