Helen Williams, owner and head chef of 2 Home Cooks, wants you to feel like family as soon as you enter her eatery. Housed in Dover’s Cocheco Park, the restaurant features a large wraparound bar that surrounds an open kitchen, giving customers a front-row view of the action, plus the ability to interact with the person making their meal. “We want to get to know the guests and be a little more personal,” Williams says. “Instead of walking into a restaurant, you’re walking into our home.”
Opened in December, 2016, The Paddle Inn in downtown Newburyport operates with a “food, drink, sun, surf” theme—and it is working. “The response has been great,” says Co-owner and Executive Chef Suzi Maitland, an experienced restaurateur with Trina’s Starlite Lounge and Parlor Sports in Somerville, Massachusetts, among some of her other culinary business concerns.
We would dine at The Tiller Restaurant just for the view. It’s stunning: crashing waves against granite cliffs and open ocean as far as the eye can see. This contemporary restaurant at the luxurious Cliff House resort in Cape Neddick, Maine, takes full advantage of its perch on rocky Bald Head Cliff. Gray-blue banquettes and wooden tables face a wall of windows overlooking the Atlantic; a fieldstone fireplace warms a corner. The good news is that Executive Chef Rick Shell also takes full advantage of the location, working closely with local farms, dairies, ranchers, and fishermen and women to create equally stunning dishes, with deep ties to New England culinary traditions.
Miles of sandy beach bordering the Ocean Boulevard strip of restaurants, candy shops, arcades, and gift shops have made Hampton (and neighboring North Hampton) one of New Hampshire’s popular tourist destinations. This quintessential New England town also boasts bold eats, innovative menus, and entrepreneurial endeavors. Just a few miles inland, Lafayette Road is bustling with some of the best breakfast, lunch, and dinner spots that combine fresh ingredients with creative culinary skills, resulting in dishes that you’ll come back for time and again.
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.
For a town once prominent enough to mark pre-Revolutionary maps of America, Kingston exudes a sense of staunch preservation—in the best, most New England way possible. But at Rick’s Food & Spirits, small-town charm and New-Age fare are anything but mutually exclusive.
In Portsmouth, a trip down memory lane just might mean a jaunt around the Rotary. There, nestled beside the Best Western hotel, you’ll find the aptly named Roundabout Diner. Opened by former Muddy River Smokehouse owner Dan Posternak in 2011, the Roundabout shimmers with ’50s Americana from the outside in, all the way down to requisite race-script arrow sign, checkerboard floors, and plush vinyl booths. It’s enough to make this ’90s grunge kid wish he’d commandeered Doc Brown’s DeLorean.