CONCORD, NH – The coronavirus pandemic, as many diners already know, has had an impact on the restaurant and bar industry.
Restaurants in New Hampshire and beyond have faced food supply chain issues, understaffing in a more competitive job market, and customers who are sometimes impatient or facing economic hardship despite opportunities that abound in a number of economic sectors. Some businesses have been closed never to return; others took a break; and more, now reopen.
This is the case of the Granite Restaurant & Bar, inside the Centennial Hotel on Pleasant Street in Concord, which had been closed for over 18 months but reopened at the end of October with a new chef and a new menu as well.
Charlie Lavery was recently hired by Hay Creek Hotels to cook in the restaurant and also replenish the menu. He’s been working in restaurants in New Hampshire and Massachusetts since he was a teenager, about two decades, but didn’t reach chef status until about 13 or 14 years ago in Boston. The New Hampshire native attended cooking school, then moved to Massachusetts to acquire his chops. He then moved to Maine, but later returned to New Hampshire, working in restaurants up north.
Lavery said the new menu features “internationally inspired street food and comfort food” often with local ingredients, including New England seafood and protein from farms in New Hampshire, Maine. and Vermont.
“To me, when you start with a good product, you end with a good product,” Laundromat noted. “The concept came to me quite easily. The difficult part was making sure that I could find all the products correctly, so that I could be true to shape with the dish. “
The menu includes shrimp and oatmeal as well as Parisian gnocchi, layers of fall vegetables, grilled street corn, scallops, salads, sides, desserts and more. Daily specials will ensure menu changes on a regular basis. A new Sunday brunch menu has also been created.
Laura Leslie, the hotel’s general manager, said a number of customers and tenants are wondering when the restaurant will reopen with Lavery and its new menu.
“We are delighted to welcome everyone back,” she said.
Leslie said the restaurant and bar still provided “vibrancy” and activity inside the hotel – something that was lacking when it closed since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“The restaurant, in our opinion, is sort of the heart of the hotel,” she said, “so a huge piece was missing.”
Leslie added, “I have had the chance to try Charlie’s recipes; they are phenomenal. What I love most about his menu is that it is accessible; it is something I think, that a lot of people will appreciate. “
The restaurant also offers a Thanksgiving dinner with a special menu, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., featuring unique starters, turkey, salmon or pork, risotto and pies, trifles or a lava cookie with ice cream. One must reserve.
For more information on the new Granite Restaurant & Bar menu or hotel reservations, click on this link.
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