The Hippo


Sep 24, 2018








Fried pickles. Courtesy photo

  Pitco Fri-Fest
When: Saturday, Sept. 22, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Where: Pitco, 553 Route 3A, Bow
Cost: Free admission and parking; foods are priced per item
Participating vendors
Belmont Hall & Restaurant (
Buffalo Wild Wings (
Kona Ice (
New England’s Tap House Grille (
Prime Time Grilled Cheese (
Rangers BBQ (
The Red Arrow Diner (
Texas Roadhouse (
Toasted Monkey Snack Shack (
Totally Nutz (

Frying it up
Pitco introduces new fried food festival


 By Matt Ingersoll
To celebrate 100 years in business, the Bow-based Pitco Frialator is launching a new fried food festival with local vendors, factory tours, a beer tent, children’s activities and a fried pickle eating contest.
The first event of its kind, Pitco Fri-Fest will be held in the back parking lot of Pitco Frialator on Route 3A in Bow on Saturday, Sept. 22, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
“We wanted to do the event around festival season … to become more integrated into the community,” said Pitco HR specialist and Fri-Fest organizer Meghan Cotter, who noted several other local festivals and town fairs happening in late September and early October. “We have business from Asia, South America and Africa and it’s a big deal to have something that big locally right here in New Hampshire.”
Nearly a dozen restaurants and food trucks are expected to gather for the event.
“Much like the fairs that are happening around here, they’ll be selling their best creations,” Cotter said. “We’re encouraging them to do fried foods and even to test-drive a Pitco fryer.”
One of the vendors expected to take hold of a Frialator during the event is the Merrimack-based Toasted Monkey Snack Shack, a food truck launched earlier this year that offers a Tex-Mex menu of tacos, nachos, breakfast burritos and more. With access to the Frialator, Toasted Monkey will be able to offer an off-menu special: fried jalapeno poppers stuffed with cheese and served with a ranch dressing.
Co-owner Stephanie Duplease, a Texas native, said she and partner Aubrey grow more than 3,000 square feet of gardens where they grow their own herbs and peppers, including the jalapenos that will be used for the poppers.
“We don’t have a fryer in our truck, but I grew up on fried foods, and I usually love to do the jalapeno poppers on the grill when we have cookouts at the house,” Duplease said. “So we decided to give it a try and we’ll see how it goes.”
New England’s Tap House Grille, another featured vendor, will be offering its house Cabot macaroni and cheese, served in a sugar cone and garnished with bread crumbs and green onions. They’ll also be taking the reins of a Pitco Frialator to make their poutine, co-owner Dan Lagueux said.
“We take our fries and toss them in Parmesan cheese and fresh rosemary, then we add a peppercorn sherry demi-glace that we toss our curd cheese in,” Lagueux said, “and then it’s finished off with a white truffle oil.”
Other Fri-Fest vendors will include the Belmont Hall & Restaurant in Manchester serving up its fried chicken tenders; Buffalo Wild Wings serving five different flavors of traditional chicken wings; the Prime Time Grilled Cheese food truck offering a variety of specialty grilled cheese sandwiches; Kona Ice serving more than 30 flavors of shaved ice and ice cream novelties; the Red Arrow Diner offering its chicken tenders and poutine; and Totally Nutz, which will be roasting nuts on site including cinnamon glazed pecans, almonds and cashews.
Texas Roadhouse of Manchester, in addition to offering its fried onion blossoms, will be sponsoring a fried pickle eating contest that is set to begin at noon with free sign-ups available on the day of the event.
Contestants will be given a bucket of premeasured pickles and challenged to eat as many as possible within 45 seconds, with ketchup, ranch or Cajun horseradish. The declared winner will be the contestant with the fewest pickles remaining in their bucket at the end of the 45 seconds, or whoever finishes first. They’ll receive a free dinner-for-two certificate at Texas Roadhouse’s Manchester location.
Free ongoing tours of Pitco’s factory will be available throughout the event for all attendees.
“We have a lot of different facets of our business,” Cotter said. “We’ve done a lot over the years to move from archaic to robotic technology, and that’s something we’re trying to highlight.”
The festival will also include music and a children’s corner with drawing and other crafts. 

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