By: John Koziol, NewHampshire.com
Sweet, but with a little heat, different but familiar, and ultimately delicious, the Bacon Corn Johnny Cakes with Maple Drizzle concocted by Dan Duris has earned the Manchester native $5,000 and the title of Northeast Region winner in the 2018 Neighborhood to Nation Recipe Contest from General Mills.
Chef and co-owner of the Gypsy Café, which he operates on Main Street with help from his wife Kristy, and mother and fellow co-owner Claire Allard, Duris on Aug. 17 was presented a check by General Mills officials who, as part of the contest, also gave $1,000 to a charity of his choice: Jean’s Playhouse.
Automatically entered into the running for the national title, which would mean an additional $20,000 for him and $4,000 more for the playhouse, Duris grew up in the Queen City, which his mother still calls home, and attended the then Plymouth State College to major in business, but ended up in the food industry instead.
He started at the bottom, by peeling potatoes for Scott Rice, the founder of the Woodstock Inn & Brewery, and gradually honed his culinary skills. In April 2006, Duris opened the Gypsy Café, which, he explained, has an eclectic menu featuring food from around the world, albeit “with a New England twist.”
By: NHBR Staff
Construction has finally begun on a long-awaited Keene hotel project, with expectations that the new facility will open for business in May 2019.
The 100-room, 58-000-square-foot Hampton Inn & Suites is being built on a 2.25 acre site on Key Road. The four-story hotel will include an indoor swimming pool, with stucco and brick design elements.
Russell and Dawson, an architecture, engineering and construction firm based in Hartford, Conn., is heading up construction. Jamsan Hotel Management of Lexington, Mass., will manage the Keene Hampton Inn & Suites. The property owner is Jazzlyn Hospitality II LLC, which is also based in Lexington, and bought the property three years ago.
A similar hotel had been planned at the site going back to 2006, but by 2008 the project failed after the then-owner’s president was convicted of employing undocumented workers at another of his properties. But it wasn’t before part of the structure had already been built. In 2010, another owner tried to resurrect the project and also failed before Jazzlyn picked up the property in 2015.
Read this article on NHBR.com.
By: Alex LaCasse, Seacoast Online
Residents looking to taste some tropical flavor in the dead of winter or enjoy some cold sushi when it’s hot out will soon be able to sample the tastes of Hawaii at Ohana Kitchen right in town.
Owners Jay and Stacy Krecklow are aiming to open their second Ohana Kitchen location on the Seacoast in late September or early October in the Exeter Commons Plaza at 75 Portsmouth Ave., next to On the Vine Marketplace. The couple currently operates a location in Portsmouth at 800 Islington St., which opened in December 2017.
Jay Krecklow said the restaurant specializes in authentic Hawaiian poké bowls and sushi burritos. Poké is a Hawaiian food traditionally served with raw ahi tuna, Maui onion, green onion, sesame oil and soy sauce. He said the restaurant will offer online pickup and delivery orders, in addition to the 20-seat dining room.
Krecklow said several specialty bowls/burritos and a “no limits” poké or a build-your-own option, containing a rice base, a protein, garnishes including sweet onion, mint leaf and sushi staples like edamame; a sauce, fruit and vegetable toppings, and a crunchy accessory, such as garlic crisps. He said for non-sushi fans, cooked proteins such as baby shrimp and local chicken will be available, in addition to raw fish, vegetarian, vegan and gluten-free choices.
“It’s essentially deconstructed sushi,” he said. “Healthy fast food is hard to come by, but we’re really excited to be able to offer this cuisine.”
By: Michael McCord, NHBR
The ongoing revival at Smuttynose Brewery in Hampton took a fun turn in July when the company held an in-house brewing competition among 10 teams and hosted a recent visit by Gov. Chris Sununu. Smuttynose has moved forward from a financial bottom that forced an auction sale of the company earlier this year, first to Provident Bank and then to Runnymede Investments, a local private equity firm. It’s also a sign that the brewery — named after the third-largest island in the Isles of Shoals and founded in 1994 — was going back to its innovative roots.
“Being the head of a craft brewery like Smuttynose really does ruin you for other career paths,” quipped Richard Lindsay, the new CEO, about the combination of fun, 100-hour weeks and sharing beer with his neighbors. “I had the luxury of inheriting a really experienced team. The top four to five brewers have more than 100 years of experience.”
According to Craft BrewingBusiness.com, New Hampshire has the seventh-highest rate of craft breweries per 100,000 residents in the country (5.6) and Smuttynose has been one of the most prominent in New England. But the company co-founded by Peter Egelston was overleveraged from a $22 million investment to build a new, LEED-certified brewery and restaurant on Towle Farm Road, which opened in 2014.
By: Hadley Barndollar, Seacoast Online
When traveling to a faraway cooking competition, unexpected surprises are never good. That’s why chef David Vargas will bring pots, pans and blenders on his flight to Louisiana this weekend.
As owner and chef of both Vida Cantina and Ore Nell’s BBQ, Vargas will tout his signature charred and smoky flavors at the Great American Seafood Cook-Off in New Orleans Saturday. He’s one of 12 chefs competing from around the country, and he will present his creative, creamy dish to a panel of judges.
The prize if he wins? “A crown and bragging rights,” he laughed.
Vargas began his career in food at his family’s Mexican restaurant, and then in the kitchens of chefs Mark Gaier and Clark Frasier at Arrows and MC Perkins Cove. He chose to stay in New England, and became chef/owner of Portsmouth’s Vida Cantina in 2014. Then, in 2018, he opened Ore Nell’s BBQ on Badger’s Island in Kittery, a Texas-style barbecue eatery.
The well-known chef has been involved in the New Hampshire Community Seafood program for the last few years, which is essentially community-supported agriculture, but with fish. Vargas and his restaurants buy into the shares at the beginning of the season, and receive local fish each week to serve fresh. He’s been a “big supporter” of the program since it began, he said.
When the Louisiana Seafood Association reached out to New Hampshire Community Seafood about a Granite State chef who may want to participate in the competition, they recommended Vargas.