By Rachel Forrest, Special to Seacoastonline
PORTSMOUTH -- Chef Bobby Marcotte, well known for his success with local restaurants and on the Food Network, is planning to open a new restaurant in the vacant Getty gas station at 361 Islington St. sometime in 2022.
He says it will not be like his current restaurants, Rise + Grind in Durham and Hop + Grind, in both Durham and Peabody, Massachusetts. The executive chef at Tuckaway Tavern and Butchery in Raymond said while we’ll have to wait to find out just what that new concept is, he thinks people will like it.
“It's a brand new concept that we aren't ready to disclose quite yet, but it's something we haven't done before. It's something new and fresh and exciting ... I've been hibernating on this concept for probably three years, and I've just been waiting for the perfect home for it. It’s something not out of our comfort zone, but definitely a little different than what we usually do, it’s super exciting and something that no one's doing.”
The former Deuxave cook now owns Culture and Greenleaf in Milford, N.H.
By Kara Baskin, Globe Correspondent
Operating two restaurants during a pandemic is tough. Doing it while starring on a TV show? Tougher. Chris Viaud, 30, appears on the current season of “Top Chef,” representing Milford, N.H., where he runs Culture bakery and Greenleaf, a fine-dining restaurant in a refurbished bank. He also stages family-style dinners that employ his family’s Haitian influences. He grew up in Londonderry, N.H., and headed back north after working at the Back Bay’s Deuxave, looking for a more relaxed pace.
Coming from the world of fine dining in Boston, what inspired you to open a restaurant in New Hampshire?
Sure. I own two restaurants in New Hampshire: Greenleaf, which is an upscale farm-to-table experience, and then Culture, which is a bakery and sandwich shop.
Even with historically high wages, eateries are having a hard time filling jobs; wings will soon fly off menus; dining options slimming too.
By Tony Schinella, Patch.com
CONCORD, NH -- The last 15 months have been a boomerang, of sorts, for restaurants in New Hampshire.
Midway through March 2020, as everything shut down, many restaurateurs and business owners thought they were going to lose everything. The industry requires customers to go out to eat and drink, spend their money, and be social — something that was restricted during the coronavirus pandemic. Eateries pivoted — offering outside dining and takeout options and strategizing to stay alive. Many survived until infections died down but some, however, did not.
As infections began to rise again last fall, it was another freakout moment for restaurants — the outdoor dining option was dampened due to chilly New Hampshire temperatures. Some experimented with delivery services and continued take-out while working with minimal staffing. As the holiday season subsided though, there was more worry — the sector was entering the first quarter, historically the worst time of the year for eateries. The New Hampshire Lodging & Restaurant Association launched a statewide effort to get the industry through and it appears to have worked.
By Todd Bookman, NHPR
For 67 years, Hart's Turkey Farm Restaurant has had one item starring on its menu.
“I make turkey in every way you can imagine,” explains Sim Willey, third generation owner of this Meredith institution. “Turkey piccata, turkey dinner, turkey croquettes, turkey nuggets.”
Hart’s is a big restaurant, seating about 600 diners at full capacity. On a busy day, Willey cooks and serves 100 40-lb turkeys, along with burgers, seafood and other family-dining staples.
Most summers, Willey will operate Hart’s with 230 employees. But this year, he’s struggling to fill open positions.
“I’m approximately 100 short on my staff this year,” he says.
By KC Downey, WMUR
CONCORD, N.H. — State health officials are issuing a warning about someone they say is calling restaurants pretending to be a New Hampshire food health inspector.Officials said the person attempts to schedule an inspection at restaurants and threatens to fine restaurants if they do not comply.
Officials say food inspectors in the state do not schedule appointments. Instead, they show up unannounced.
They also said inspectors do not ask for money over the phone and usually have a proper identification from the state.
Any restaurant receiving calls like the one described above should call police.
By Teddy Rosenbluth, Concord Monitor
Tourism officials project that New Hampshire will welcome 3.45 million visitors this summer and rake in $1.8 billion dollars, crediting high vaccination rates and a pent-up demand for travel.
This is good news for the state’s tourism industry, which suffered from a 15% decline in visitors last summer.
New Hampshire Lodging and Restaurant Association President and CEO Mike Somers said in 2020 through November the loss in business to the hospitality and tourism industry was more than $775 million, a loss of about $70 million in rooms and meals tax.
By Nancy West, Conway Daily Sun
CONCORD -- Gov. Chris Sununu spent much of his weekly news conference Thursday detailing how he expects to spend many millions of dollars the state expects to recoup from businesses that received CARES Act Funds but didn’t lose revenue because of COVID-19, plus the new funding from the American Rescue Plan.
The beneficiaries are expected to be small businesses, even if they didn’t lose revenue during the pandemic, and the hotel and lodging industry, live venues, clean drinking water, broadband expansion, mental health services and state parks. No final determinations have been made on specific programs.
Sununu said the state expects to recoup $50 million from businesses that accepted grants but didn’t end up losing money and many new opportunities from the lastest round of federal funds that will bring almost $1 billion to the state of New Hampshire and another $450 million to municipalities and counties.
By Kevin Landrigan, New Hampshire Union Leader
CONCORD -- Restaurant industry leaders want the Legislature to move preemptively to prevent tipped employees from getting a windfall pay raise if Congress raises the federal minimum wage.
Coming out of the pandemic, the New Hampshire Lodging and Restaurant Association pursued this Senate-passed bill (SB 137), which would take effect only if the Biden administration succeeds in its drive to double the minimum wage from $7.25 to $15 an hour.
For decades, the minimum wage paid to tipped workers like servers and bartenders in New Hampshire has been 45% of the federal minimum wage.
Since 2009, that has been $3.27 an hour.
If business is so slow that servers receive little in tips, the restaurant owner has to make up the difference and bring those workers to the federal minimum wage of $7.25 an hour.
COVID-19 has hit the hospitality industry hard, with many food businesses still only offering takeout or outside dining.
The goal of SB 137 is to ensure that even if Congress raises the minimum wage, the tipped wage here would remain $3.27 an hour.
By Michael Cousineau, New Hampshire Union Leader
During the “most challenging” time to find workers, Tim Baines has a secret weapon.
When the Manchester restaurant owner is short on staff at one eatery, he can tap a second one he owns for help. A business partner, Bob Scribner, who owns two other city businesses — The Wild Rover Pub & Restaurant and McGarvey’s Saloon — also shares staff.
“I’d say right now 12 to 13 people are wearing multiple hats between establishments,” said Baines, who owns Mint Bistro and co-owns Elm House of Pizza.
Having a pool of 100 workers among the four businesses is allowing the owners to consider providing more benefits, easier than if they were completely separate — and a good way to attract and retain employees.
“I do believe it would give us a competitive advantage,” Baines said.