Restaurant Week offers tasty treats throughout NH

CONCORD – Those huge piles of snow are finally diminishing, and local residents are taking some furtive peeks out their doors for the first time in a number of months.

Cabin fever is rife in the area, and one cure is a trip to a local restaurant.

But where to go? After such a prolonged hibernation, a trip to the local sub shop doesn’t really cut it. We want something different – exotic, with a little pizzazz.

The New Hampshire Lodging and Restaurant Association has just the thing you’re looking for. The organization is holding its fourth annual Restaurant Week New Hampshire from March 20-27.

For those eight days, participating restaurants will offer special menu items with various pricing options, some including a prix-fixe, three-course lunch or dinner menu.

“Restaurant Week offers locals and visitors the unique opportunity to experience the diverse and high-quality dining options our Granite State culinary community offers,” said Mike Somers, NHLRA president and CEO. “The chefs from our participating restaurants have once again done an exemplary job creating menus to fit every palate and budget.”

Seven celebrity chefs have been chosen to represent their respective restaurants. The list reads like a culinary who’s who for the Granite State.

Peter Agostinelli is executive chef at the Bedford Village Inn. Agostinelli boasts two decades of experience in eight restaurants. He graduated from Newbury College with a culinary arts degree in 1998.

Rob DeFrancesco runs the Copper Door Restaurant in Bedford. Francesco attended Manchester Memorial High School, and started working at Cactus Jack’s Great West Grill in 2000 as a line cook. He quickly learned his trade and began a five-year stint at T-Bones Great American Eatery in Derry, during which time he became assistant manager. In 2011, he relocated to Copper Door as sous chef, and again quickly moved up the ranks, becoming executive sous chef.

Malik Hammond is culinary director for The Common Man restaurants, which has a location in Merrimack. He oversees all kitchen operations, chefs, menu creation and food events. After spending a number of years in New Mexico, Hammond signed on as kitchen manager for the Lakehouse Grille in 2013, and was promoted to culinary director in 2014.

Joe Brenner is the executive chef at Tuscan Kitchen in Salem. As culinary director for Todd English, Brenner helped open 14 restaurants in the 16 years he was with the group. Growing up surrounded by food fresh from the garden on his grandfather’s farm in Connecticut, Brenner learned the basics of scratch cooking at an early age from spending time in the kitchen with his grandmother and aunts.

Kevin Halligan is owner and executive chef of Local Eatery in Laconia. Situated in the historic Laconia Train Station on Veterans Square, this restaurant offers top-quality meals made from local organically produced and grass-fed naturally raised meat and poultry.

David Masotta is executive chef at the Three Chimneys Inn in Durham. Having graduated with dean’s list honors from Johnson & Wales University and then pursuing his career at Boston’s Four Seasons Hotel and the Landmark Inn, he acquired his own restaurant, Rutabagas in Salem, which he ran for more than seven years, at which time he was recognized as “Best of New Hampshire” by New Hampshire Magazine.

Scott Ouellette is chef/owner of three restaurants: O Steaks & Seafood in Concord and Laconia, Canoe Restaurant & Tavern in Center Harbor, and a catering and banquet facility in Moultonborough. Ouelette has a background in commercial finance, but always fostered a love for cooking, having helped out his grandparents and parents in the kitchen.

Although this is the fourth year for the event, this season marks the debut of the organization’s slick new website, restaurantweeknh.com, designed by Rumbletree marketing. There, one can find a complete list of all of the participating restaurants, as well as other helpful information.

If you’re feeling restless and have had just about enough of being cooped up indoors, this is a fine opportunity to step out and get a taste of something different.

Eric Stanway can be reached at Eric.Stanway@yahoo.com.

Restaurant Week offers tasty treats throughout NH

CONCORD – Those huge piles of snow are finally diminishing, and local residents are taking some furtive peeks out their doors for the first time in a number of months.

Cabin fever is rife in the area, and one cure is a trip to a local restaurant.

But where to go? After such a prolonged hibernation, a trip to the local sub shop doesn’t really cut it. We want something different – exotic, with a little pizzazz.

The New Hampshire Lodging and Restaurant Association has just the thing you’re looking for. The organization is holding its fourth annual Restaurant Week New Hampshire from March 20-27.

For those eight days, participating restaurants will offer special menu items with various pricing options, some including a prix-fixe, three-course lunch or dinner menu.

“Restaurant Week offers locals and visitors the unique opportunity to experience the diverse and high-quality dining options our Granite State culinary community offers,” said Mike Somers, NHLRA president and CEO. “The chefs from our participating restaurants have once again done an exemplary job creating menus to fit every palate and budget.”

Seven celebrity chefs have been chosen to represent their respective restaurants. The list reads like a culinary who’s who for the Granite State.

Peter Agostinelli is executive chef at the Bedford Village Inn. Agostinelli boasts two decades of experience in eight restaurants. He graduated from Newbury College with a culinary arts degree in 1998.

Rob DeFrancesco runs the Copper Door Restaurant in Bedford. Francesco attended Manchester Memorial High School, and started working at Cactus Jack’s Great West Grill in 2000 as a line cook. He quickly learned his trade and began a five-year stint at T-Bones Great American Eatery in Derry, during which time he became assistant manager. In 2011, he relocated to Copper Door as sous chef, and again quickly moved up the ranks, becoming executive sous chef.

Malik Hammond is culinary director for The Common Man restaurants, which has a location in Merrimack. He oversees all kitchen operations, chefs, menu creation and food events. After spending a number of years in New Mexico, Hammond signed on as kitchen manager for the Lakehouse Grille in 2013, and was promoted to culinary director in 2014.

Joe Brenner is the executive chef at Tuscan Kitchen in Salem. As culinary director for Todd English, Brenner helped open 14 restaurants in the 16 years he was with the group. Growing up surrounded by food fresh from the garden on his grandfather’s farm in Connecticut, Brenner learned the basics of scratch cooking at an early age from spending time in the kitchen with his grandmother and aunts.

Kevin Halligan is owner and executive chef of Local Eatery in Laconia. Situated in the historic Laconia Train Station on Veterans Square, this restaurant offers top-quality meals made from local organically produced and grass-fed naturally raised meat and poultry.

David Masotta is executive chef at the Three Chimneys Inn in Durham. Having graduated with dean’s list honors from Johnson & Wales University and then pursuing his career at Boston’s Four Seasons Hotel and the Landmark Inn, he acquired his own restaurant, Rutabagas in Salem, which he ran for more than seven years, at which time he was recognized as “Best of New Hampshire” by New Hampshire Magazine.

Scott Ouellette is chef/owner of three restaurants: O Steaks & Seafood in Concord and Laconia, Canoe Restaurant & Tavern in Center Harbor, and a catering and banquet facility in Moultonborough. Ouelette has a background in commercial finance, but always fostered a love for cooking, having helped out his grandparents and parents in the kitchen.

Although this is the fourth year for the event, this season marks the debut of the organization’s slick new website, restaurantweeknh.com, designed by Rumbletree marketing. There, one can find a complete list of all of the participating restaurants, as well as other helpful information.

If you’re feeling restless and have had just about enough of being cooped up indoors, this is a fine opportunity to step out and get a taste of something different.

Eric Stanway can be reached at Eric.Stanway@yahoo.com.