Best of NH 2014 Delis, Catering, Cafés, Lunch and Breakfast
Enjoy a Sunday morning at the best brunch spot, head to the local deli for great sandwiches, find the best caterer for your next party and much more.
From left: Editor's Pick The Squam Lake Inn and Squam Lake Marketplace, Reader's Poll Winner the Tuckaway Butchery, Editor's Pick the Stairway Cafe and Editor's Pick 12 Pine. Photos by Susan Laughlin.
Artisanal Soups: Natalia Strong at the Soup Gallery in Concord (715-1496) is a hidden oasis for a downtown healthy meal. The eatery is technically on Main Street, but the official and beautiful entry with outdoor seating is through Capitol Plaza. Soups make the meal even in summer when chilled options are available including pineapple gazpacho, cherry lemon zest and sweet pea and arugula. Savor summer by the sip.
BLT: Squam Lake Inn in Holderness has a BLT to beat the band. The bacon is thick and smoky, the tomato is tasty and the lettuce is, well, lettuce. It's all mounted on a delightful sourdough bread for lunch. For dinner, find it loaded with lobster. The bacon version is also available at the Squam Lake Marketplace, formerly the Holderness General Store. P.S. Grab a dozen pistachio cookies for the road – they'll be gone before you hit I-93.
Jazz Brunch with Italian Flair: If you love jazz and good food (especially together), Dante’s Bistro Bar & Grill in Barrington is the spot for you. On Sundays from 10 a.m.-2 p.m., you can feast on stuffed crêpes, French toast waffles, frittatas, eggs Benedict and more while you’re listening to some cool jazz. The brunch takes a hiatus during the summer, but you can catch it starting in the fall.
Locally Sourced Diner: This is not your grandfather’s diner food. At Roger’s Redliner Diner in Portsmouth, they serve up dishes that start with whole, raw foods and top grades of meat, and scratch-cook them into what they call “familiar, home-style” meals — French toast (breakfast all day), chili burgers, turkey melts and more. The owner, Roger, also owns Me & Ollie’s Bakery, so you know the breads, rolls and burger buns are super good.
Lunch Spot: If you can’t decide what to have for lunch, being at Twelve Pine in Peterborough won’t help. You stare into the Chef’s Deli case and ponder the two dozen selections, all looking delish. Roast pork loin with leek sauce? Roast Asian vegetables? Grilled salmon? Making the decision harder is the nearby sandwich bar with deli meats, cheeses, veggies and breads, ready to be made into a grilled panini. Once you decide, grab some fresh-brewed coffee or espresso, and head for a table on the porch or stay in the café, where you’re surrounded by specialty foods, fresh flowers and other goodies, all tempting you to take them home.
Roast Beef Sandwich: Sometimes beauty is not in the décor. At the old-school eatery Beefside in Concord, revel in the layers of succulent beef piled high on the bulky roll. The Giant has six ounces of beef, and if you order a Super, it comes with lettuce, tomato, mayo and American cheese. After all, isn’t beauty in the tastebuds of the beholder?
Steak Tips: After four generations in the meat business, how could Mr. Steer steak tips not be the best? Perfectly marinated USDA Prime and Choice Angus beef (no tenderizers here), the steak tips (six different kinds) are a summer cookout favorite. If you’re looking to grill something different, try their just-as-delicious lamb tips. People travel to the Londonderry store from all over the area — so many people, in fact, Mr. Steer sells 5,000 pounds of marinated meats each and every week during the summer.
Tiny Local Lunch Spot: This New Castle charmer is where the locals meet for breakfast or gather for lunch — it’s part market and part café ooh la la. Ana Gabriela runs Henrys’ Market Café with passion and purpose. A tiny garden in back supplies produce and herbs in season and even out, when she opens a jar of preserved Brussels sprouts. Breakfast is a simple affair with fresh baked goods and fresh-squeezed orange juice. Lunch is giant steps above the typical corner store offerings. Even the simple is sublime — grilled cheese with bacon, roasted cauliflower and Gruyère cheese on roasted garlic ciabatta. Swoon.
Wild Breakfast: Bacon — that’s probably your choice of meat to go with your morning eggs. But, at the Stairway Café in North Conway, you can get way more adventurous. There, you can order sausage made with venison, elk, smoked duck or buffalo. Even wild boar. They all have a unique flavoring, like Merlot wine and blueberries with the venison, pears and Port with the elk, and cranberries and Shiraz with the wild boar.