Guide to Brunch

Whether you’re looking for a little hair of the dog via bloody mary or an elegant buffet with oysters and champagne, there’s a brunch in New Hampshire that hits just the right spot.

It’s a beautiful day, it’s a rainy day, it’s Mother’s Day. On any given Sunday, there are abundant reasons to indulge in a mid-day celebration. Whether à la carte or buffet, a Sunday (and sometimes Saturday) meal can satisfy a large group or intimate duo with sweet and savory choices that start with a nice, bubbly mimosa or hearty bloody mary. The following guide is organized by type of brunch, from casual to fun to fancy to the best fit for your mood. Only restaurants with a special menu for brunch are included.

From Whence Cometh Brunch?

The origins of brunch are actually quite amusing and make a fun conversation starter next time you’re sitting at a breakfast table with friends and an alcoholic beverage in hand.

According to Mental Floss (once a real magazine, now a website), the concept of brunch was first proposed by the British writer Guy Beringer as a remedy for the all-too-common Sunday morning hangover. The usual heavy fare of meat pies and eggs that constituted a traditional English breakfast could be eased into with some lighter pastries, a mood of serenity, and, should it be needed, a little hair of the dog that bit you. A single repast, mid-morning, meant one less meal to prepare (in case a nap was desired). And it made the ideal setting for friends to share their decadent tales from the previous evening. Mental Floss quotes Beringer himself: “Brunch is cheerful, sociable and inciting. It is talk-compelling. It makes you satisfied with yourself and your fellow beings.”

So, whether it’s two dudes discussing debauchery or simply mom and mémère out for an elegant meal, let’s lift a glass (or a teacup) to the best meal ever invented.

Elegant Brunch Dining

A mid-day meal at a sophisticated restaurant gives one a chance to explore options, and to get the feel of the ambiance and quality that an evening meal could provide.

Bone marrow and fried eggs with white beans, thyme, bacon, grilled baguette and pickled herbs for $19 at Pine at the Hanover Inn.

Pine, Hanover

A multimillion-dollar renovation a few years ago transformed the dowdy Hanover Inn into a stunning modern space complete with Pine, a sleek-yet-rustic restaurant. Brunch offers some of the most inventive food in New Hampshire prepared by Chef Justin Dain. He was recently honored with the opportunity to present a meal at the James Beard House in New York City. The menu also includes their famous super-juicy burger and the on-trend “toasts,” local sourdough slices that are grilled and topped with lemon-scented shrimp or braised short ribs with roasted shallots and a parsnip purée.

Get There
When: Sat-Sun, 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Where: Hanover Inn, 2 E Wheelock St., Hanover
Contact: (603)

More Choices

Granite Restaurant & Bar at the Centennial Hotel
96 Pleasant St., Concord
(603) 227-9000,
7 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Offering a special Mother’s Day buffet brunch from 10 a.m.-3 p.m., $45

Epoch Restaurant & Bar at the Exeter Inn
90 Front St., Exeter
10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
(603) 778-3762,
Offering a special Mother’s Day buffet brunch, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., $49.99 for adults and $14.99 for kids 12 and under

Bedford Village Inn
2 Olde Bedford Way, Bedford
(603) 472-2001,
Saturday and Sunday on the porch from 9 2 p.m.
Offering a special Mother’s Day buffet brunch, $59 per person, $29.95 for children (plus tax and gratuity).

Oak & Grain at the Inn at Pleasant Lake
853 Pleasant St., New London
(603) 873-4833,
Regular Sunday brunch begins with a cocktail reception at 11:30 a.m. with seating at 12 p.m., $35

The Grazing Room at the Colby Hill Inn
33 The Oaks St., Henniker
(603) 428-3281,
11 a.m.-5 p.m., $39.50 for adults and $19.50 for kids

Grand Brunch Buffets

If you don’t want to make decisions based on a menu description and you have a hearty appetite, then the buffet brunch is for you. All your favorites are there, whether you crave seafood, made-to-order omelets or tender waffles soaked in real maple syrup. Dig in!

Seafood, omelets and champagne can all be found at the Bubbles & Jazz Sunday brunches at the Wentworth by the Sea Hotel.

Wentworth by the Sea, New Castle

Yes, I’ll have another mimosa! Why not, they keep pouring them while you make yet another trip to the generous buffet display. The raw bar goes above and beyond oysters and cocktail shrimp with the addition of a few marinated seafood salads. I’m not sure why the dessert display is so prominent, but it’s probably just a reminder to save room for a slice of decadent chocolate cake, a few spoonfuls of pudding or a cookie slipped into your pocket. In between, find carving and omelet stations, plus hot shrimp simmering in a saucepan. Oh yes, there’s a three-piece jazz group on stage to help you relax into the day.

Get There
When: Bubbles & Jazz Sunday Brunch in the Wentworth Grand Dining Room from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., grander displays on Mother’s Day
Where: 588 Wentworth Rd., New Castle
(603) 422-7322,

The Foundry’s corned beef hash, pork ribs and sticky buns are can’t-miss items.

