The Hippo


May 25, 2020








Hooked Seafood Restaurant and Ignite Bar & Grille serve food outdoors during Around Town with NH EATS last October. Courtesy photo.

Around Town with NH EATS: A Wine & Cheese Affair

When: Sunday, March 8, from 2 to 5 p.m.
Where: The Palace Theatre, 80 Hanover St., Manchester
Tickets: $10

Destination: downtown
Local collaboration shines a light on downtown dining

By Allie Ginwala

When you put a group of local restaurant owners in a room together, chances are some interesting conversations will come about. For the partners of NH EATS, the goal of the gathering is to develop ways to showcase downtown Manchester.

“I really enjoy our monthly meetings because we talk about what’s going on, we give each other ideas about promoting and we bounce things off each other,” said Ann Masterson, a NH EATS partner and owner of Ignite Bar & Grille and Hooked Seafood Restaurant. 
New Hampshire Entertainment and Tastes of the State, commonly known as NH EATS, is a group of six restaurants and one entertainment venue in downtown Manchester that have joined together to try to bring a focus to dining in downtown Manchester. 
“It’s all about getting people to know our restaurants,” said Carol Lawrence, owner of the Red Arrow Diner and founding member of NH EATS. 
The current members of NH EATS are the Red Arrow Diner, Ignite Bar & Grille, Hooked Seafood Restaurant, 900 Degrees Neapolitan Pizzeria, N’awlins Grille, Gauchos Churrascaria Brazilian Steak House and the Palace Theatre. 
“I was very excited about it, to partner with other successful businesses downtown to keep people here in the city,” Masterson said. “We’re really not competitors. We’re working together for the city, not just for ourselves. It’s to keep this city exciting.”
The vision that inspired NH EATS was of a one-stop resource for people to use to plan their evening out in downtown Manchester. From dinner and a show to just desserts, one can simply check out what the partner establishments have to offer at 
“We did focus on downtown Manchester to just get people out and about to downtown and see what’s happening on Elm Street,” Lawrence said. “Get to know your downtown. Get to know the mom-and-pop places, and not the chains.”
While the plan is to expand and bring in more partner restaurants and entertainment venues, Lawrence emphasized the importance of the partner locations having a cohesive fit, since each partner reflects the whole group. For example, say a customer had a great meal and experience at The Red Arrow one evening. The next time they look to go out, if they hop on the NH EATS website and see that Gauchos Churrascaria Brazilian Steak House is associated with The Red Arrow, they’re more likely to assume that the quality will be just as good. 
As they work on expanding with partners and creating specials to offer as a group, NH EATS will continue to host events that bring the Manchester community downtown. The latest event will be Around Town with NH EATS: A Wine & Cheese Affair on Sunday, March 8, at 2 p.m. Proceeds from this tasting event will benefit Big Brothers Big Sisters of New Hampshire.
“It’s exciting to show that we’re not only doing this together, but for a good cause,” Masterson said. “We’re giving back but we’re also showing businesses … that we don’t have to be against each other. We can work together and still be successful.”
The last Around Town was held in October with the theme of “Makin’ Bacon.” This time around the focus is on wine and cheese. The Palace Theatre will host the afternoon of signature cheese-themed dishes and wine pairings and will feature music from Godspell as well as theater tours. 
Most of the restaurants are still figuring out what cheese dish to bring to the Palace, but Masterson already has hers lined up. Hooked Seafood Restaurant will be serving a lobster mac and cheese and Ignite Bar & Grille will serve baked brie bites with fruit in a pastry puff. 
“It’s a nice Sunday afternoon. People have been kind of hibernating,” Lawrence said.  
As seen in the March 5, 2015 issue of the Hippo.

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