The Hippo


Oct 20, 2019








Early stages of the bar in the remodelled location on Elm Street. Photo by Allie Ginwala.

Funktion Spirits & Spoonfuls

Where: 931 Elm St., Manchester
Call: 782-5365
Get updates on Funktion’s opening, scheduled for mid-August, on Facebook.

Downtown Funktion
Restaurant bringing new options to Manchester scene

By Allie Ginwala

Since the end of May, Funktion Spirits & Spoonfuls has been converting the quick service setup of its location that once housed Dos Amigos Burritos into a space suited for a restaurant with a bar, high-top tables and wait staff. With the menus complete and construction well underway, Executive Chef and General Manager Tracey Fitts said the vision for Funktion — which will serve classic American fare with a unique twist — is to fill a number of needs on the restaurant-heavy Elm Street.

“I think there’s a void with the maybe 35- to 55-year-old crowd,” Fitts said. “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 … without having to worry about the younger crowd that’s out of control at the bar or being so stuffy that we don’t feel like we can laugh loud and have a good time.”
That atmosphere is created by the long bar, a menu designed to share and live music on Thursday nights and Sunday mornings, putting the “funk” in Funktion that owners Jay Legendre and Todd Ireland had in mind.
Another area needing representation is within the vegan, vegetarian and clean eating demographics.
“I think a lot more people are concerned with clean eating and healthy eating and when that’s their lifestyle they want to be able to go out to dinner and kind of keep supporting that,” she said. “They don’t want to just go out and just kind of throw that all out the window.” 
Fitts’s food philosophy of healthy and delicious, clean yet indulgent, drives the menu design, which has classic drinks like Manhattans, martinis, sidecars and greyhounds, a wine list with national and international wines by the glass, and sharable plates, slightly bigger than traditional Spanish tapas, for dinner.
“I like food to be fun, but not so overworked that you get a plate put down in front of you and you’re like, I’m not really sure what this is or where to start,” she said. “I try and take the classic American food and maybe do something kind of different, something a little new with it where people still know what it is, they’re comfortable ordering it, but it’s not the same old same old.”
Fitts used as an example the flatbread salads — homemade focaccia bread baked with cheese then topped with chilled salad. (That’s on the lunch menu, which is geared toward Manchester’s business crowd). She also noted brunch menu items like breakfast salads, flatbread breakfast pizzas, baked stuffed French toast and a pulled pork and fried egg sandwich.
“All I can picture is these nice brioche rolls with this fabulous slow roasted pulled pork on top and an over easy egg and you cut into the egg and it just all mixes together and it just sounds wonderful and really fun,” Fitts said. “Our tagline is ‘bringing the art of dining back to life.’ We don’t want people sitting there on their phones [with] this plate of food that they’re not even paying attention to and … drinks that are mediocre. We want to bring back people sitting down and enjoying dinner. Talking and sharing food and having great cocktails.”
The menu was designed with the hope that whoever walks into Funktion for a meal can find something they like to eat, whether it’s brisket and fingerling potatoes or an open-faced pesto chicken sandwich.
“We want to build a customer base here that comes in often so we want them to be able to have those options and so, looking at the menu, I wanted to do a little bit of everything for everyone,”  she said.
As far as bringing another restaurant to Manchester’s food-heavy downtown, Fitts said Funktion’s place downtown isn’t to add more competition, but instead to add to the community of restaurants.
“As many restaurants as there are on Elm Street, there’s so much business down here that I think there’s plenty of customer base and consumers to go around,” she said. “The more attraction there is for people to come down here, it just builds the business for everybody.”
Fitts said that while they’d love to open as soon as possible, it needs to wait until Funktion is totally ready. Right now that’s looking like mid-August.
“We want to make sure that when we’re open, we’re 100 percent,” Fitts said. “We want everything to be exactly how we want it.” 
As seen in the July 16, 2015 issue of the Hippo.

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