Bullwinkle's or Bust

by Gabrielle Martin

Bullwinkle’s Bistro is the resort’s signature on-mountain restaurant, located on the west side off Windrow Trail and providing guests with a dining experience that offers ski in/ski out convenience paired with the authentic character, comfort, and warmth of an alpine lodge, plus views that can’t be beat.

Step inside for a sit-down lunch by the fire or thaw-out drink at the bar, or opt to remain outside and get some sun on the restaurant’s wrap-around deck—the choice is yours. Whether you’re venturing in for a quick bite in-between runs or for the full dining experience, you’ll undeniably be enjoying an American-style menu in an unforgettable, uniquely Sugarloaf setting. Long-time Loafers will tell you it’s tradition to stop here midway through your day for one of their famous Bloodies, a beer, or a bowl of Smoked Sausage and White Chicken Chili ($14), which is “stick-to-your-ribs” satisfying.

At Bullwinkle’s, you’re invited to enjoy après at a different altitude: come here to immerse yourself in an iconic atmosphere embodying the spirit of mountain life.

Interior of Bullwinkle's Bistro, showing the restaurant's floor-to-ceiling windows and high ceilings 

The interior of the bistro maintains all the coziness of a chalet while still being brightly lit with natural light, which can be credited to floor-to-ceiling windows; you’ll find several sprawling rooms of seating options, plus a full bar, inside. The walls are decorated with an assortment of colorful Sugarloaf paraphernalia from days-gone-by, acknowledging the resort—and the restaurant’s—rich history.

While Bullwinkle’s is a Sugarloaf staple, both the bar and food offerings received an renovation for the ’21-22 season, meaning even seasoned regulars at the restaurant can find something new on the updated menu. Last week I had the pleasure of test-tasting several new additions on the bistro’s dining scene, starting with the Golden Road cocktail. 

Bullwinkle's Golden Road craft cocktail

The Golden Road ($13), named not only for its yellow coloring but as a nod to the trail providing access to backcountry terrain in Bracket Basin all the way to Burnt Mountain, is made with Tito’s, St. Elder, ginger beer, orange juice, cranberries, and thyme. This delicious drink, which tastes of citrus-y Christmas, will warm you, whatever the weather—including the brisk 2 below at the time of my tasting.

Other new cocktail offerings include:

  • the Mexican Mule ($12)—Hornitos, ginger beer, lime juice
  • Candyside ($13)—Screwball Peanut Butter Whiskey, Baileys, hot chocolate, whipped cream
  • Powder Keg ($13)— Screwball Peanut Butter Whiskey, Godiva Chocolate Liquor, milk, peanut butter drizzle
  • Misery Whip ($13)—Stoli Salted Karamel, Baileys, pumpkin syrup, coffee, whipped cream, sprinkled cinnamon 

Bullies Toddies are alcoholic beverages served warm, such as the Skidder ($13), which consists of four ingredients: Maker’s Mark, honey, lemon wedge for a citrus splash, and piping hot water. This combination is downright divine and as soul-soothing as a cup of tea. I really appreciated the simplicity of the Skidder, artfully assembled to be an excellent cure for any of-age and cold skier or rider.

Bullwinkle's Golden Road and Skidder from their Bullies Toddies

Also on the Bullies Toddies menu are:

  • Kentucky NyQuil ($13)—Maker’s Mark, honey, ginger syrup, lemon, hot water
  • Double Bitter ($14)—Maker’s Mark, apple pumpkin syrup, maple syrup, lemon, bitters, hot water, cinnamon stick
  • Wind Hold ($14)—Knob Creek, maple cinnamon jalapeno syrup, lemon, hot water


Bullwinkle's Bloodies 

Of course, not everything is new: the bistro continues to serve many of its iconic items, such as their legendary Bloody Marys. These are a one-stop-cure-all for the Sunday Scaries, or any kind of ailment (okay, disclaimer, I am not a doctor, so not any kind, but you know what I mean).

Bullwinkle’s Bloodies are made with Tito’s, though for a fee, you can choose to substitute with Grey Goose or Kettle One. They come in a variety of ways, from Classic ($13), with olive, pepperoncini, dilly bean, and celery, to Cajun ($14), served with Creole spice and jumbo shrimp.

You can also order your Bloody:

  • Classic with Bacon ($13)
  • Sweet and Spicy ($13)—jalapeno simple syrup, candied jalapenos
  • Bloody Scotsman ($14)—Dewar’s White Label, bacon, classic toppings

In the drink department, Bullwinkle’s also boasts an eleven-beer draft menu plus a wide selection of local and domestic canned beers as well as wines (by the glass or canned) and hard seltzers; as for food, I began my exploration of the appetizers on the menu by first ordering the Yard Sale ($15), a heaping serving of layered waffle fries, creamy nacho cheese, sour cream, and crunchy candied bacon.

Bullwinkle's Yard Sale loaded waffle fries

Following this decadent dish of carb-y, cheese-y goodness, I split a plate of the chicken fingers ($14), which come with curly fries (yes, I followed my first course of fries with a second course side of fries) and your choice of dipping sauce. Now, call me silly, but I think you can tell a lot about a restaurant by their chicken fingers—plus, they’re a classic ski day lodge lunch.

Bullwinkle's Chicken Fingers

The chicken fingers at Bullwinkle’s are crispy, tender, and certain to be a crowd-pleaser, whether you’re five or fifty-five.

Looking for leafy greens? Bullwinkle’s has three different salad selections to choose from; introducing the all-new Baja Salad ($17), served with cilantro lime, white and red quinoa, barley, wild ride, wheatberry, smoked paprika, roasted cauliflower, pickled onion, black beans, cotija cheese, red cabbage, romaine, and chimichum vinaigrette.


Ski boots repurposed for interior decoration at Bullwinkle's Bistro 

Seeking something more classic? Try the bistro’s take on Caesar Salad ($17), which is made with roasted Brussel sprouts, romaine, parmesan cheese, crispy chickpeas, and Caesar dressing, or their Spinach Salad ($15), made with roasted squash, pumpkin seeds, beets, feta cheese, and green goddess dressing. 

  • Add chicken or falafel ($7), salmon ($9)

Now, onto the entrees! Bullwinkle’s mains consist of burgers and sandwiches, which come with chips and a pickle. 

  • Add sweet potato fries, curly fries, or coleslaw ($4)

Here, you’ll find fresh takes on timeless lunch fare, from the Classic Beef Burger ($21) and Pulled Rueben ($21) to the Steak & Cheese ($22); my personal picks are the All Day Breakfast Sandwich ($17), which comes with double egg, double cheese, thick cut bacon or hand-thrown blueberry sausage patty. If Maine is the state version of “the way life should be,” this the way breakfast sandwiches should be.

Also in the mix is the Buffalo Chicken Panini ($19), served with a 4-cheese blend spread, scallions, and buffalo roasted chicken, and the fabulous Falafel ($19) entrée, which combines pickled onion with shredded red cabbage, sprouts, candied jalapenos, and chili tahini sauce, and comes with grilled naan bread—and don’t forget about the Salmon Burger ($23), featuring kimchi, a fried egg, sprouts, and gochujang aioli.

Bullwinkle's Falafel sandwich

At Bullwinkle's, enjoy a bite to eat without leaving the higher elevations, best-paired with hungry and thirsty friends or family; this is the perfect place to rehash your on-hill adventures over hearty, filling fare, share stories of ski trips of seasons past, and enjoy the experience of mountainside dining with an authentically alpine ambiance. Lucky for you, this Bistro is open daily all winter from 9:00am to 3:30pm.

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