The Hippo


Oct 21, 2019








Bourbon barrels at Flag Hill Winery & Distillery. Kevin Ferguson photo.

What a chef wants

A look back at a year In the Kitchen
In 2015, the Hippo’s In the Kitchen feature took readers behind the scenes of  local restaurants, bakeries, pizza places, cafes and butcher shops to learn a bit about the folks behind Granite Staters’ favorite food spots. The Hippo always asks what their must-have kitchen item is, and while the reigning most popular items are still a sharp chef’s knife and tongs, there were a few standout responses. Richard Dennison, chef/owner of Angelina’s Ristorante Italiano in Concord must have his “15-year-old MacGyvered ravioli cutter,” and Joey Levesque, line cook at Red Arrow Diner in Manchester said towels to keep his work space clean are his must-have. Bayona Cafe kitchen manager Brian Boyd needs to have a Sharpie on him at all times for labeling and keeping track of orders, while Mark Kimball, head cutter at Olde Tyme Butcher, said that he can’t be without his vacuum tumbler.
Now open
Here are a few highlights from the eateries that added something new to the state’s palate in 2015.
Bayona Cafe (670 N. Commercial St., Suite 2021, Manchester, 782-3450, brought a funky feel to Manchester’s historic Millyard in March when Keri Laman opened the weekday breakfast and lunch spot in the lower level of the Jefferson building. The “extensive and eclectic menu,” Laman told the Hippo in April, featuring boozy peaches and cream crepes and duck confit flatbread was designed to be “funky, bold and a little bit more in-your-face.”
Willows Plant-Based Eatery (55 S. Main St., Concord, 715-1095, find them on Facebook) filled the void of vegetarian and vegan restaurants in the capital city in April. Owner/chef Willow Mauck told the Hippo in May that a plant-based lifestyle runs in the family — her mother Norma owns Susty’s Cafe in Northwood. “It just felt right,” she told the Hippo. “It felt like the right place, right time. Good opportunity to be able to serve food to people where there’s a need.”
Area 23 (254 N. State St., Smokestack Center, Concord, 552-0137, owners Kirk McNeil and Kevin Bloom told the Hippo in July that they wanted to create a place for people to be comfortable and have fun. “We wanted a place where … there was good food but not necessarily an eight-page menu that tries to be all things to all people,” McNeil told the Hippo. Ribs, calzones and a bowl of bacon — yes, half a pound of bacon in a bowl — are some menu standouts.
Funktion Spirits & Spoonfuls (931 Elm St., Manchester, 782-5365, joined Manchester’s downtown in September with the goal of providing a place perfect for the 35- to 55-year old crowd. “I want a social scene that’s more geared toward what myself and my friends would like to do, with good music in the background,” Executive Chef and General Manager Tracey Couture-Fitts told the Hippo last summer. Funktion filled out the vision with a tapas-style dinner menu, plus lunch, an extensive drinks menu and a Sunday brunch and Bloody Mary bar.
The Foundry (50 Commercial St., Manchester, 836-1925, had its much-anticipated opening in August and has taken the title of the state’s largest certified farm-to-table restaurant. “Most of the farms I’ve actually been to, my family’s been to,” Executive Chef Matt Provencher told the Hippo in August. “I don’t like the idea of messing with food. If we’re going to buy really good product from a local farmer, it should taste like that. … [It should] taste pure and simple.”
Schoodacs Coffee House (1 E. Main St., Warner, 456-3400, owners Darryl and Kristin Parker opened Schoodacs in September hoping to bring back a beloved aspect of life in downtown Warner. “I remember speaking to some locals and them saying ‘that corner’s always been dead,’” Darryl Parker told the Hippo. “The goal was definitely to revitalize this property.”

A year in food
A look back at NH’s food scene in 2015

By Allie Ginwala

 Think the “eat local” movement was the leading trend in New Hampshire’s food scene again this year? It sure was one of the big ones, with the state’s largest farm-to-table restaurant opening in Manchester and a Seacoast distillery continuing to use local strawberries, blueberries and peaches to flavor its rum. But beyond that, New Hampshire welcomed vegan-friendly eateries, unique coffee brewing methods and locally made products served not on a plate, but in a glass. Here’s a look back at New Hampshire’s foodie highlights from 2015.

Tasty trends
It may look like a beer (and come from a tap) but that dark and creamy beverage being served in coffee shops is nitro cold brew coffee, one of the biggest coffee trends to hit New Hampshire this year.
Now in the state you can find nitro cold brew coffee at Breaking Bean Coffee Company (3 High St., Hampton,, D² Java (155 Water St., Exeter,, Profile Coffee Bar (15 Portwalk Place, Portsmouth, and A&E Coffee Roastery and Tea (135 NH 101A, Amherst; 1000 Elm St., Manchester, 578-3338,
Back in September, the Hippo spoke with A&E Coffee and Tea owner Emeran Langmaid and cafe manager Rachel Niemi about how and why they decided to bring the style of coffee popular on the West Coast to New Hampshire.
“We wanted a way to introduce [it] and have this cold brew, but kind of elevate it to the next level,” Niemi said. She spearheaded the process of bringing the nitro cold brewing to A&E’s Amherst and Manchester locations. 
Not a job for the impatient, the entire process for making nitro cold brew takes over two and a half days, yielding a result that pours just like a beer and ends with a creamy head on top. 
“Most people think it’s going to be really heavy and sit really heavy on your palate,” Niemi said. “Actually, the body starts out like a stout, and it really brightens up at the end.”
On Sept. 17, the Hippo explored the state’s burgeoning spirits industry, which welcomed New England Sweetwater Farm & Distillery in Winchester and Tamworth Distilling & Mercantile in Tamworth. With Copper Cannon Distillery in West Chesterfield and Haunting Whisper Vineyards in Danbury’s spirits division due to open in 2016, it seems as if the trend toward locally-made spirits will continue.
Of the distilleries that have been around for a couple of years — or many, in the case of Flag Hill — this year was all about whiskey and bourbon. Flag Hill Winery & Distillery owner/distiller/winemaker Brian Ferguson spoke with the Hippo in October about the release of the state’s first straight bourbon whiskey. 
“I think in general whiskey has caught on within the last 10 years or so and has taken off as a spirit category,” he said. “At the time when we started putting it up, there was no one in the state making a stride at it.” 
Flag Hill straight bourbon whiskey made its official debut on Nov. 7.
Djinn Spirits owner/distiller Andy Harthcock released a single malt whiskey in late November in honor of Djinn’s second anniversary. The third product in the Beat 3 line, it was “fermented and distilled in small batches then aged one year on small charred oak barrels,” Harthcock said in the press release. 
The next big thing for 2016: Clean eating
Spencer George, owner of Granite State Lunchbox in Manchester, said during a recent In the Kitchen column that he thinks clean eating — non-processed foods free from chemicals — will be the next big trend in New Hampshire’s food scene, following the organic and local food movement. 
“Benefit wise there is the taste factor other than just health,” he said in a phone interview. “The best example is just using real butter versus margarine; everybody can taste that difference.” 
He anticipates that in 2016 restaurants will take the steps toward clean eating based purely on consumer demand. 
“I foresee that it’s just going to be requested more and that’s what’s really going to drive it,” he said. “Almost like how you see gluten-free popping up, and that’s through demand.”

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