The Foundry, Manchester

Start with the freshly shucked oysters, shrimp cocktail and smoked salmon before moving onto a healthy mixed green salad. OK, now dive into Chef Provencher’s succulent corned beef hash and pork ribs. Yes, take a few more. Also, find an omelet station, local bacon, gooey mac ’n’ cheese, buttery sticky buns and, on the dessert station, house-made donuts, glazed and embedded with a few chocolate chips. As with most things, selections vary by the season. The tasty bloody marys are extra.

Get There
When: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., $27
Where: 50 Commercial St., Manchester
Contact: (603) 836-1925,

More Choices

Gauchos Churrascaria
62 Lowell St., Manchester
Manchester: (603) 669-9460,
10 a.m. to 2 p.m., $17.95

Mountain View Grand Resort & Spa
101 Mountain View Rd., Whitefield
(603) 837-2100,
Mother’s Day Grand Buffet
10 a.m. to 2 p.m., $36

Currier Museum of Art
150 Ash St., Manchester
Music & Mimosas
Reservations are required and can be made online or by calling (603) 669-6144, ext. 108.
Held on the second Sunday of the month from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
$19.95 and $24.95 for Mother’s Day

The Red Blazer
72 Manchester St., Concord
(603) 224-4101,
8 a.m. to 12 p.m., $13.99
Mother’s Day Brunch 9 a.m.-3 p.m., $29.99 for adults

The Old Salt & Lamie’s Restaurant and Inn
490 Lafayette Rd., #9, Hampton
(603) 926-8322,
9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., $21.99

The Old Courthouse
30 Main St., Newport
(603) 863-8360,
9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., $17.95 for adults and $8.95 for children under 12.

Ledges Restaurant at The White Mountain Hotel & Resort
87 Fairway Dr., North Conway
(603) 356-7100,
Grand Sunday Brunch
9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., $23
Another destination with lovely views.
Special Mother’s Day brunch info here.

Red Fox Bar & Grille
49 Rte. 16, Jackson
(603) 383-4949,
7:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., $8.99
Expect to pay more on Mother’s Day.

Atkinson Resort & Country Club
85 Country Club Dr., Atkinson
(603) 362-8700,
10 a.m. to 2 p.m., $25.95
Mother’s Day, $47

Ethnic Twist

Breakfast is so American, but these spots add a bit of cultural diversity to the table.

Peach, pear-ginger and blood orange brunch drinks are topped with Prosecco. The French toast, made with the Tuscan Kitchen’s artisan bread, is soaked in cream and topped with lemon sauce and maple syrup on the side.

Tuscan Kitchen, Portsmouth

When you start with really good house-made Italian bread, it’s a short trip to a brunch experience with a taste of Italy. The breakfast pizza is topped with wisps of spinach, shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano, prosciutto and a perfectly soft egg. It’s made on hand-tossed dough and browned in the wood-fired oven for a slight taste of char. French toast is also made with their artisan bread, which is soaked in cream and topped with a lemon sauce and served with maple syrup on the side. And then the brunch drinks — peach bellini, pear-ginger and blood orange variations all topped with Prosecco. After brunch, stroll into the attached market for a gelato and an armful of house-made sausages, pasta, sauces, Italian condiments of all types and a local honey infused with the scent of truffle. The deli case is packed with salads and prepared salmon and chicken dishes to take home for dinner. It’s all good. Abbondanza!

Get There
When: 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. The Salem location (67 Main St.) also serves a Sunday Pranza starting at noon.
Where: 581 Lafayette Rd., Portsmouth
Contact: (603) 570-3600,

More Brunch Choices

Dante’s Bistro Bar & Grille
567 Calef Hwy., Barrington
(603) 664-4000,
Jazz, 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Modern Mexican
Vida Cantina
2456 Lafayette Rd., Portsmouth
(603) 501-0648,
11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Gauchos Churrascaria
62 Lowell St., Manchester
Manchester: (603) 669-9460,
10 a.m. to 2 p.m., $17.95

Fun and Funky Brunch Options

Sometimes it’s about more than what’s on your plate.

The sweet, spicy ginger garlic Korean fried chicken is a regular menu item at Street and is also available for brunch.

Street, Portsmouth

The food at Portsmouth’s Street is as fun as the atmosphere. Brunch runs the gamut from Mexican cemita sandwiches on soft, seeded buns to a healthy Singapore salad bowl to a variety of “Hollandaise Carriers,” including the Sweet Home Alabruncha — cornbread topped with pulled pork, poached eggs, hollandaise, a drizzle of BBQ sauce and scallions. There’s even a “Crazy Toast” with a fun face made with fruit and bacon to amuse the little ones. Mimosas get a little crazy too with the Maximosa with Lillet and Gran Marnier added to this classic brunch cocktail.

