A casual alternative

The Patio at the Mile Away now open in Milford

A Milford institution for more than 50 years, the Mile Away Restaurant is best-known as a frequently visited spot for special occasions of all kinds, from birthday and anniversary parties to weddings. A new outdoor space directly adjacent to the eatery’s main dining area is inviting guests to enjoy lighter fare in a more casual setting, featuring its own separate kitchen and menus, along with a seated bar with TVs and additional seating at patio tables with umbrellas.

The Patio at the Mile Away, which recently opened for the season, operates during the same hours as its main restaurant and event center, weather permitting. It’s open to walk-in guests and, unlike the Mile Away’s plated four-course European-style dinners, offers a menu of shareable tapas, entree-sized salads and soups, and burgers and sandwiches with choice of a side. The outdoor bar even has its own draft lines and specialty cocktail offerings.

“It’s essentially a completely separate concept, and it’s like having a completely different restaurant that just happens to also be on the premises,” Mile Away general manager Kyle Altman said. “[We wanted to] have a more casual option for people to come out and just have a drink after work, which the four-course European-style fine dining thing doesn’t necessarily appeal to that particular occasion. But now, we can appeal to both.”

Although the patio space was constructed during the summer of 2019 before making its debut that fall, this is the first season in which the new outdoor kitchen is up and running. It’s full of unique amenities that longtime Mile Away owner Joshua Murphy built himself, from a corrugated steel roof over the bar seats to a pulley-like mechanism on its wooden fence, the latter designed to give wedding guests privacy during concurrent ceremonies.

Mile Away executive chef Mark Worcester, an industry veteran, has worked several stints at the restaurant on and off over the years, dating back to 1978. He said the patio’s menu was created with simplicity in mind, as well as various best-sellers on previous menus. Only a few items, like the Mile Away’s famous Swedish meatballs, cross over with the restaurant’s main dinner menu.

“We’ve been here for over 50 years, but the thing is that … people will get used to just coming here for special occasions, and we wanted to kind of shake it up a little bit,” Worcester said.

fish on leafy salad with pecans and lemon slices, on plate
Photo courtesy of the Mile Away Restaurant.

But despite its more casual approach, Altman said the menu will still feel familiar to guests who expect that traditional tried and true cuisine the Mile Away has long been known for.

“You don’t have to be constantly doing the newest things with the newest ingredients, if you do the classic recipes perfectly,” Altman said. “That’s some of the appeal. … Sometimes you don’t want to try a new thing every time you go out. You want this thing that you get every year on your anniversary, because we do it perfectly and no one else can do it.”

According to Altman, the Mile Away building was originally a farm built way back in 1746, and was one of the earliest settlements of the town of Monson, New Hampshire (now parts of Hollis, Brookline and Amherst). The farm is one mile away from Monson rock, hence the eatery’s name.

The plan is for the patio to operate from around late April through mid-October, or around when the Mile Away hosts in annual Oktoberfest celebration, although they do have propane heaters they can install on colder nights. Altman added that it can also be available to wedding clients.

“If people want to have a bachelor party, or if they want to just rent this out as part of their program with our wedding packages, this is an option … just the same as they can rent out the private room inside the restaurant,” he said.

The Patio at the Mile Away
Where: Mile Away Restaurant, 52 Federal Hill Road, Milford
Hours: Wednesday through Saturday, 5 to 8 p.m., and Sunday, 1 to 6 p.m. (hours are weather permitting). Closed Mondays and Tuesdays.
More info: mileawayrestaurantnh.com/the-patio
Walk-ins are welcome for outdoor patio service; no reservations required.

Featured photo: Patio photo by Matt Ingersoll.

Keep on brewing on

New Hampshire Brewers Association’s annual beer festival returns

Featuring one of the state’s largest collection of craft breweries at a single gathering, the Keep NH Brewing Festival is back — the event returns to Kiwanis Waterfront Park in Concord for an eighth year on Saturday, July 8, and will include more than 120 locally produced beers available for sampling, along with food trucks, local vendors, live music and more.

