A new tapas restaurant in Hooksett is paying tribute to New Hampshire and its cultural diversity. Granite Tapas & Cocktail Lounge, expected to open the first week of March, will offer small plates, craft cocktails and entree specials spanning a variety of cuisine styles in a setting inspired by the 19th- and early-20th-century granite industry.
“It’s an ode to the people of New Hampshire and to the melting pot of different cultures and ethnicities the granite industry brought to the region,” said Matt Jordan, who co-owns the restaurant with his wife, Jamie Jordan, and mother-in-law, Louise McCann.
The menu will be broken down into four sections, each representing a different kind of cuisine.
“Taste of the Orient” will include dishes inspired by Asian cuisines, such as bulgogi (a Korean beef dish), build-your-own rice wraps served with romaine leaves and, as a variation of crab rangoon, lobster meat rangoon served with a sweet chili dipping sauce.
Items in the “Down South” section will feature Latin American and southern U.S. flavors, like a country raspberry iced tea cocktail and Cajun rub steak tips served with a potato chip saute made of caramelized onions and applewood-smoked blue cheese crumbles tossed with a balsamic glaze.
“A Little Italy” will have Italian and Mediterranean dishes like prosciutto-wrapped fried mozzarella topped with sauteed heirloom tomatoes, sun-dried tomato and caramelized onions.
The last section, “New England Comfort,” features an original approach to familiar favorites — for example, a sliced petite filet with a steakhouse marinade, served with deep-fried lobster string slaw tossed with an apple cider vinaigrette.
There’s also an unexpected kind of chicken wing.
“We topped it with salt and caramel sauce, so it’s a salted caramel wing,” Jordan said. “Every place around here that serves beer and booze has chicken wings, so we thought, ‘How can we add a twist to it?’ If I had to summarize what our food is about, that’s what it is: elevating classic dishes in a way that’s different and unique.”
In addition to the cocktails and tapas, there will be two different full-plate entree specials each day that will keep with the menu theme, plus bottled beers and a small selection of draft beers.
The restaurant will be able to accommodate up to 80 people between the dining tables, bar and a lounge area. The decor is thoroughly rustic with natural barn-style wood, whiskey barrels, exposed light bulbs, masonry tools and New Hampshire symbols like antique state flag prints and artwork of the Old Man of the Mountain.
Jordan said he believes a restaurant like Granite Tapas & Cocktail Lounge is something Hooksett needed.
“There are a lot of great places to get a beer and burger in town, but if you want a signature martini or craft cocktail, you usually have to head into downtown Manchester or Concord or Portsmouth,” he said, “so we wanted to bring that experience to Hooksett and give the people of Hooksett a more intimate gathering place where they can enjoy a nice drink and some shareable tapas.”