Though our summer trips are special for their random directions, my girls and I are always aware of the location of our nearest favorite roadside food destinations. No matter the route, the season, or the time of day, we are assured our favorite comfort foods are only a short detour away from our path. From New Hampshire original steak bombs, pancakes with 100% pure local maple syrup, or burgers to die for, we know we can get a great meal for only a few dollars each.
Perhaps one of the most iconic late night foodie experiences in the seacoast, the red horse cart caboose of Gilley’s diner has been an integral part life for generations of Portsmouth, NH revelers. Offering a simplified menu for the purist of burgers, fries, and slices of pies, the line starts forming early and rarely seems to subside. Located at175 Fleet Street in the heart of historic Market Square, Gilley’s is open year round from 11am to 2am daily.
Red Arrow Diner
The Red Arrow Diner in Manchester, NH is the simply the single greatest American diner in the country. Whether talking of the occasional celebrity sighting as evidenced by the engraved brass plates seen throughout the diner, or the constant influx of campaigning politicians, folks from across the country make the Red Arrow a priority when visiting the Granite State. Known also as a local favorite, the Red Arrow offers the best pancakes and omelets for the discerning palate at classic diner prices. The Red Arrow is open 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year.
Harman Cheese and Country Store
Without a doubt, the Harman Cheese & Country Store has for sale the best cheddar cheese in the world, in a state where cheddar is king. Started in 1955 as a mail order business, the little red store is located in Sugar Hill, NH along scenic route 117. The aged white cheddar is a store specialty, and well worth the drive from any location. For those who would rather skip the breathtaking road trip, Harman’s still offers mail order packages.
Harts Turkey Farm Restaurant
A lakes region staple since 1954, no stop is complete with having your picture taken in front of the roadside sign. Located at the junction of scenic byways route 3 and route 104 in Meredith NH, Harts offers a weary road traveler a hearty meal of comfort food and a pleasant distraction with their made in NH gift shop. After lunch, plan on traveling to downtown Meredith to rest your bones at the picturesque town landing and park overlooking Lake Winnipesaukee.
A hidden gem in the North Country, Grandmas Kitchen in Whitefield, NH is the quintessential roadside relaxation food destination. Each item on the menu, whether it be for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, brings back memories of long passed family meals. My girls have always enjoyed the meatloaf with mashed potatoes, while I tend to order the blue plate special when we are in the neighborhood. No matter a traveler’s tastes, everything hits just the right spot.