The signature fundraising event for the New Hampshire Brewers Association, the festival returned in person last year for the first time post-pandemic, according to executive director CJ Haines. Participating breweries encompass a variety of geographical locations across New Hampshire. Some even tend to bring certain beers that you may not be able to get outside of their onsite tasting rooms, or they may serve special collaborative options with other brewers.

The afternoon will begin with a special tasting hour available to VIP ticket holders from noon to 1 p.m., followed by the general admission portion from 1 to 4 p.m. All attendees receive free parking and a souvenir tasting glass upon entry through the gate.

Festival newcomers include Omnium Brewing Co., which opened its doors in Somersworth late last year, as well as Sole Track Brewing, hailing from Rumney. Several local food trucks and mobile food vendors will also be there, offering everything from pizzas, gyros and sandwiches to scratch-made vegan items and specialty desserts.

“We’ve expanded more kind of on the education aspect of brewing … because one of the things that we’re focused on is creating more occasions for people to drink beer, not just kind of circumstantial, ‘Hey, there’s a festival,’” Haines said. “We will … have two local hop farms there, and then there’s a local barley and malt vendor. … They’ll have some samples and stuff, so people can actually see the ingredients that go in behind the process.”

She added that attendees will also have access to plenty of drinkable alternatives to beer. Discoe Beverages of Lee, for instance, will be there to pour selections from Circle Back, its signature brand of ready-to-drink non-alcoholic cocktails.

“We want to make it so that people can be safe, and if a designated driver wants to come, there’s still plenty for them to participate in,” Haines said.

Other vendors expected to attend include DraughtPick, a locally created website and mobile app providing users with the most up-to-date details on craft breweries and beers; the Granite Outdoor Alliance, a membership-based advocacy nonprofit promoting the state’s outdoors industry; and the New Hampshire Music Collective, which is also partnering with the Brewers Association to present two live acts — Matty and the Penders, a 1990s alternative rock cover band, at 12:30 p.m.; and acoustic guitarist Mikey G at 2:30 p.m.

As in previous years, festival proceeds benefit the Brewers Association’s ongoing efforts to promote and advocate for the craft beer industry in the Granite State. Haines said the Association works on a number of legislative efforts at the state level each session.

“One of the things we’ve done … is we’ve worked with the New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services to create the Sustainable Craft Beverage program, which highlights all of the breweries that are practicing sustainable initiatives,” Haines said. “It started last year, and so more and more breweries have started to sign up for it.”

8th annual Keep NH Brewing Festival
When: Saturday, July 8, 1 to 4 p.m. (VIP admittance begins at noon)
Where: Kiwanis Waterfront Park, 15 Loudon Road, Concord (behind the Douglas N. Everett Arena)
Cost: General admission is $50 in advance and $55 on the day of the festival; VIP admission is $65; Designated driver admission is $20
Visit: nhbrewers.org
Event is rain or shine. No children or pets are allowed. All attendees, including designated drivers, must be 21 years of age or older.

Participating breweries

  • 603 Brewery (Londonderry, 603brewery.com)
  • Backyard Brewery & Kitchen (Manchester, backyardbrewerynh.com)
  • Blasty Bough Brewing Co. (Epsom, blastybough.com)
  • Branch and Blade Brewing (Keene, babbrewing.com)
  • Burnt Timber Brewing Co. (Wolfeboro, burnttimbertavern.com)
  • Canterbury Aleworks (Canterbury, canterburyaleworks.com)
  • Chapel + Main (Dover, chapelandmain.com)
  • Concord Craft Brewing Co. (Concord, concordcraftbrewing.com)
  • Dam Brewhouse (Campton, dambrewhouse.com)
  • Daydreaming Brewing Co. (Derry, daydreaming.beer)
  • Deciduous Brewing Co. (Newmarket, deciduousbrewing.square.site)
  • Elm City Brewing Co. (Keene, elmcitybrewing.com)
  • Feathered Friend Brewing Co. (Concord, featheredfriendbrewing.com)
  • Garrison City Beerworks (Dover, garrisoncitybeerworks.com)
  • Great North Aleworks (Manchester, greatnorthaleworks.com)
  • Great Rhythm Brewing Co. (Portsmouth, greatrhythmbrewing.com)
  • Henniker Brewing Co. (Henniker, hennikerbrewing.com)
  • Hobbs Tavern & Brewing Co. (West Ossipee, hobbsbeer.com)
  • Kettlehead Brewing Co. (Tilton, kettleheadbrewing.com)
  • The Last Chair Brewing Co. (Plymouth, thelastchairnh.com)
  • Lithermans Limited Brewery (Concord, lithermans.beer)
  • Loaded Question Brewing Co. (Portsmouth, loadedquestionbrewing.com)
  • Long Blue Cat Brewing Co. (Londonderry, longbluecat.com)
  • Martha’s Exchange Restaurant & Brewing Co. (Nashua, marthas-exchange.com)
  • Moat Mountain Smokehouse & Brewing Co. (North Conway, moatmountain.com)
  • Mountain Base Brewery (Goffstown, mountainbasebrewery.com)
  • Muddy Road Brewery (New Durham, find them on Facebook @muddyroadbrewery)
  • Northwoods Brewing Co. (Northwood, northwoodsbrewingcompany.com)
  • Oddball Brewing Co. (Suncook, oddballbrewingnh.com)
  • Omnium Brewing Co. (Somersworth, omniumbrewing.com)
  • One Love Brewery (Lincoln, onelovebrewery.com)
  • Out.Haus Ales (Northwood, outhausales.com)
  • Portsmouth Brewery (Portsmouth, portsmouthbrewery.com)
  • Post & Beam Brewing Co. (Peterborough, postandbeambrewery.com)
  • Rek-Lis Brewing Co. (Bethlehem, reklisbrewing.com)
  • Rockingham Brewing Co. (Derry, rockinghambrewing.com)
  • Sawbelly Brewing (Exeter, sawbellybrewing.com)
  • Schilling Beer Co. (Littleton, schillingbeer.com)
  • Smuttynose Brewing Co. (Hampton, smuttynose.com)
  • Sole Track Brewing (Rumney, soletrackbrewing.com)
  • Stoneface Brewing Co. (Newington, stonefacebrewing.com)
  • Stripe Nine Brewing Co. (Somersworth, stripeninebrewing.com)
  • TaleSpinner Brewery (Nashua, ramblingtale.com)
  • Throwback Brewery (North Hampton, throwbackbrewery.com)
  • To Share Brewing Co. (Manchester, tosharebrewing.com)
  • Tuckerman Brewing Co. (Conway, tuckermanbrewing.com)
  • Twin Barns Brewing Co. (Meredith, twinbarnsbrewing.com)
  • Vulgar Brewing Co. (Franklin, vbc.beer)
  • West LA Beer Co. (Swanzey, westlabeercompany.com)
  • Whym Craft Pub & Brewery (Hampton, whym.beer)
  • Wildbloom Beer (Littleton, wildbloombeer.com)
  • Woodstock Inn Brewery (North Woodstock, woodstockinnbrewery.com)

Featured photo: Previous New Hampshire Brewers Association beer festival. Photo courtesy of Cheshire Media Co.

The Weekly Dish 23/06/29

News from the local food scene

Get your Greek fix: Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church (68 N. State St., Concord) will hold its next boxed Greek dinner to go, a drive-thru event happening on Sunday, July 9, from noon to 1 p.m. Now through Wednesday, July 5, orders are being accepted for mezedakia, a Greek appetizer sampler plate featuring tzatziki, pita bread, tiropita, Greek meatballs, loukanikos (Greek sausages), feta cheese, Greek olives and a dessert, for $20 per meal. The event is drive-thru and takeout only — email ordermygreekfood@gmail.com or call 953-3051 to place your order. More takeout and pickup meals are expected at the church in the coming months. Visit holytrinitynh.org.

Showing some spirit: A new craft distillery is coming to The Factory on Willow (284 Willow St., Manchester). Manchester Distillery is slate to open its doors for tours and tastings this August, according to a press release, and will feature industry veteran Bill Tambussi as its master distiller. Small-batch test spirits of Manchester Distillery’s first official gin and vodka are in the works right now, while malt and bourbon whiskeys will also likely be available down the line, the release said. Visit manchesterdistillery.com.

Brews on the Hill: Save the date for A Brew with a View, the craft beer and food festival returning to Steele Hill Resorts (516 Steele Hill Road, Sanbornton) for an eighth year on Saturday, July 8, with VIP admission from 4 to 5 p.m. and general admission from 5 to 7 p.m. With views overlooking Lake Winnisquam, Lake Winnipesaukee and the Belknap Mountain Range, the festival will feature a variety of beers, meats, wines and spirits available for sampling, along with food, door prizes, games, music and more. Festivities begin with a VIP hour, followed by a general tasting session. Door prize drawings will take place at 5:30 p.m. Tickets can be purchased online at abrewwithaview.com and are $50 general admission and $65 VIP admission. Special Brew with a View “getaway” packages are also available, featuring two VIP tickets and 10 percent off accommodations of your choice — see steelehillresorts.com/packages/brew-view-getaway.

In the kitchen with Ben Normandeau

Ben Normandeau of Concord is the owner of 603 Bar-B-Q (603bbq@gmail.com, find them on Facebook and Instagram @603bbq), a food trailer specializing in Central Texas-style barbecue that launched Memorial Day weekend. A Concord native and electrician by trade, Normandeau became interested in barbecue while working at Zavala’s, a renowned spot in the Dallas-Fort Worth-area city of Grand Prairie, Texas. Find him next at Lithermans Limited Brewery (126B Hall St., Concord) on Sunday, June 25, from 1 p.m. until he sells out — offerings include brisket, turkey breast, pulled pork sandwiches, St. Louis-cut ribs, potato salad, coleslaw, macaroni and cheese and banana pudding.

What is your must-have kitchen item?

I think, for me, it would definitely be my smoker. It’s a 500-gallon oil tank that a company down in Georgia made for me.

What would you have for your last meal?

A turkey dinner is definitely my favorite meal by far. We don’t eat it often enough at all.

What is your favorite local restaurant?

If it’s southern New Hampshire, it’s The Red Blazer, which is right next to me here in Concord. I go there all the time. … Up north, it’s the Italian Farmhouse.

What celebrity would you like to see ordering from your trailer?

I’m a big Dead Head, so Jerry Garcia would have been awesome.

What is your favorite thing on your menu?

Honestly, it would probably have to be the brisket. … You can get it as a sandwich, but traditionally, with Central Texas-style, it’s a meat marketing ordering system, so you would just get it on a tray. We serve it on a tray with butcher paper and it comes with bread or a sandwich, whatever you’d like, and then pickled onions and pickles on the side.

What is the biggest food trend in New Hampshire right now?

Outdoor dining, I feel like, is a big thing right now, and also [having that] family-friendly atmosphere. … I mean, it was obviously a thing before Covid, but I think a lot more people just want to sit outside more now.

What is your favorite thing to cook at home?

I like mac and cheese. It’s definitely my favorite dish to make. … Homemade mac and cheese is awesome, but it can be Kraft in a box too.

603 Bar-B-Q basic bird brine
From the kitchen of Ben Normandeau of 603 Bar-B-Q (makes about two quarts)

8 cups water
⅓ cup kosher salt
⅓ cup sugar
4 garlic cloves, smashed
1 Tablespoon dried thyme
1 Tablespoon ground black pepper
2 Tablespoons honey

Whisk salt and sugar with water until dissolved. Combine all of the other ingredients. Submerge poultry in brine and cover, refrigerated, for a minimum of four hours and a maximum of 24 hours (overnight is best).

