Settled by the mouth of the Merrimack River—across from Newburyport and upstream from Salisbury, Amesbury is full of rich history. As you walk along the cobblestone pathways through the city’s center, eateries occupy converted mill buildings where chefs use fresh, local ingredients to create delicious dishes. Entrepreneurs know this tight-knit North Shore community is the up-and-coming place to be.
“The Toast” is a Portsmouth institution, a bold and boisterous hangout, known for its kitschy, funky decor, come-as-you-are, laid-back vibe, and unique, satisfying food. In 2013, when new owners Eric Goodwin and Scott Pulver took over, locals were wary. Would they change it too much, get rid of its wacky but beloved atmosphere?
It’s 3 p.m. on a Saturday afternoon at the Tuckaway in Raymond, New Hampshire. At this hour, one would expect there to be a period of down time before the dinner rush, but there’s still a wait for lunch. That’s normal for the tavern and butchery, though. Owner Paul Simbliaris and Executive Chef Bobby Marcotte know that on most days they’ll be working nonstop until 9 p.m.
If location is everything, then the recently opened Blind Pig Provisions in Kittery, Maine, has it all. Located on Badger’s Island, the convivial gastropub overlooks the Piscataqua River and Portsmouth Harbor. If you’re lucky, you’ll snag a waterside chair or a table in the beer garden, a brilliant sun will be setting, and they’ll have your favorite brew on tap. Fortunately, the restaurant, the latest venture from chefs Matt Greco and Mike Prete (owners of The Kitchen, Sandwich Kings Food Truck, and Portsmouth Catering Company) doesn’t rely on location alone. Add a relaxed atmosphere, new-American cuisine, reasonable prices, and smart cocktail, wine, and beer lists and it’s destined to become a neighborhood favorite.
Nestled between mountains and ocean, and just a hop over from Portsmouth and the bustling campus of the University of New Hampshire, Dover is a hidden gem on the Seacoast. The picturesque Cocheco River runs through the quaint center of town, surrounded by an abundance of eateries offering up creative cuisine and craft beers from microbreweries around the region.