In business since 1959, Rowand Fisheries has perfected more methods of lobster transformation than the most practiced merman magician. It can conceal buttery morsels inside ravioli, pie, and soup—both bisque and chowder—in addition to selling the crustaceans live, priced by the pound. As a classic seafood market, Rowand Fisheries arrays freshly caught fish and shellfish for at-home prep, including salmon, tuna, haddock, locally netted black sea bass, and seasonally hooked items such as swordfish in Santa hats. However, its menu has also boasts signature eats that require no further finesse, from smoked-trout spread and salmon burgers to the house cocktail and tartar sauces. Patrons can even group specialty orders into platters, which gather enough shrimp or smoked seafood to feed up to 14 people.
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.
“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.
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.
With black-and-white checkerboard floors, fire-engine red booths, and vintage aluminum signage advertising quirky slogans, The Medford Square Diner cuts a decidedly classic-diner profile. But there's also abstract art and new furnishings that add a touch of modernity. This duality between classic and modern is reflected in the menu as well. Classic diner dishes come with little gourmet twists?think avocado, pear, and goat cheese omelets, brioche french toast, or mascarpone pancakes. The classics are well-represented too in meals like the Lumber Jack with pancakes, bacon, sausage, and eggs. The lunch and dinner menu follows suit; cooks dish out burgers, paninis, pasta dishes, and wraps. There's also a daily buffet and a full kids menu to keep little ones from getting cranky and filling up on their own tears.
The knowledgeable technicians at Funk Bros. Complete Auto Repair care for domestic and imported cars under the supervision of the same service-oriented family that founded the shop in 1925. A slew of preventative services, such as oil changes and air-filter replacements, ward off latent malfunctions, and mechanics also tackle full-blown repairs, taking the time to carefully explain each adjustment to customers. Funk Bros. has also been hired to tune up vehicles on movie sets, from stuntmen’s souped-up cars to directors’ limos made from melted award statuettes.