Featured photo: Ben Normandeau, owner of 603 Bar-B-Q. Courtesy photo.

Scrumptious strawberries

Hollis Strawberry Festival returns for 76th year

By Maya Puma


A celebration of strawberry crops and farming in New Hampshire more than 75 years strong, the Hollis Strawberry Festival is back, taking place on Sunday, June 25, on the Hollis Town Common. Traditionally held on the last Sunday in June, the festival attracts hundreds of people who will come together to enjoy homemade strawberry shortcakes featuring local strawberries, with added choices of local ice cream and hand-whipped cream. The event had a successful comeback year in 2022, the first festival to be held since the pandemic hit.

“It is hugely popular and people come from Mass. and southern New Hampshire. Strawberry lovers from all around come,” said Cathy Gast, publicity chairwoman of the Hollis Woman’s Club.

According to Gast, the festival began in 1946 as a fundraiser for the Town Band, which would perform its spring concert. The Woman’s Club, she said, joined in on the festivities in the ’60s to sell strawberries and strawberry desserts. Today the festival is a joint fundraiser for both the band and the Woman’s Club, which gives out three scholarships per year, two of which — each for $1,000 — are awarded to graduating seniors of Hollis-Brookline High School.

“Last year we grossed over $12,000, so that’s a lot of strawberry shortcakes,” Gast said.

The strawberries themselves, she said, come from local farms in town. Two days before the festival, community volunteers will pick up the berries and hull, wash and prepare them by slicing and putting them into bowls to be sugared. In total, there are 250 quarts of strawberries to go through. The ice cream is homemade and is from Dr. Davis Ice Cream in Pepperell, Mass.

On the day of the festival, the Woman’s Club organizes an assembly line to build shortcakes. People have the opportunity to build their shortcake with a combination of any of the ingredients.

“Everything is homemade — the ice cream, the shortcake, the whipping cream — and they give a really generous portion.” Gast said. “We have a row of people whipping through this whole process and our shortcake is a special secret recipe.”

The family-friendly event will also feature local craft vendors, face-painting, a live performance by the Hollis Town Band, and children’s games, including a Midwestern tradition known as “pocket lady,” in which a lady will be wearing an apron of pockets filled with toys and trinkets. In exchange for 25 cents kids can pull a toy out of one of the pockets at random.

Hollis Strawberry Festival
When: Sunday, June 25, 2 to 4 p.m.
Where: Hollis Town Common, Monument Square, Hollis (in the event of rain, the festival will be held inside Hollis-Brookline Middle School, at 25 Main St. in Hollis)
Cost: Free admission and parking; all strawberry treats are priced per item
Visit: holliswomansclub.org

Featured photo: Courtesy photo.

The Weekly Dish 23/06/22

News from the local food scene

Farm-a-Q to return: A family-friendly event featuring local food, drinks and entertainment, Farm-a-Q returns to Tuckaway Farm (36 Captain Smith Emerson Road, Lee) on Sunday, June 25, from noon to 5 p.m. Tickets are $35 per person, $15 for adult drink bracelets, $25 for students and seniors and free for kids under the age of 5. Proceeds support the Heritage Harvest Project, whose mission is to promote regional heritage foods and agricultural diversity among farmers, chefs and local communities. See “Farm-a-Q” on Eventbrite to purchase tickets.

Brews in Kingston: The Kingston Fire Association’s fourth annual Brewfest takes place on Saturday, June 24, from 2 to 6 p.m. on the Plains in downtown Kingston (148 Main St.). More than 60 different beers, ciders and hard lemonade from at least 30 pourers will be available to sample at the festival, which will also include food trucks and music. Tickets are $40 per person for full access (event is 21+ only) and $10 for designated drivers, and are available online now. Donations are also being accepted to the Kingston Fire Association. See “Kingston Brew Fest” on Facebook.

