This intimate, homey bistro in North Hampton hits all the right notes. The vibe is welcoming, with rough-hewn wood-paneled walls and simple country decor. The service is warm, friendly, and attentive, and the food is fresh and finely crafted. Located on busy Lafayette Road, Urban Farmhouse has been open less than two years, and owner Renee Locke says business is busier than she thought it would be. “The community has been amazing,” she says. “Everyone has been very supportive.” There’s a reason for the support and success: This feel-good breakfast and lunch eatery serves up crave-able comfort food with flourish and finesse.
Come hungry, as portions are ample. Go ahead and treat yourself to one of the daily drink specials, perhaps a Mango Mimosa or Apple Cider Champagne. The restaurant’s license only allows them to serve drinks with no more than 23 per cent alcohol, so they concentrate on creative sparkling drinks and Bloody Marys. There’s also a decent selection of beer on tap, focusing on local brews. But if your drink of choice is coffee, no worries. You can get a bottomless cup of organic java, ground fresh each day.
Breakfast is always available, and a great lunch choice here. For a proven champion, order the Lemon Ricotta Pancakes. This haute-humble stack of light and fluffy pancakes is topped with a creamy house-made lemon curd and then sprinkled with a handful of blueberries. We can lay waste to an entire diet-busting plate of them and not feel the slightest bit bad about it—they’re that good. (They also make a great dessert.) Other sweet winners on the all-day breakfast menu include Maple Walnut French Toast, with crème anglaise, and a Caramel Apple Belgian Waffle, with tangy Granny Smiths and homemade caramel sauce.
No matter the hour, benedicts are popular, including the Pastrami Benedict, with a generous heap of lean pastrami and Dijon hollandaise, and the Maine Salmon Benedict, with pan-seared salmon; both come with well-seasoned roasted skillet potatoes. You’ll find other classic breakfast plates, skillfully altered and updated. Take the Mediterranean Scramble, with tomatoes, Kalamata olives, and fresh spinach, and the Ham & Cheese Scramble, with nitrate-free ham and Gruyere cheese; both are made to order with top-quality ingredients. Whatever you order, consider a side of sweet and long-cooked Nana’s Baked Beans.
If you like hash, this is the place to come. This upscale diner fare dish is homemade, served in small, piping hot cast iron skillets. The Corned Beef Hash alone is worth a visit to the Farmhouse. It’s chock-full of excellent corned beef, served with eggs and a choice of bread (go for the sourdough). Other hash preparations include the Salmon Bacon Hash, with fresh, pan-seared salmon and thick, smoky bacon, and the vegetarian Wild Mushroom Hash.
Sandwiches, salads, and soups get the same creative attention to detail and quality. Soups change seasonally but we can think of few things more satisfying on a cold winter afternoon than a hot bowl of the Tomato Soup. It’s thick, a little chunky, and very tasty; if it’s on the menu, go for it. The Roasted Pear and Arugula Salad is brightened with a blackberry tarragon vinaigrette. “Customers ask me for that vinaigrette recipe all the time,” Locke says. (She didn’t reveal it to us.)
Homemade waffle chips or thin hand-cut fries accompany elevated burgers and sandwiches, like the Pastrami on Rye, with lean, slow-cooked brisket, fried pickles, and melted Swiss cheese, and the Roast Beef and Cheddar Sandwich, with Vermont cheddar, horseradish aioli, and balsamic onions. The key to both are the quality of the ingredients, generous meat portions, and fresh breads. Breads are delivered daily from Jessica’s Brick Oven, artisan bread makers in North Andover, Massachusetts, and include raisin, sourdough, and whole wheat.
We love the Mr. Crunchy sandwich, a fancy name for a traditional Croque Monsieur, featuring fat slices of nitrate-free ham, puddles of melted Brie, and a rich Gruyere Mornay sauce, sandwiched between toasted sourdough bread. It’s gooey, crunchy, salty, and a little bit sweet. When it arrives, we know that there’s no way we can eat the whole thing, and then we do.
But it’s a tough choice between the Mr. Crunchy and the Maple Turkey Sandwich. “Not a day goes by that we don’t serve a Maple Turkey,” Locke says. It’s one of the more popular dishes on the menu. A hunk of tender, juicy roasted turkey, a thick wedge of Vermont cheddar cheese, crispy slices of Granny Smith apple, tomato, lettuce, and salty strips of bacon, topped with a not-too-sweet, perfect maple aioli. “It’s New England inside bread,” Locke declares.
Urban Farmhouse Eatery
184 Lafayette Road
North Hampton, N.H.