The Hippo


Dec 7, 2019








Industrial decor reflects the building’s history. Photo by Allie Ginwala.

 The Foundry

Open to the public as of Wednesday, Aug. 12, 4 p.m. daily
50 Commercial St., Manchester, 836-1925

Forging The Foundry
New restaurant opens in Manchester millyard

By Allie Ginwala

Brick walls, wooden support beams and windows overlooking the Merrimack River — the heritage of the millyard has clearly influenced the industrial-themed dining room inside The Foundry, Commercial Street’s newest restaurant.

Owned by local businessman, inventor and entrepreneur Dean Kamen, the highly anticipated Foundry brings life back to the space that once housed Jillian’s Billiards and, more recently, World Sports Grille.
“I think the river possesses the heart and soul of Manchester ... so I think people gravitate toward the river and the millyard,” Nate Carney, general manager, said of the building that is noted by many as a unique piece of the Queen City. “The name of this building is actually Gateway, so, I mean, that in itself kind of says everything.”
The brick walls of The Foundry feature pictures from the Manchester Historic Association of men working with iron and wood, portraying that not only the overall aesthetic of the restaurant but also its conceptual roots are bound to and inspired by the city’s heritage.
“I think it would be impossible to take that feel away from this, and I don’t know why you’d ever want to,” Carney said.
On a recent Thursday afternoon, the dining room and bar were a flurry of commotion as workers put the final touches on the fixtures and seating. In the kitchen, Executive Chef Matt Provencher spoke with the health department about the ins and outs of sous vide cooking, the French term for cooking in a vacuum, a process that will be featured in multiple dishes on the menu.
“There’s definitely some French-Canadian touches on the menu ... and even the French style of cooking,” Provencher said. 
He’s particularly excited about the crab-stuffed trout, foie gras and duck dishes, part of a menu that was created with ingredients sourced from over 30 farms. 
“That’s everything from cheeses, dairy, milk, cream, ribeyes, chickens, produce, honey, maple syrup,” he said. “Most of the farms I’ve actually been to, my family’s been to. … We wanted to see that if it’s a hog farm, they’re raising the hogs properly, that they’re not in little pens [but] that they’re walking around. That they’re happy hogs.”
In creating a farm-to-table menu with as many local ingredients as possible, Provencher said it’s very important to him to keep the taste of each dish as it should be — pure and simple. 
“I tell the cooks there’s three [or] four things on a plate and that ... potatoes should taste like a potato … a carrot should taste like a carrot,” he said. “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.”
The Foundry is the largest certified local restaurant in the state, Carney said, but it still embodies a casual feel that he hopes will offer an inviting and comfortable atmosphere. 
“We want it to be the local place people want to go,” Carney said. 
“We’re not trying to be high-end; we want it to be approachable,” Provencher agreed. “People can come in jeans and a nice shirt and be comfortable and not feel like they’re breaking the bank.”
The Foundry includes deck seating with fire elements and overstuffed furniture, a dining room and bar seating and a function room that covers a total of 13,000 square feet, which they hope will bridge the two crowds that frequent downtown Manchester — those looking for an elegant locally sourced dinner and those who want appetizers and a drink after work.
“We’d love to have it be a spot for people to come after work … get a beer and some finger food and hang out in a group,” Carney said.  “[We have] 20 beers and everything but two of them are from New Hampshire, Maine, Vermont or Massachusetts so it’s a very New England tap.” 
The Foundry also has a signature cocktail list and a wide selection of bourbon and whiskey. 
This new restaurant owned by Dean Kamen has been the buzz around Manchester; Carney experienced it firsthand while out to dinner recently, overhearing other diners talking not only about The Foundry, but also about him. (In one instance, he leaned over and let the diners know who he was, inviting them to stop by for a meal sometime).
He attributed the high level of anticipation to the public’s excitement for something different in a beloved location.
“I think people are excited to see what we’ve done with the space in here because I think it has been a staple space in Manchester for a long time,” he said. “I think they expect something different knowing Matt, maybe knowing myself a little bit. I think people are excited about that fact that it is certainly going to be different and unique to the area.” 
As seen in the August 13, 2015 issue of the Hippo.

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