Coolers: LaBelle Winery will hold a special release party at its Amherst facility (345 Route 101) on Wednesday, June 28, at 6 p.m., for its new limited-edition Mel & Ayme’s Premium Wine Coolers. According to a press release, the low-alcohol coolers are 8 percent ABV and are available in four flavors: chardonnay with blueberry, moscato with raspberry, riesling with pear and seyval blanc with citrus and were ceated by LaBelle winemaker and co-owner Amy LaBelle and assistant winemaker Melaney Shepard Tickets cost $35 per person. The coolers are available for purchase exclusively at LaBelle’s wine and gift shops in Amherst and Derry. Visit labellewinery.com.

Eat sustainably: A report from the New England State Food System Planners Partnership, a collaboration among the New Hampshire Food Alliance, five other state-level organizations and Food Solutions New England, says that, by the year 2030, 30 percent of the food consumed in New England can be regionally produced. The report, A Regional Approach to Food System Resilience, was released June 5 (see it at nefoodsystemplanners.org), according to a press release, and outlines all the roles New Englanders can play in making the region’s food system stronger and more self-reliant.

In the kitchen with Cora Viglione

Cora Viglione of Derry is the kitchen manager of Hare of the Dawg (3 E. Broadway, Derry, 552-3883, hareofthedawgnh.com), a family-friendly downtown bar and grill that opened in early January 2022. Taking over the space that had long been occupied by the C & K Restaurant, Hare of the Dawg features a wide variety of scratch-cooked comfort foods, craft beers and cocktails, and even has a 24-seat custom bar built from the ground up by a local woodworker. A Massachusetts native, Viglione joined the staff of Hare of the Dawg shortly after their opening, after previously working at The Derry Diner for nearly two decades.

What is your must-have kitchen item?

You always have to have a spoon, or tongs. … We use different spoons for different things.

What would you have for your last meal?

Probably fried haddock. … That’s one of my favorite things, and we have very, very good haddock here.

What is your favorite local restaurant?

The Coach [Stop Restaurant & Tavern in Londonderry]. … I’m a really big seafood person, so if any kind of special is seafood, I’ll usually get that.

What celebrity would you like to see eating at Hare of the Dawg?

Oh my goodness. If I had to choose, it would be Robert Urich.

What is your favorite thing on your menu?

I would have to say the meat loaf rolls, and probably a pepperoni and onion pizza.

What is the biggest food trend in New Hampshire right now?

I think it’s the food trucks. There are a lot of food trucks around. … There is a seafood one in town, the One Happy Clam, and the gentleman that runs it used to own Clam Haven. We follow him everywhere. … He’s a nice gentleman and he has good food.

What is your favorite thing to cook at home?

I like to make American chop suey with hot sausage and zucchini, and all kinds of vegetables in it. That’s my favorite. … I want to try it here as a special, because it’s very, very good.

Cora’s American chop suey
From the kitchen of Cora Viglione of Hare of the Dawg in Derry

2 boxes large elbow pasta, boiled
2 packages ground hot sausage
3 to 5 pounds ground beef
1 Vidalia onion, chopped
1 red pepper, chopped
1 green pepper, chopped
2 zucchinis, chopped
1 summer squash, chopped
2 Tablespoons crushed hot red peppers
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 Tablespoon garlic
1 jar Ragú sauce

Cook all ingredients together. Salt and pepper to taste.

Featured photo: Cora Viglione, kitchen manager of Hare of the Dawg Bar & Grill in Derry. Courtesy photo.

When life gives you lemons

Fabrizia Spirits to celebrate National Limoncello Day

June 22 is National Limoncello Day, and Salem’s Fabrizia Spirits purveyor of limoncello in the United States, is marking the occasion with a new festival featuring live music, lawn games, giveaways, facility tours and even a lemon-squeezing competition.

