February 26, 2009

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Before late night eats, an evening at the pub
Red Arrow owner opens J’s Tavern under Milford dinner

By Linda A. Thompson-Odum food@hippopress.com

The Red Arrow Diner is a foodie institution in Manchester — and now also in Milford. The newest Arrow’s venture is located around the corner and underneath the Milford diner: J’s Tavern Under the Bridge. This small bar and restaurant has an atmosphere a little more upscale than the diner upstairs, and it serves killer cocktails.

The tavern and diner are co-owned by Carol Sheehan and her father, George Lawrence. The space is warm, cozy and intimate with a stone bar, seating for 40, flat-screen televisions and an entire wall of windows that overlook the river.

“Customers come in and sit at and enjoy the bar, but they all have to look out the windows at the beautiful setting before they leave,” Lawrence said.

The tavern’s name is in honor of Sheehan’s son, Jessie, who died in June 2009 at the age of 14 of Alagille syndrome. The disorder took away part of his hearing and most of his vision by the time he passed away in his sleep at the Perkins School for the Blind in Massachusetts. Even so, Jessie was a life force who faced each day with optimism and impacted everyone who came into contact with him. Every day Sheehan wears a clay heart-shaped necklace that he made, even with formal wear.

Both owners seem to enjoy having a business that differs from the diner world that Sheehan has been involved with since 1987. Lawrence once owned Belmont Hall in Manchester. He tried to retire, but was too bored for his liking. Then he considered opening a restaurant in Hooksett, but the Milford location came along instead and he found a new niche. It also gives him an outlet for his food imagination.

“The menu upstairs has to stay the same as the menu in Manchester, especially since we have plans to franchise the Red Arrow,” Sheehan explained while seated at a tall, wooden bar-style table in a corner of the tavern. “But the tavern allows him the creativity with the menu that he loves.”

There is some menu crossover from the diner to the tavern — primarily pub food such as burgers, chicken tenders, chili and soups. Some of the stand-out tavern dishes include beer-battered cheddar sticks, a bacon and blue cheese burger, and a grilled tenderloin dinner. Lawrence’s influence stands out in the panini that he loves, and in specials such as bison baby back ribs and kangaroo burgers.

Of course, it’s the beverages that make the tavern unique. There is a full bar with beer both on tap and by the bottle, as well as wine and any cocktail imaginable. The new drinks menu is hot off the presses and includes a page of Fenway Park-inspired drinks (Jesse was a rabid Red Sox fan) and a martini page with options like Pop’s Makers Mark and Mom’s lemon cosmo.

Though the tavern has only been open since the end of December, bartender Jess Stacey said they have already attracted a group of regulars every Wednesday evening. Tuesdays are karaoke nights with the singing bartender, Vanessa Marcum. And Thursday evenings feature Fred C. and his guitar. Additional special evenings are in the works.

One other difference from the diner is that the tavern isn’t open 24/7. It does open every day for dinner and Thursday through Sunday for lunch. “It’s a comfortable, inviting place,” Sheehan said. “I think it’s totally cool."


Owners Carol Sheehan (left) and George Lawrence (right) with bartender Jess Stacy at J’s Tavern in Milford. Linda A. Thompson-Odum photo.

J’s Tavern Under the Bridge
63 Union Square, Milford, 249-9222
www.jstavernnh.com
Hours: Monday through Wednesday, 3 to 10 p.m.; Thursday, Friday and Saturday, 11:30 a.m. to 1 a.m.; Sunday, 11:30 a.m. to 9 p.m.


