Best of NH 2021 Desserts, Ice Cream Stands, Coffee & Bakeries

Get your caffeine fix, treat the kids (and yourself) to decadent ice cream, indulge in a slice of pie or pick up some locally made artisanal chocolate. These winners have all the guilty pleasures.

Editor’s Picks

Elevated Comfort Food


Southern comforts meet Northeast taste at The Sassy Biscuit Co. in Dover. The goal? Bring big-city living to small-town plates. And Jilan Hall-Johnson and DeMarco Johnson do just that. The team believes in “the magnificence of the biscuit,” and brings it out through creating both savory and sweet flavors complete with a twist of innovation and bit of elevation. The menu is centered around their special recipe and unique technique for biscuits, waffles and pancakes, which you can see in items like spooned cakes, griddled cakes, pressed shortcakes and more. Pro tip: Don’t forget to check out their dinner alter-ego, Jook Nights on Thursday through Saturday from 3 to 9 p.m.

New Neighborhood Bakery

Jon During The Competition Scaled

Jon Buatti had some beloved shoes to fill when he purchased Michelle’s Gourmet Pastries and Deli in Manchester. Happily, his Bearded Baking Co. is a hit, and the tradition of delicious baked goods continues at this Union Street shop. It probably didn’t hurt that not long after purchasing the bakery he made it through five episodes of “Holiday Baking Championship” on the Food Network. He may not have won the $25,000 grand prize, but his skills were on full display during his impressive run.


Macarons are not easy to make, and even harder to make exactly right, as these delightful French confections are finicky and time-intensive. Lucky for us, Sweet! Macarons owner Lindsay LaRouche moved from Florida to New Hampshire and set up shop last February on Grove Street in Peterborough. Flavors range from the more traditional, like chocolate and vanilla, to creative, including churro, s’mores, Baileys Irish Cream, key lime pie or creamsicle. Here your imagination (and taste-bud tolerance) is the limit, as she takes special orders. An added bonus: Since they’re made with almond flour, most are gluten-free.

Confection Kingdom

A trip to Lickee’s & Chewy’s Candies and Creamery is an unforgettable, immersive experience. Just ask Igor — the dragon that guards the front door of this fantastical space in the Cocheco Mills in Dover. A magic hums throughout the place, creating an atmosphere that’s part Willy Wonka’s chocolate factory, part Hogsmeade and part Walt Disney World. Immerse yourself in a fantasy world while indulging in outrageous chocolates, candy, ice cream and massive King Shakes — a range of chilled libations piled high with candy, cookies, nuts, sprinkles, chocolate shavings, chips and chunks.

Coffee for Commoners

One thing we’ve all learned from the pandemic is that we appreciate the whole concept of “normal” a lot more now. And among the many things we love that have grown far too exotic is that basic morning fuel we call the common cup of coffee. Variety is important, but so is consistency and the careful calibration of heat and coffee bean to produce a sweet, nutty, caffeine-infused moment of perfection every morning. The New Hampshire Coffee Roasting Co. has this balance figured out perfectly. Founded as Piscataqua Coffee Roasters back in 1989, the company moved to its current location in Dover and has been a family enterprise ever since, gradually becoming the default bean at many of the state’s best restaurants. You can also order it directly from them at their website. We recommend the sturdy Soprano Dark Roast and, if you insist on getting fancy, try their maple syrup-flavored roast with your pancakes.

Bakery Bread

Anyone who’s been to the award-winning Greenleaf restaurant in Milford knows how delish the bread is. So, when owner/executive chef Chris Viaud opened nearby Culture featuring his breads, it was an instant hit. The from-scratch kitchen offers fresh-baked breads, artisan sandwiches and housemade pastries. A lot of people agree with one satisfied patron who said, “So glad to have such great food without having to drive to Boston.” Why is it called Culture? Yes, it’s bread-related. Think sourdough.

Readers’ Poll Winners


Overall winner
Harvey’s Bakery and Coffee Shop

Overall Multilocation Regional winner
Frederick’s Pastries
Multiple Locations

Bakery Concord Area
Bread & Chocolate

Bakery Dartmouth/Lake Sunapee Region
Blue Loon Bakery
New London

Bakery Great North Woods Region
Polish Princess Bakery

Bakery Lakes Region
Yum Yum Shop

Bakery Manchester Area
Bearded Baking Co.

