The Republic Café

You are invited to gather for coffee and much, much more. The Republic Café reminds me of a Seattle village café or a neighborhood eatery in Europe. Comfortable. Simple. Local.The hardwood floors are dark and worn. Hanging white lights recall forgotten schoolrooms. The 18-seat bar is soda fountain grey marble. You can eat at the bar as I did, at a table or in a back booth. There’s an open kitchen and a nearby blackboard scrawled with specials.Republic’s healthy Mediterranean menu includes local meats and farm-fresh cheeses. Hot and cold antipasti prices invite you to try one or two, or make a meal as I did. Panini, salads and flatbreads plus several dinner entrées round out the offerings.I began with the roasted beet salad — chunks of beets mixed with orange/grapefruit sections, toasted hazelnuts, mint, parmesan and light oil. It was excellent. I paired it with the house wine, a Washington State Chardonnay. By count there were 12 wines by the taste, glass or half-liter, more by the bottle. I also ordered a basket of tasty, moist, mildly herbed focaccia.Mussels Provençal followed, a hot antipasto that arrived steaming with tomatoes, shaved fennel, garlic and dill, all in perfect balance. The savory broth got sopped up with my remaining focaccia.For dessert I couldn’t resist the loukoumades. These light morsels of dough, deep-fried and dripping with honey and pistachios, are the Greek version of French beignets. Service was good with a knowledgeable staff. The Republic Café, owned by Ed Aloise and Claudia Rippee, is dedicated to farm-to-table sustainability. The couple also own the Milltowne Grille at Manchester/Boston Regional Airport, where they offer diners made-from-scratch entrées. Republic is open forbreakfast (coffee and house-made baked goods), lunch or dinner — seven days a week. Try it!— Frisky Stal
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