“We discovered there was a National Limoncello Day and we said, ‘We have to do something. We can’t just sit on this,’” Fabrizia Spirits co-owner and founder Phil Mastroianni said. “People for years have been asking to visit Fabrizia and if we did tours, and we don’t, but then we said, ‘Well, why don’t we use Limoncello Day as an opportunity to open up our doors?’”

Launched in 2008 with its flagship limoncello, Fabrizia Spirits has since expanded its product line to include a variety of ready-to-drink cocktails, like its Italian margarita and Italian-style lemonade; multiple flavors of vodka sodas, like Sicilian lemon, blood orange and raspberry; and liqueurs, like the Crema di Pistacchio. In November 2020 the Mastroiannis launched the Fabrizia Lemon Baking Co., introducing their own line of limoncello-infused baked goods for the first time, from cookies and whoopie pies to biscotti, blondies, loaves and white chocolate-dipped truffles — each item is produced fresh onsite at Fabrizia’s Salem headquarters.

Many of these products will be available for attendees to sample during the festival. Indoor tours of Fabrizia’s facility, Mastroianni said, are going to be where you can sample the company’s higher-proof spirits, as well as items from a table of baked goods.

“We’re going to be selling additional stuff that people can take home, if they’d like to buy some baked goods while they’re here,” he said.

Ticket-holders will also receive two full-sized canned cocktails and one complimentary item from the Tola-Rose Italian Eats food truck, which will be parked outside the building. Tola-Rose is owned and operated by Goffstown couple Tony and Laurie Lomuscio and is best-known for authentic Italian options like meatball subs, sausage subs with peppers and onions, chicken or eggplant Parmesan and chocolate chip cannolis.

Outdoors is also where the lemon-squeezing competition is set to take place, and all festival ticket-holders are eligible to participate. Up to eight contestants will stand in front of a bottle of Fabrizia’s limoncello and a basket of halved lemons. The bottle will be topped with a funnel and the first person to fill the bottle to a designated line the fastest — by squeezing juice out of the lemons with their bare hands — will be crowned the winner. In the event that more than eight people sign up, Mastroianni said, there will be qualifying rounds with the same rules.

The festival will not take place in the event of rain, although Mastroianni said if all goes well the hope is to make the National Limoncello Day celebration an annual event. Continuing to grow as a company, Fabrizia established its own lemon grove in Sicily, Italy, earlier this year, and has raised more than $129,000 in funding for nonprofits through its “When Life Hands You Lemons” charity initiative.

National Limoncello Day celebration
When: Thursday, June 22, 6 to 8:30 p.m.
Where: Fabrizia Spirits, 2 Industrial Way, Salem
Cost: $30 per person; includes two drink tickets, one food truck item from Tola-Rose Italian Eats, a gift bag and exclusive tours of the Fabrizia Spirits facility. Attendees can also opt to participate in the lemon-squeezing competition during the checkout process.
Visit: fabriziaspirits.com
In the event of inclement weather, the festival will be canceled and all ticket-holders will be refunded.

Featured photo: Limoncello Day. Courtesy photo.

Lamb feast

St. Nicholas Church celebrates 75 years of Greek eats

Hand-cut marinated lamb is the main draw of one of the Granite State’s longest-running Greek food festivals for many. Get lamb fresh off the skewer, in addition to other homemade items like Greek meatballs, pastitsio and spanakopita, during the annual Lamb Barbecue and Food Festival, returning to St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church in Manchester for the 75th year on Saturday, June 17. The event will also feature a variety of Greek cookies and baked goods for sale, in addition to some raffles and a live DJ performing.

Mobile food ordering was implemented on the church’s website a few years ago, according to festival co-chair and parish president Barbara George. Although the date to pre-order has passed, walk-ins are welcome beginning at noon and until the church runs out of food.

As with previous barbecues, the lamb is prepared using a recipe from the late George Moulis, one of the co-founders of the church. Parishioners gather to prepare the lamb hours before the date of the big event, and work to cube and marinate it before it goes onto the skewers.