Bakery Monadnock Region

Bakery Nashua Area
Buckley’s Bakery & Café
Merrimack and Hollis

Bakery Salem Area
Klemm’s Bakery

Bakery Seacoast Region
Popovers on the Square
Epping and Portsmouth

Bakery White Mountains Region
Red Wagon Bakery

Breakfast Place

Overall winner
The Purple Finch Café

Overall Multilocation Local winner

Multiple Locations

Breakfast Place Concord Area
The Windmill Restaurant

Breakfast Place Dartmouth/Lake Sunapee Region
Lou’s Restaurant & Bakery


Breakfast Place Great North Woods Region
The Wilderness Restaurant


Breakfast Place Lakes Region
The Farmer’s Kitchen


Breakfast Place Manchester Area
Poor Boy’s Diner


Breakfast Place Manchester Multilocation Regional
The Friendly Toast

Bedford and Portsmouth

Breakfast Place Monadnock Region
The Riverhouse Café


Breakfast Place Monadnock Region Multilocation Local
The Red Arrow 24 Hr Diner

Multiple Locations

Breakfast Place Nashua Area
Suzie’s Diner


Breakfast Place Salem Area


Breakfast Place Salem Area Multilocation Local
MaryAnn’s Diner

Derry, Salem and Windham

Breakfast Place Seacoast Region
Big Bean Café

Durham and Newmarket

Breakfast Place Seacoast Region Multilocation Regional
The Friendly Toast
Bedford and Portsmouth

Breakfast Place White Mountains Region
Polly’s Pancake Parlor

Sugar Hill

Coffee Roaster

Wayfarer Coffee Roasters

Coffee Roaster Multilocation Local
A&E Coffee & Tea

Amherst, Goffstown and Manchester

Coffee Shop

Coffee Shop Overall Winner

Flight Coffee Co.


Coffee Shop Overall Multilocation Local
A&E Coffee & Tea

Amherst, Goffstown and Manchester

Coffee Shop Concord Area
Revelstoke Coffee


Coffee Shop Dartmouth/Lake Sunapee Region
Lucky’s Coffee Garage


Coffee Shop Great North Woods Region
The Granite Grind


Coffee Shop Lakes Region
Wayfarer Coffee Roasters


Coffee Shop Manchester Area
Café La Reine


Coffee Shop Monadnock Region
Union Coffee Company

Coffee Shop Nashua Area
Riverwalk Café & Music Bar


Coffee Shop Salem Area
The Grind


Coffee Shop Seacoast Region
Adelle’s Coffeehouse


Coffee Shop White Mountains Region
Metropolitan Coffee House

North Conway


Granite State Candy Shoppe
Concord and Manchester


Queen City Cupcakes


Jacques Fine European Pastries

Cakes Multilocation Regional

Frederick’s Pastries
Bedford, Amherst and North Andover, Mass.

Ice Cream

Ice Cream Overall Winner
Hayward’s Ice Cream

Ice Cream Concord Area
Arnie’s Place


Ice Cream Dartmouth/Lake Sunapee Region
Sanctuary Dairy Farm Ice Cream


Ice Cream Great North Woods Region
Moose Alley Cones


Ice Cream Lakes Region
Jordan’s Ice Creamery


Ice Cream Manchester Area
Puritan Backroom


Ice Cream Monadnock Region
The Walpole Creamery

Walpole and Keene

Ice Cream Monadnock Region Multilocation Local
Kimball Farm

Jaffrey and Mass. Locations

Ice Cream Nashua Area
The Big 1 Ice Cream Stand

Ice Cream Salem Area
Moo’s Place Homemade Ice Cream

Derry and Salem

Ice Cream Seacoast Region
Lago’s Ice Cream


Ice Cream White Mountains Region
Bishops Homemade Ice Cream



Red Wagon Bakery

Pies Multilocation Local
Red Arrow 24 Hr Diner
Multiple Locations


Donut Love
Exeter and North Hampton

Categories: Best of NH Winners