Get There
When: 9:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Where: 801 Islington St., Portsmouth
Contact: (603) 436-0860,

More Choices

Umami Farm Fresh Café
284 1st New Hampshire Turnpike, Northwood
(603) 942-6427,
9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Taverns, Breweries and Wineries Offering Brunch

Sometimes the libation is just as important as the food.

Find creative takes on French toast (and wine) at the Bistro at LaBelle Winery.

The Bistro at LaBelle Winery, Amherst

The lovely winery tasting room, a hall space above the fermentation tanks and a small room are the usual spaces for the Sunday brunch that offers a short but sweet menu featuring creative takes on French toast, pancakes, frittatas, a Benedict and an egg special. Selections change weekly. Special buffet brunch offering for Mother’s Day in the Great Room for $49

Get There
When: 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Where: 345 Rte. 101, Amherst
Contact: (603) 672-9898 ext. 1,

More Choices

The Railpenny Tavern
8 Exeter Rd., Epping
(603) 734-2609,
10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Rí Rá
22 Market St., Portsmouth
(603) 319-1680,
Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Sonny’s Tavern
328 Central Ave., Dover
(603) 343-4332,
10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Hobbs Tavern
2415 White Mountain Hwy., Ossipee
(603) 539-2000,
Sunday breakfast, 8 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Revolution Taproom & Grill
61 N Main St., Rochester
(603) 244-3022,
Sundays, 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Try the Brewery Burger with bacon stout marmalade, $13.

Chapel + Main Restaurant and Brewery
83 Main St., Dover
(603) 842-5170,
The special Sunday menu
10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
The special menu with brunch to dinner options changes weekly.

Flag Hill Distillery & Winery
297 North River Rd., Lee
(603) 659-2949,
Let the sparkling Cayuga white flow at their make-your-own-mimosa bar. 2019 brunch dates are Mother’s Day with live music, May 12, June 30, July 21, August 18, September 29 and October 27. Reservations necessary.

Gilmanton Winery & Vineyard Gilmanton
528 Meadow Pond Rd., Gilmanton
(603) 267-8251,
8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.
Five-course, prix-fixe menu, $16.95

Oak House
110 Main St., Newmarket
(603) 292-5893,
10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Woodstock Inn Station & Brewery
135 Main St., North Woodstock
(603) 745-3951,
Breakfast daily from 7 a.m.-11:30 a.m. and until 12:30 p.m. on Sunday. Also offering a special Mother’s Day Buffet Brunch from 9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., $25.95.

Bistros or Gastropubs Not Usually Open for Lunch

Here’s a chance to see how creative your favorite nightspot is with eggs, sandwiches and waffles.

Eggs Benedict and mimosas made with fresh-squeezed OJ at the Birch on Elm.

The Birch on Elm, Manchester

The space is eclectic, the food is good and the drinks are even better. Find a very interesting menu that includes lamb poutine, bacon and beef hash, chicken and waffles with sage-infused maple syrup, plus a variety of inspired tacos. Enjoy fresh-squeezed OJ for your mimosa. Folks in the hospitality industry can enjoy 30 percent off of their meal.

Get There
When: Saturday and Sunday, 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Where: 931 Elm St., Manchester
Contact: (603) 782-5365,

More Choices

20 High St., Portsmouth
(603) 430-7834,
Sunday jazz brunch 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

The District
103 Congress St., Portsmouth
(603) 501-0586,
Saturday and Sunday 10 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

The Wilder Restaurant & Bar
174 Fleet St., Portsmouth
(603) 319-6878,
Saturday and Sunday 10:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m.

Bistros or Gastropubs Open for Lunch

They’re adding waffles and egg dishes to the sandwich lunch menu.

Firefly American Bistro & Bar offers both a wide range of bloody mary options and dishes. Try the shrimp and grits with andouille sausage and Pineland Farms cheddar ($14) for something a bit different.

Firefly American Bistro & Bar, Manchester

Find a full array of à la carte choices from a Monte Cristo to a goat cheese and spinach salad to a juicy half-pound burger classically dressed with a Bermuda onion and Beefsteak tomatoes. Go traditional with the Firefly Benedict, featuring Maine lobster and a dill hollandaise. Wash it all down with a nicely spiced bloody mary variation and trick it out with pickled veggies or add more spice. There must be 30 bottles of various hot sauces to tease your tongue at the bloody mary bar.

Get There
When: 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Where: 22 Concord St., Manchester
Contact: (603) 935-9740,

More Choices

River House
53 Bow St., Portsmouth
(603) 431-2600,
11 a.m. to 4 p.m. (November through March only)

CR’s The Restaurant
287 Exeter Rd., Hampton
(603) 929-7972,
Jazz brunch 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

Taverne on the Square
2 Pleasant St., Claremont
(603) 287-4416,
11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Covered Bridge Farm Table
57 Blair Rd., Campton
(603) 536-1331,
10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Millstone at 74 Main
74 Newport Rd., New London
(603) 526-4201,
11 a.m. to 2 p.m.


Categories: Features