Food

Spirits of the Seasons

Seasons on Elm opens in Manchester

Season Brouillet never thought she’d open her own downtown cocktail bar. But when her cousins took over ownership of the Element Lounge in Manchester and later expressed interest in selling it, the central Massachusetts native, who had experience waitressing and running a cafe in Rhode Island, saw an opportunity to bring new life to the space.

That was back in January, she said. After several months of renovations, Seasons on Elm arrived in the Queen City on Aug. 19, featuring craft cocktails and food options like paninis, fried appetizers and salads.

“It’s definitely more of a bar setting, with light, easy comfort food,” Brouillet said of the new business. “I wanted it to be much more comfortable and welcoming.”

To create the cocktail menu, Brouillet recruited bar manager Sara Stapleford, who had experience at Fody’s Tavern in Nashua and Derry and at the Cork N Keg Grill in Raymond, while Jason Swiston, who most recently worked at Noodz, was brought in to oversee the kitchen.

Appetizers on the food menu include wings and tenders (served with your choice of barbecue sauce, Buffalo sauce, blue cheese dressing, ranch dressing or honey mustard), plus rosemary Parmesan fries, mozzarella sticks with marinara, fried pickles, bruschetta or tater tots. Salads are made fresh in house and include southwestern, caesar, chef and kale.

Among the most popular food options, Brouillet said, have been the paninis, which you can order on sourdough or wheat bread and choose french fries, coleslaw, tater tots or a salad for a side. The barbecue chicken panini has fried chicken, barbecue sauce, cheddar cheese, onions and coleslaw, while a vegetarian option features zucchini, bell peppers, vegan mozzarella, onions and pesto. Other choices include turkey, apple, bacon and cheddar, a BLT panini, a three-cheese panini with American, cheddar and provolone cheeses, and an Italian panini with ham, salami, pepperoni, mozzarella, pepperoncinis and Italian dressing.

Just about every cocktail on the drink menu has been a hit during Seasons on Elm’s first few weeks, according to Brouillet, especially the Spiked Campfire iced coffee (with Kahlua liqueur, Godiva milk and white chocolate and Stoli vanilla vodka); the Dirty & Hot martini (with house jalapeno and pepperoncini-infused vodka, Tabasco sauce and olive juice); and the Cucumber Rose (with house cucumber-infused gin, elderflower liqueur, lime juice, simple syrup and soda water). Last week, the bar introduced several fall-inspired cocktail specials, like a pumpkin pie martini made with pumpkin puree and maple syrup; a maple apple cider smash; and a cider sangria with cinnamon, caramel and Smirnoff apple vodka.

So far, Seasons on Elm has been a hotspot with the late-night crowd, Brouillet said, but she’d like to expand the food menu soon and introduce more specials for earlier in the evening. A brunch menu on Sundays of breakfast-inspired paninis and cocktails like specialty bloody marys is also in the works down the line.

“Eventually I want to have a game area in the back room, and I also want to do live music out in front of the window,” Brouillet said. “I feel like there are a lot of possibilities for this space.”

Seasons on Elm
Where: 1055 Elm St., Manchester
Current hours: Wednesday through Sunday, 4 p.m. to 1 a.m. (may be subject to change)
More info: Visit seasonsonelm.com, find them on Facebook and Instagram @seasonsonelm or call 606-1351

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