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Make a Plate (and Eat From It, Too!) A Trip to Tip Top

Mar 19, 2014 11:37PM ● By Erin Frisch

Artfully designed and at the top of its class, Tip Top Pottery and Tip Top Café are a dynamic combo. The first is a studio to satisfy all your artistic whims. From kids’ ceramic-painting parties to Ladies Night Out, Tip Top Pottery plays host. Right next-door is the chic Tip Top Café, serving up gourmet dishes in a sleek yet organic manner. Come visit this corner of the newly vibrant and artistic White River Junction for your next outing.

Tip Top Pottery offers classes, events, and independent studio time for the skilled and the less skilled alike. Check out their hours and prepare for a great time. Stop by the studio. For a basic fee ($9 for adults and $7 for children), you can access brushes, sponges, stencils, kiln firing, and rows and rows of glazes. Select a bisque piece—anything from a piggy bank to a soap dish—slap on an apron, and dive in. Staff are on hand to offer advice from the creative to the technical. If you don’t finish before you have to leave, just cover your piece and come back another day. Leave your piece to be fired into a glossy finished product that you can pick up in a couple of days. To delve a little deeper into the world of art, take a workshop on Liquid Glass or wheel throwing. You may be surprised by a hidden passion for working with your hands.

For your child’s next birthday, schedule a Tip Top Pottery Party. Tip Top provides a party room where guests can snack, play, and, most importantly, design their own piece of art to take home. This is the ultimate party favor.

Looking for a mom-escape without the kids? Thursday night is Ladies Night at Tip Top. Treat yourself to dinner at the café next door, then paint the night away (until 10 pm, that is) Or, as the website suggests, “Bring friends, bring food, BYOB (we provide wine glasses), and have a great time!” At only $5 for studio access from 5pm to 10pm, the value is unbeatable.

After all that art, you’re sure to be hungry for something epicurean. Satisfy your cravings with the offerings at Tip Top Café. Even the parking lot here is artistic, with repurposed radiators serving as a metal fence. The café serves lunch and dinner. If you come in for lunch, you might sample the Tomato Basil Bisque with “tiny croutons,” a Falafel Gyro with local Vermont feta, or the famous Crispy Fries with Fresh Garlic Aioli, described simply as “crispy, garlicky, yummy.” Every item on the lunch menu is under $11, so you can indulge in a great meal AND bring home some self-painted pottery.

The café also provides a yummy pre-show dinner—ideal if you are attending an evening performance at Northern Stage down the street. You may find it hard to choose from the luscious dinner menu options. To start, try the Beet and Blood Orange Salad. For the entrée, you might like Ricotta Fried Dumplings topped with a preserved lemon salsa or, for a more carnivorous meal, try the Vermont Maple-Glazed Pork Belly. At Tip Top Café, no detail is left untouched. The chefs brilliantly pair locally sourced items with exotic recipes to provide dishes that could have floated out of New York City. Luckily, however, they are served to us in cold months, warming our bellies. And even with a full and happy tummy, you’ll probably want to stay for dessert. Alongside an espresso, finish off the night with Butterscotch Cheesecake, perhaps with a scoop of Strafford Creamery Vanilla Bean Ice Cream. You’ll plan to come back soon for more.

Whether you and your family and friends find inspiration in the surrounding art or your own art in the pottery studio, or enjoy a tantalizing lunch or dinner, your experience at Tip Top will be unique. You’ll want to return again and again to create more art and more memories.

What’s the most memorable piece you’ve created at Tip Top Pottery, or the most sensually exciting meal you’ve enjoyed at Tip Top Café?

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