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2/5/2009 Dinner with your sweetheart
1/29/2009 Food for the 50-yard line
1/22/2009 Artisan bread at The Good Loaf
1/15/2009 "Fold, mush, turn"
1/8/2009 Once upon a time at a bistro...
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12/25/2008 2008 in small bites
12/18/2008 Manchestert brewing opens in Concord
12/11/2008 Delicious gifts for the foodie
12/4/2008 New chef at UnWine'd
11/27/2008 Corks pops at BVI
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11/13/2008 IPA first prize
11/6/2008 You want it? He'll bring it.
10/30/2008 Cooking up a mystery
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10/16/2008 Like grandma made it
10/9/2008 The flavor of Concord
10/2/2008 Indie donuts rising
9/25/2008 Buy a bowl, feed the hungry
9/18/2008 Oktoberfest — for a cause
9/11/2008 A slice ofGreece, Asia, France...
9/4/2008 Flavors of Manchester
8/28/2008 D.I.Y. sausage
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8/14/2008 Weekend of festivals
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7/31/2008 Red and juicy, from vine to table
7/24/2008 Meet the Manch-vegans
7/17/2008 Meet the winemaker
7/10/2008 Pupusas, cervesa y batidos
7/03/2008 3C's Cafe opens in Highlander Inn
6/26/2008 Oh, tartar sauce!
6/19/2008 From farm to grill
6/12/2008 450 pounds of lamb
6/5/2008 Travel the culinary world at BVI
5/29/2008 Chocolate throwdown
5/22/2008 Hit the road for some Yum-Yum
5/15/2008 Local, gluten-free and ready made
5/8/2008 The return of brownies and pasta
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4/24/2008 Noshing and shopping
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4/10/2008 Drive-ins open for the season
4/3/2008 Noshing for a cause
3/20/2008 The Easter Bunny brings dinner
3/13/2008 The Irish Spirit
3/6/2008 The sweet season
2/28/2008 Cambodian (or Italian) made easy
2/21/2008 Fresh fish comes to Nashua
2/14/2008 Hearts and fibers
2/7/2008 A romantic dinner for two
1/31/2008 Celebrate Mardi Gras
1/24/2008 Morroccan in Milford
1/17/2008 The chef is inn
1/10/2008 Italian street food in NH
1/10/2008 The contorni approach
1/3/2008 Like Disneyland for foodies
12/27/2007 More food and wine events, a menu for the bar
12/20/2007 Lots of dough
12/13/2007 Gifts for gourmands
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11/22/2007 Just don't ask them to cook
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11/8/2007 Italian eats, bistro style
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10/25/2007 Trick or treat, the grown-up version
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10/04/2007 Tradition on the menu
9/27/2007 Meet your pig
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9/13/2007 Get ready to eat
9/6/2007 Fifty years of fair
8/30/2007 The buzz about peach fuzz
8/23/2007 Enjoy the Caribbean, sans hurricanes
8/16/2007 Festival weekend
8/9/2007 Still time to scream
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7/26/2007 Gourmet Concord?
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7/12/2007 Reintroducing ratatouille
7/5/2007 Time to hit the grill
6/28/2007 Peanutty dinner delight
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6/14/2007 Holy Barbecue
6/07/2007 A wine for Red Sox
5/31/2007 Pinot noir romance
5/24/2007 Josh Logan eats (not before shows)
5/17/2007 Baklava, spanakopita and souvlaki ó a.k.a. dinner
5/10/2007 Cremeland celebrates 60 years of burgers and shakes
5/3/2007 New eats in bloom
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4/19/2007 Cakes, cow-free
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4/5/2007 More than just a chocolate bunny
3/29/2007 New 'nuches
3/22/2007 A taste of genuine sweetness
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3/1/2007 Feeding Mama Kicks
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2/15/2007 Noodly comfort food
2/8/2007 The luxury of osso bucco
2/1/2007 Super platters for the Super Bowl
1/25/2007 It's a wrap
1/18/2007 The writing foodie
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1/04/2007 The healthy foodie
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12/21/2006 Organic on the ice
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12/07/2006 Southeast U.S. culture, in sandwich form
11/30/2006 Bites of comfort with chips of happiness
11/23/2006 Cityside adds class to conveniece
11/16/2006 Easier-to-enjoy Thanksgiving feasts
11/9/2006 The new classic
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10/19/2006 A new way to crepe
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09/07/2006 Eat your way down the block
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08/24/2006 Way down south in Hollis
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02/16/2006 She sells sushi by the sea shore
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02/02/2006 Forget formal dining, head to the bar
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01/19/2006 The secret lives of chefs
01/12/2006 Cooking up a pot of delayed gratification
01/05/2006 A sunny Italian side dish
A year of eats

All-you-can-read guide to breakfast
A bagel by any other l
abel
A picnic ó itís romance with ants
A sweet burst of summer, in stages
Beef, It's What's For Dinner, Lunch, And Dessert
Be it ever so humble, the burger rules
Blockbuster snacks for your movie
Box Of Chocolates
C Is For Cookie And Christmas And Cool Combo
Celebrating A Holiday For The Rest Of Us
Celebrate Easter In A Sugar Coma
Chat And Chew

Chinese soup is magic
Chocolate cake makes everything better
Chocolate, Part II
Competition flows like chocolate
Corn Flake Chicken, Honeycomb Salad
Dining at the "Your House Bistro"
Don't Dread The Bread
Dress Up Your Next Meal
Drinking Out Of The Box
Eating Your Way Back To Health
Empanadas
Enter Soup
Experiments With Very Bad Brownies
Feeding A Crowd The Morning After
Follow the cider house rules
Fresh Herbs
Go ahead ó run silent, run deep
Goodbye corn syrup, hello organic oatmeal
Go Indian for Thanksgiving
Grilled Cheese Junkie

Halloween candy for grown-ups
Have a Happy Meal and a happier wallet
Holiday Cookies - The Easy Way
Holiday Potluck 101-Tips For The Kitchen Novice
Home-Based Date
How do you like them apples?
In-A-Pinch Love Feast
It's not easy to be cheesy
Itís not Christmas without tamales
Lest We Forget The Humble Squash
Keeping your cool while you eat
Living through your salad days

Looking Beyond The Hot Dog Stand
Lunching your way to a less toxic you
Meat's meat and a man's gotta eat

Moist and delicious chicken ó no, really
Oatmeal Cookies, The Miracle Cure
Oscar Night, When The Stars Come Out To Eat

Offering Up A Slice Of Teriyaki Pie
Pot Pies Are Darn Tasty
Pumpkin-Flavored Treats
Small Plates Are The Next Big Thing
Speedy 'za not pie in the sky
Steak: itís whatís for dinner, again
Summer coolers, just add sunlight
Summer Squash
Super Bowl Grub
Take A Walk On The Dark Side
Taste of Manchester Event
The Cosmopolitan
The joys of a simple oatmeal breakfast
The return of comfort food
The One-Note Cook Book
The New American Plate Cookbook
The Stickiest, Hottest & Sweetest Of Love's Labors
The taste of retro
The Unheralded Peanut Butter Cookies
The union of sweet and heat
The Weekly Dish (12-16-04)
The Weekly Dish (12-23-04)

The Weekly Dish [1-13-05]
There's a Barbecue Bonanza Next Door
Week Four: Adding Diet To The Mix
What Was Hot And Haute In 2004
When $$ trumps urge to dine out
When in doubt, go for the organic
When nothing else will cool, Slurp it
You Say Potato, She'll Say Potato,Too
You say tomato, writer says lunch