The Capital City is building a foodie reputation
Concord is becoming the place for foodies to shop.
In addition to the organic and homemade fare at the Concord Food Co-Op (24 S. Main St.) and the Concord Farmers’ Market (Saturdays on Capitol Street just off Main Street), there are the bakeries and cafés such as Madeleines (124 N. Main St.) and Bread & Chocolate (29 N. Main St.). You can find specialty candies and chocolates at Granite State Candy Shoppe (13 Warren St.) and a menu built for wine lovers at 55 Degrees (55 N. Main St.). And speaking of wine, the Concord WineCellar just expanded to 28 S. Main St. (across the street from its old location).
With these and other foodie must-visit spots (the new Granite Restaurant at Centennial Inn, to name just one), suddenly a town once known for its chain eateries is becoming a destination for food geeks from across the region.
And, the new stuff keeps coming. Things Are Cooking recently left Steeplegate Mall for a new Main Street location. Butter’s (known for its cheese counter and wine selection) has started offering lunch. And The Meat House (already serving steak tips and more to folks in Bedford, Salem, Maine and the seacoast) is setting up shop in town.
The Capital City just keeps getting tastier…
When you need the perfect pan
Things Are Cooking sets up shop in downtown Concord
By Lisa Brown firstname.lastname@example.org
Most cooks only use the finest of ingredients when they prepare a dish.
But serious culinary artists also begin with the proper kitchen equipment.
Like a symphony conductor making sure every instrument is tuned before the first note is played, good cooks will make sure everything is in place and working perfectly before measuring the first ingredient — graters, knives, cutting boards, measuring cups, peelers, presses, saucepans and more.
Weak pans that don’t distribute heat, measuring spoons missing the 1/8-tsp. measure and one-handled rolling pins can’t compete with the really good stuff. That’s when serious cooks turn to a shop like Things Are Cooking, an upscale kitchen accessories boutique that recently moved to Main Street in Concord.
“They are getting more sophisticated as time goes on,” said Art Learned, owner of Things Are Cooking, about his customers. “When we first opened 17 years ago [at Steeplegate Mall], a lot of folks didn’t know what a garlic presser was, so they have gone a long way.”
Things Are Cooking has just moved into its new location on Main Street. The new store has more room and a chic look of shiny wooden floors, islands full of colorful cookware and kitchen gadgets galore. Learned said many of his clients are people who have found inspiration from watching cooking shows.
“It used to be just Julia Child and the Galloping Gourmet on the public television station, but when cable came on and they put on the Food Network, there was an explosion in the business,” Learned said.
In newer homes, there has been a greater emphasis on the kitchen as not just a place to cook but also a place to gather, Learned said.
“We are selling a lot of more pot racks than we ever did,” Learned said. “It indicates some of these people are designing bigger kitchens and, based on the type of cookware they are buying, the kitchen is more important than it was in years back.”
Not everyone needs the best of everything, but Learned said there are a few kitchen basics that every cook in a kitchen should have.
“You need about three different knives and four different pots and that will do it,” Learned said. “An eight-inch chef knife, a six-inch utility and a three-inch paring knife.”
In addition, Learned suggests a few good pans.
“A 10-inch omelet pan, a one-quart and a four-quart saucepan and one large stock pan,” Learned said.
Like other parts of a home, the kitchen is not a room to be overlooked when it comes to fashion, color and quality accessories. One of the most popular brands in cookware is the Le Creuset line, out of France.
“We are seeing a new Caribbean blue — it’s a lighter blue as opposed to the cobalt — and it looks very very nice and we are pleased with that,” Learned said. Traditional Le Creuset ware is usually orange, which is still popular and readily available.
“It never left ... it was one of the first colors they came out with; we also see a lot of red,” Learned said.
While many of Learned’s customers are good cooks, the move to Main Street is bringing new customers who have high-end tastes in food. Things are Cooking is right next to the new gourmet food shop Butter’s Food and Wine.
“Keith Dickey from Butter’s has been a good neighbor and a big help in getting us started and the two stores complement each other and create a lot of synergy,” Learned said. “We are pleased to have him as our neighbor and we hope he’s pleased to have us.”
Things are Cooking, 74 N. Main St. in Concord, is open seven days a week. On Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Saturday, it’s open from 9 a.m to 6 p.m. On Thursday and Friday the store opens at 9 a.m. and closes at 7 p.m. Sunday hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, call 225-8377 or go to www.thingsarecooking.com.
Lunch with Satchmo
Gourmet shop offers jazzy new sandwiches
By Susan Manley email@example.com
Open for a year, Butter’s has expanded its offerings to include gourmet sandwiches and cold soups. Owner Keith Dickey has put together a menu of four sandwiches that cater to the sophisticated palate.
“The menu really has something for everyone,” Dickey said.
Dickey loves jazz, and his menu pays homage to some of the greats. Look for the Satchmo ($8.95) — named after Louis Armstrong, this sandwich is described as salty, peppery, creamy and melodic: rustic bread topped with double-crème Fromage D’Affnois brie with thinly sliced prosciutto, garlic aioli and baby arugula.