You get five pieces of lamb per order for the dinner, which also comes with rice and a Greek salad. George said other dinner options this year include marinated Greek-style chicken tenders, Greek-style meatballs (two per order) and pastitsio, better known as Greek lasagna and featuring layers of ground meat and pasta, topped with a homemade béchamel sauce.

“Something that’s new is we’ll do a Greek salad option with the grilled chicken on top,” George said. “This year we’ve also added paximathia, which is basically a Greek biscotti.”

Also on the menu during the festival will be dolmathes (meat- and rice-stuffed grape leaves, topped with an avgolemono, or Greek egg lemon sauce); and spanakopita (a spinach- and feta cheese-based dish with layers of phyllo dough). If you just can’t decide, you can order the “Papou” sampler dinner, featuring a little bit of everything — each order comes with two pieces of barbecued lamb, one meatball and two stuffed grape leaves, along with the rice and salad.

Several assorted homemade Greek pastries and desserts are available throughout the day as well, from traditional baklava to kourambiethes (powdered sugar cookies) and — returning for the first time since 2019, according to George — finikia (oval-shaped, date-filled cookies soaked in a honey syrup). Visitors are welcome to stay and enjoy their meals under one of the tents outside the church, or get their food to go.

George said a local DJ with Ultimate Music Entertainment will perform during the festival. Various items will also be raffled off, and tours of the church will be available at designated times of 1, 2:30 and 4 p.m.

75th annual Lamb Barbecue & Food Festival
When: Saturday, June 17, noon to when the food sells out
Where: St. Nicholas Greek Orthodox Church, 1160 Bridge St., Manchester
Cost: Free admission and parking; foods are priced per item
Visit: stnicholas-man-nh.org

Featured photo: Scenes from the annual Lamb BBQ & Greek Food Festival. Courtesy photos.

The Weekly Dish 23/06/15

News from the local food scene

Berry delicious: Join J&F Farms (124 Chester, Road, Derry) for its annual strawberry fest on Saturday, June 17, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Festivities will include hayrides, food trucks, a petting farm and liv e music, in addition to food trucks and, of course, strawberries. Visit jandffarmsnh.com. Or check out our berry season cover story, which ran in the June 8 edition of the Hippo on page 10 and includes a list of other upcoming local strawberry and blueberry festivals as well as some berry recipes and a list of farms where you’ll soon be able to pick your own. See hippopress.com.

Cheers to beer: The ninth annual Newport Nano Brewfest is happening on Saturday, June 17, from noon to 3 p.m. on the Newport Town Common (North Main and Park streets, Newport). In addition to beer and cider tastings from local breweries, the event will feature live music, games and more. General admission is $35 per person and tickets are on sale now (event is 21+ only; no children or dogs are allowed). Visit newportnhchamber.org.

Flight Center closes in Manchester: The Flight Center Taphouse & Eatery has permanently closed its Manchester location, according to a June 3 announcement on its Facebook page. “Ultimately the cost of doing business was making it not feasible to continue forward in this space,” the post reads in part, going on to say that the closure does not impact the company’s other locations. The Flight Center Restaurant Group, which also operates the 1750 Taphouse in Bedford and Aviation Brewing Co. in Dover, opened The Flight Center Taphouse & Eatery in the former British Beer Co. space on South Willow Street in the Queen City in June 2021. Read the full announcement on Facebook @flightcentermht.

Local eats and brews: The New Hampshire magazine annual Best of NH Party is happening on Thursday, June 22, from 6 to 8:30 p.m. at Flag Hill Distillery & Winery (297 N. River Road, Lee). Attendees will have access to food and drink samples from a wide array of award-winning New Hampshire restaurants, breweries and other businesses, and this year’s event will also include a special appearances by television chef and author Mary Ann Esposito. General-admission tickets are $68 per person. Visit nhmagazine.com/best-of-nh.

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