Chuckster's draws in fun-seekers of all ages with its sprawling haven of outdoor games, activities, and attractions. With 12,000 square feet of emerald carpet darting in between nine streams and ponds and 1,000 tons of boulders, Chuckster's remarkably long mini-golf course challenges putters with water features and inclines. Across the grounds, straining knuckles steer two-seat go-karts around the speedway, swing at fast- or slow-pitched balls at the batting cages, and grip onto colorful holds to ascend the 27-foot climbing wall. Duos can square off in a game of Shoot-N-Shower, a timed free-throw shooting challenge where the player who sinks the fewest freebies gets doused with water and scolded by an omnipotent Reggie Miller. Picnic tables nestled in the cool shade of umbrellas cradle patrons as they rejuvenate with ice cream, frappes, and soft drinks after a day at play.
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.
900 Degrees is a name that comes from the heart, honoring the temperature within the restaurant's smoldering brick oven that awaits specialty Neapolitan pizzas at the center of the kitchen. A crispy circle of homemade dough serves as the foundation of each pie, crafted with flour harvested by the Caputo family at their farm in Naples. The 900 Degrees pizza sauce also borrows authentic Neapolitan flavors from San Marzano tomatoes, which are hand-milled and imported from their growing place at the base of Mount Vesuvius. With the dough and sauce in place, chefs create an edible pedestal for fresh ingredients from New Hampshire's local growers. Signature creations include the Tuscan Sun pizza with artichoke hearts and sun-dried tomatoes, as well as Pepe's pizza, which arrives laden with sliced tomatoes, red onions, mushrooms, and olives. 900 Degrees also offers a full selection of salads, sandwiches, and desserts to pair with its selection of melodies milked from the free-range instruments of local musicians.
At its Dover location, The Farm Bar & Grille serves hearty plates of home-style food inside what else but a big red barn. But just as the familiar comfort food gives way to subtle surprises, the barn hides an 80-person outdoor deck, in full view of the Cocheco River. Yet, despite the picturesque vista, the best part about dining amid the fresh air might be the barbecue smell. A mammoth smoker rests just beneath the deck, releasing the aroma of slow-roasted baby-back ribs, fall-off-the-bone chicken, and pulled pork, piled onto platters and sandwiches or wrapped inside quesadillas and burritos.
Across the city, The Farm Bar & Grille pops up again, this time in Manchester. The menu is the same: half-pound burgers, sandwiches stacked atop Virgilio’s Bakery bread delivered fresh daily, and hearty comfort food, such as chicken pot pies and meatloaf dinners, and what NHmagazine.com calls the “Best Pulled Pork." Here, rustic furniture crafted, as NewHampshire.com discovered, from an old barn fills the cozy, red-walled space. A cute chalkboard mural of a moonlit farm hangs behind the bar, where servers offer 20 kinds of draft beer.
At 36 deLux Restaurant, culinary moguls Chef Matt Provencher and Ita Isakov form a powerful duo bent on sourcing the freshest produce, seafood, and meats from local suppliers. Matt graduated from the New England Culinary Institute before honing his skills at eateries all over the country, and Ita heads up Carmel Produce, a distributor of just-plucked produce. Together, they mastermind a menu headlined by salmon and calamari from the raw bar, pecan-crusted pork tenderloin, and sole stuffed with lobster and spinach. Paired with house made breads and desserts, the sizzling dishes make for a hearty meal complemented by potent cocktails and martinis from a recently revamped drink menu.
In a gallery space, the eatery spotlights revolving masterpieces from local artists. Nearby, its private function room sets the stage for making small talk with imaginary friends among up to 35 seated guests or 60 standing party goers.
Using fresh, locally sourced ingredients, Chef Patrick Ogle crafts a menu of updated American favorites that pair perfectly with World Sports Grille's expansive selection of craft beers, bourbons, whiskies, and single-malt scotches. Burgers start with certified Angus beef, turkey, or chicken breast meat, and can be further customized with the diner's choice of toppings. Other examples of elevated pub fare include a Guinness-braised bratwurst, maple-glazed scallops, and rustic pizzas.
Even diners who aren't hungry can find fun at Worlds Sports Grille, however. The venue broadcasts professional sports games on numerous HD televisions, and fifteen billiards tables invite guests to show off their own competitive skills. A dart room, a shuffleboard area, and occasional live music will also keep the recently revamped space pulsing with energy, much like a snake with his tail caught in an electrical outlet.
After the Stark Mill brewery closed, many feared Manchester would fall victim to the unchecked infiltration of commercial and contract beers. Determined to save New Hampshire's Queen City from such a foamy fate, master brewer Peter Telge gathered his wits, a group of supporters, and 20 years of brewing experience to reopen the historic Millyard District brewery under the name Milly's Tavern. Now operating as a brewpub, Milly's is home to a passionate staff that serves up juicy burgers, baby-back ribs, and beer-battered fish 'n' chips alongside microbrews crafted in the onsite brewery.
Milly's microbrews are pure works of art, even earning the 2009 Readers' Poll award for Best Local Microbrew from New Hampshire Magazine (not to be outdone, their chili won as well). The all-natural brewing process begins with imported malted barley, sometimes up to 1,300 pounds of it, depending on the beer. After stirring the barley by hand and singing it to sleep with a lullaby, brewers blend it with hops from Washington’s Yakima Valley and Europe’s agricultural hotspots. An Old World–style fire heats the brewing system, caramelizing the sugar to imbue batches with unique and subtle flavors. Milly's always keeps at least 12 beers on tap, ranging from cream ales and IPAs to stouts, porters, and seasonal brews.
Milly's is not just a place to relax and enjoy a leisurely pint. At night, the eatery transforms into a nightclub and lounge, treating guests to DJ tunes, live entertainment, and local musical acts. When not setting the scene for evening revelry, the space can be used to host affairs for up to 100 people, with special catering options available.: