Concord: The City in a Food Coma
Some years back an article appeared saying that Concord, NH, was not a bad place to eat, despite its nickname of a “city in a coma.” Often overlooked when compared to its big sister to the south - Manchester, as well as the vibrant city of Portsmouth, the state capital just didn't make the list.
Then a major project revived Main Street Concord, and new eateries and shops opened by the handful, shaking up the city’s sleepy dining scene.
Set on the Merrimack River, Concord always had the bones to be a destination – a thriving, well-preserved Main Street with lots of locally owned stores. The monumental NH Statehouse is full of statues, paintings and history. But, the tourists often just drove by, on their way to the lakes and mountains of the north – until now.
Within the last few years, a host of cool eateries have sprung up – places like Revival, led by star chef Corey Fletcher – Revival uses fresh locally sourced ingredients and creative thinking. And poke bowls are to be found off Main at Splendid Sushi.
Nearby a microbrewery is offering its own brews just off Main Street on Storrs St. And on Main Street a host of new eateries have opened, from Whiskey & Wine with a big variety of gourmet dishes, to Splendid Sushi with a fresh spin on Asian classics, to Wow Fried Chicken – also know for its Middle Eastern specialties, and Noodles and Pearls, offering bubble tea and ramen soups. And Vibes serves up gourmet burgers and real fries, while Chucks BARbershop is a speakeasy.
But there is a creative edge too . The new Whiskey and Wine offers an extensive list of what it is named for, along with a fun Asian-inspired menu of big and small plates. And, off of Eagle Square, Concord’s first “speakeasy” in 90 years hides behind the “front” of a barbershop.
But the good food news is not only on the main drag, The Smokeshow Barbeque on Ft. Eddy Road, minutes from downtown, offers what may be the state’s best variety of ribs, brisket, and turkey with all the sides. All affordably priced, authentic, and tasty.
Go Food Basket on Washington Street is serving up Asian fare, including homemade Kimchi and hand rolled sushi – they offer traditional Korean dishes for take out. Off Loudon Road, there is a new Asian/Nepali eatery called the Katmandu bazaar restaurant.
The new Lithermans Limited Brewery offers more than a dozen of its own beers. The tasting room invites guests to explore new beers, and buy the local brews to enjoy at home.
Classics include the Barley House – an elevated Irish eatery with too many beers to count- and really great burgers. This is a prime stop for would-be presidents, too – so look out, the next leader-of-the-free-world may be at a table next to you!
O Steak and Seafood next to the Red River Theatres, is elegant and urban, with an impressive offering of fine steaks and seafood. Down Pleasant Street, the Granite Room is know for its high thinking and local take on food, and its very impressive brunch. NH’s own Common Man has an eatery on lower Main Street, serving up classic recipes and comfort food. And the The Newell Post is bringing great breakfasts to Main Street.
But, the good eats don’t stop there… Within the nineteenth-century brick architecture, Downtown Concord hosts a smattering of different international restaurants and bakeries. You can grab lunch or dinner at the House of India, a family owned and operated Indian restaurant. You can dine on authentic Indian cuisine prepared by the matriarch of the Kaur family using family recipes passed down through generations.
Siam Orchid located in a newly renovated space on Main Street, the sophisticated atmosphere of the restaurant only enriches the taste of unique Thai dishes. For a romantic dinner or lunch, Angelina’s Italian Restaurant is the place to be. The authentic taste of hand crafted Italian food made from only the finest and freshest ingredients is a treat.
Off of Loudon road, the café offers a rich mix of Indian and Nepali food in the back of Concord’s Asian food market. Look for samosas, momos and other tasty treats.
And yes, there are classics such as Cheers, and Washington Street Café... And so many other great places to dine in this city. Concord is more of a city in a food coma now.