Hoping to revive the culture of the neighborhood butcher shop, with its personalized service, attention to detail, and artful products, restaurant-industry veterans Justin Rosberg and Jason Parent took a gamble on their first New Hampshire butcher shop in 2003. Dubbed The Meat House, their store quickly earned a foodie following, spawning additional franchise locations across the country. Today, The Meat House?s Mission Viejo location stocks fine cheeses, prepared side dishes, other gourmet grocery items, and hundreds of wines alongside the usual selection of traditional and exotic meats. Butchers also explain how to prepare each hand-carved cut of meat, sharing recipes, best slicing practices, and cooking techniques for giving pork chops the flavor of justice.
Since 1958, George's Bakery has stocked everything necessary for a Mediterranean dinner party or an authentic Wednesday night. Crowding the shelves are specialty spices, fresh pita breads, olives, and all kinds of imported canned goods. Along with baklava and other pastries, the store sells hookahs and the flavored tobacco they need to survive.
“The Lamplighter has sampled lobster bisque and chowders from Rhode Island to Maine,” the Haverhill Gazette column The Lamp Post commented in 2012, “but has tasted none better than those at…the Pine River fish market.” Family owned and operated for more than 20 years, Pine River Fish Market earns such accolades by reliably supplying customers with fresh fish and shellfish, groceries, bisques and chowders, and live lobsters and crabs. In the store, maritime dwellers such as haddock, swordfish, conch, shrimp, steamers, and cherrystones—all of which are delivered daily—sit on ice, awaiting the day they’re thawed and can experience a strange new future world. The helpful staffers can also special order any in-season fish and have it ready for pickup the next day.
Housed within the antiquated Amos Blanchard House and Barn Museum, the Andover Historical Society preserves artifacts and archival records from Andover’s storied 350-year history. Within the more-than-100-year-old building, visitors can experience what it was like to live as a middle-class family in the early 19th century or peruse the vast library archives. The society also hosts events within the community, including the seasonal Tree Time display and lectures on the town’s history.
The Wine Shop of Reading prompts clients to ask themselves, "am I the next Sam Adams?" But not because they're helping found a nation, but because they're interested in brewing beer. Onsite, The Wine Shop staff works with visitors to not just sell them great beer, but show them how to craft a solid home brew with the skills, ingredients, and equipment to do so. Instructors also teach wine making, as well as bartending skills, which involves more than artfully draping a towel over one shoulder and coming up with punny cocktail names.
Italian immigrants Frank and Mary Napoli began a new life in America in 1898 when they purchased 40 acres of land to harvest vegetables, poultry, and eggs. With their three sons in tow, the Napolis began a pushcart delivery business that evolved into a produce stand dubbed Idylwilde. Nearly 90 years later, that small-town stand has blossomed into a booming grocery business run by a third generation of Napoli brothers. Together, the trio designed the current store, which was built in 1985 from 100 tons of ash and pine and includes a Dutch barn and greenhouse.
From beneath the wood rafters and high ceilings of Idylwilde's store, carts of fresh, seasonal produce such as cape cod cranberries, english peas, and squash glisten under the lights. The deli houses the farm's own freshly made turkey burgers and daily delivered Scottish salmon, as well as Creekstone Farms Black Angus beef and Boar's Head meats. In the bakery, fresh-baked breads and jumbo cookies fill the air with the sweet scent of the hearth. Joining Idylwilde's proprietary stash of goods are items from other well-known vendors, such as Hogan Brothers coffee and Silver Cloud Estates spices, as well as special dietary foods including gluten-free breads. The market also carries an extensive stock of craft beer and wines ready for pairing with gourmet New England cheeses from their enviable pantry.