Thursday, January 27, 2011

Puritans Can Be Tender, Too

The Puritan Backroom
245 Hooksett Road
Manchester, NH

Hours: 11 AM-11:15 PM (12:15 AM Fridays and Saturdays)
Food: Basic American
Alcohol: Full Bar

Since 1917, the Puritan Backroom is a place where people in the working class city of Manchester have gone after church, on birthdays and during other special occasions.

You get a nice, big helping of tasty food for not too much more than you pay elsewhere. It's not pretentious, but it is typically well done.

And they make their own ice cream, which is really good, and which is served in really generous quantities too. During the summer, the ice cream stand out front has lines long enough that it almost makes sense to go in the dining room.

Needless to say, this is the kind of place where you go when you owe someone dinner, so I end up taking a fair number of people here.

Aside from the ice cream, they claim to be the first place anywhere to sell chicken tenders, which are the highest-selling item on their rather large menu.

But there may be trouble.

The only fourth-generation heir, Chris Pappas, is a raging left-wing activist and Chair of the local Democrats.

So at the very least, once he fully takes over, all the money socially conservative French Catholic grandmothers spend on chicken tenders for their visiting grandchildren could start going to left-wing politics.

So in time, there may be a price for eating there beyond just the chicken tenders.

Personally, I'm a big fan of the coconut tenders, which I ordered this time out.

When you eat in, they come as a "dinner," which includes a Greek salad or soup, bread, coffee or tea (so iced tea is free, but not soda) and a side.

For soups, they usually have a chowder and then something else like chicken noodle.

I went with the corn chowder.

The great thing about their corn chowder is that it has lots bacon in it.

Bacon makes everything better.

And then the tenders were great, as always. They were the same golden color they always are, and they go perfectly with their duck sauce.

They're not over-breaded like you'll get in a lot of places, and the coconut adds a nice flavor.

For a side, I'd ordered broccoli with cheese sauce. Most things at this place are pretty good, but since it's a vegetable and I was full after about 2/3 of the chicken tenders, I only ate a small nibble, with the cheese at least partially redeeming the vegetables.

With all this coming for $13.95 (the coconut tenders are an extra two dollars), it's certainly not a bad deal compared to most other places, especially considering serving sizes, but it's more expensive than you'll do most nights

The waitress asked about dessert, but as tempting as one of their killer brownie sundaes was, I decided against.

One piece of advice, to the extent that you have any control over it, is that if you want to read or have a conversation, you should try and get seated far from the bar in the dining room, with the loud flatscreen TVs.

But you usually don't have any control over it, because they're usually slammed except on snowy nights like the one on this particular visit when most people are tucked into bed early.

Well, that means less money for crazy lefties, at least.

Rating: Would Buy the Shirt If I Were Convinced It Wouldn't Cause Communism

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