The Dinah ($7.95) is named after Dinah Washington and is described as “sweetly tart.” Here Butter’s takes chicken salad and adds dried cherries, toasted walnuts, rosemary and a balsamic reduction.
The Ella is a flavorful tuna sandwich with tapenade, chives and crème fraiche and a drizzle of lemon oil ($7.95), and the Miles is described as a “cool fusion of flavors” — tomatoes roasted in garlic, herbs and olive oil, with tapenade, arugula and double-crème Fromage D’Affinois brie.
A homemade cold soup is offered daily.
“We wanted to offer something to the lunch crowd downtown,” Dickey said.
Dozens of imported and domestic cheeses fill the cases, and wines line the shelves, all at reasonable prices.
Dickey is a New Yorker who graduated from Dartmouth. He left the hectic pace of investment banking and moved his family back to New Hampshire for a better quality of life.
A real gourmand and admitted Francophile, Dickey decided a wine and cheese shop was a natural fit for him.
Steak tips invasion
The Meat House comes to Concord
By Lisa Brown firstname.lastname@example.org
The grazing is amazing at The Meat House, an upscale neighborhood butcher shop chain that is carving its way to success across New Hampshire.
At The Meat House in Bedford, you can sample piping hot sirloin steak, fresh bread dipped in olive oils, goat cheese that will make you yearn for a glass of wine, artichoke dip and even key lime or berry pie, generously served in a plastic cup with a spoon.
The Meat House is fast becoming one of New Hampshire’s favorite butcher shops. The chain has stores in five locations (including one in York, Maine) and is now preparing to open a sixth store in Concord in mid August.
“It’s a logical step for us. We were getting a lot of consumers coming down to Bedford and we were seeing a demand for it,” said Justin Rosberg, co-founder and owner of The Meat House. “It’s been an area we’ve had our eye on for years.”
The idea of The Meat House was hatched between longtime friends Jason Parent and Justin Rosberg, who met at Marshwood High School in Elliott, Maine. Both were working for the Weathervane Restaurant group in management when they decided to start looking beyond the restaurant business and form a partnership. Rosberg got an MBA and was working for Bear Stearns in Boston while Parent learned the restaurant business in and out.
“Jason had stayed on and continued to move up as a district manager and he decided he needed a change,” Rosberg said. “It was during that period that I realized I wasn’t fulfilled doing what I was doing, I said to Jason, ‘I think I have an idea’ and we put our heads together.”
With a combined total of more than 20 years in the restaurant and service industry, the two decided to open a gourmet butcher store based on quality meats and superb customer service.
“Customer service is number one. Our mission is to be excellent, consistent and customer-focused,” Rosberg said.
“When they developed a marinade for steak tips — they had worked on it for months to perfect it — that was when they opened their first store,” said Chris Carragher, marketing director for The Meat House.
“We would literally be in the back of my house with meat and marinade and mixing and reformulating it all until we got it right, until we knew we had something that we were ready to serve our public,” Rosberg said.
To get the business up and on its feet, both Rosberg and Parent turned to former colleagues from the restaurant business.
“When we were getting ready to open Portsmouth [their first store], we were on the phone reaching out to people we had known from that time period,” Rosberg said. “We were fortunate enough that the majority of the people we talked to bought into it.”
The goal for Parent and Rosberg was to build not one but a chain of gourmet butcher stores.
The first store opened in Portsmouth on Rt. 1 in 2003. Soon there were Meat House sin Dover, Bedford, Maine, Exeter and Salem. The sixth store is scheduled to open in August on the Pembroke-Concord line at the corner of Routes 106 and 3.
The Meat House is a butcher shop and a whole lot more.
“We have over 200 selections of wine from all over the world in our stores. It is a small marketplace. We are called The Meat House for a reason. But people are able to get everything they need to put together a memorable meal at their house,” Rosberg said.
The store sells steak, lamb, pork, chicken, veal, roasts (cut to order) and beef tips in all sorts of flavors including teriyaki, garlic and pepper, Cajun and sweet barbecue.
“Essentially, the equipment that we use to marinate the meat looks like a big cylinder, like a dryer, and it tumbles the meat and pressurizes it,” Carraghers said.
The result is a piece of meat that is totally infused with marinade, deep into the tips, not just on the surface.
Amazingly, the steak tips have been known to convert strict vegetarians.
“Actually, my girlfriend was a vegetarian for 11 years and she tried our marinated steak tips and she has converted,” Carragher said.
In addition to the traditional meats, The Meat House also has a robust assortment of wild game, including alligator, frog legs, goose, duck, elk, ostrich, wild boar, foie gras, quail, rabbit and buffalo.
“If you want to position yourself as The Meat House then you have to be willing to provide all different kinds of cuts and meats for your customers. If a customer wants frog legs, kangaroo, wild boar or alligator, we are going to find it for them, quote them a price and bring it in for them,” Rosberg said. “We are there to serve the customer.”
In addition to being both a gourmet butcher store and a retail market, The Meat House does a large Internet business and can ship meat anywhere in the United States. For more information call 1-866-479-6328 or visit themeathouse.com..