The Lakes Region’s Dining Gems
What draws most vacationers to the New Hampshire Lakes Region is, well…the lakes. There are 273 freshwater lakes and ponds in just this part of central New Hampshire, perfect for skating, ice fishing, snowmobiling – almost anything. But that’s only one small part of what the Lakes Region has to offer. There are hundreds of attractions, natural and man-made, historical and modern.
While doing all their skiing and sightseeing, visitors needs to eat, and though the region isn’t actually known for its dining, perhaps it should be! From quaint breakfast restaurants and haunted 19th century inns, to a 106-year-old candy shop with an ice cream buffet, the Lakes Region has all sorts of eateries to satisfy any kind of craving, and perhaps even some cravings visitors didn’t know they had. Here are some exquisite places to dine on your next tour around the Lakes Region:
One of the best parts of a good meal is recalling memories and swapping stories with the people around you. At The Corner House Inn in Center Sandwich, NH, the stories come with the meal. Every year from October through May, the Corner House Inn hosts storytelling dinners on Thursday nights, where extraordinary regional characters entertain guests with funny, philosophical and captivating stories.
People have been gravitating to this location, since it was an eating and boarding house in the nineteenth century. The last remaining guest room was converted into the pub in the year 2000, but is still known as “the Inn” to the locals. While you’re visiting the multitude of natural wonders near Center Sandwich in the Northern Lakes Region, get your food and stories from the Corner House Inn on the corner of Maple Street and Main Street in Center Sandwich, NH.
Lovers of live music must visit Giuseppe’s Pizzeria and Ristorante in Meredith, NH while they’re in the Lakes Region, because this “Very Musical, Very Italian, and Very Good” restaurant features live musicians every single night. The music isn’t the only reason to visit, though, as Giuseppe’s has an expansive menu full of excellent food and a historic atmosphere with fascinating views. Giuseppe’s is housed in a beautiful old linen mill that dates back to the early nineteenth century and has been converted into a four-floor marketplace. The waterfall that used to power the mill still flows right beside the building, so many tables within Giuseppe’s have a view of it. Giuseppe’s also sits in the middle of a perfect shopping hot spot: the Mill Falls Marketplace.
One of the more notable restaurants in the Lakes Region is Hart’s Turkey Farm Restaurant in Meredith, NH, which has been owned by the same family who opened it 62 years ago. To understand exactly what Hart’s is all about, you should know that even though Hart’s has a 500-seat capacity, they begin reservations for their busiest day of the year (Thanksgiving, of course) a month in advance, and they go very quickly. Hart’s trademark is that they have all the good American restaurant dishes, but they just happen to be made with turkey: like spaghetti with turkey meatballs, turkey nuggets, turkey meatloaf, and turkey tips. You don’t have to get turkey, though – they have a very large menu. While you’re eating a dish from one of Grandma Mae Hart’s recipes, you can admire her amazing plate collection on the dining room walls that might be the largest in the world. On your way out, visit their adorable gift shop, with its local- and lake-themed items.
There’s a trend of restaurants with family traditions in the Lakes Region, and Kellerhaus in Weirs Beach, NH is no exception. Kellerhaus opened its doors in 1906 as a candy shop, began offering ice cream the year after, and added a gift shop and the ice cream sundae buffet the year after that. Not much has changed in the years sinces, except for the addition of the breakfast menu, when the toppings buffet at the ice cream sundae bar top Belgian waffles instead of ice cream. Their candy shop still makes ribbon candy with a ribbon candy crimper manufactured in 1886. Their dining area has a player piano which will play you an old-time song for 25 cents, stained glass windows, and marble-top tables. Kellerhaus is perfectly located for a stop on the way to the sights around and along Weirs Beach.
The Onions restaurant at the Tilton 1875 Inn in Tilton, NH is an ideal spot for retail deal hunters, paranormal enthusiasts, and lovers of international cuisine. This may seem like a strange combination, but it works very well for Onions. The Inn is 10 minutes from the Tilton Outlets, and has been featured on the show Ghost Hunters for being haunted by a little girl named Laura. The menu contains a taste of Bermuda, whose trademark onions and vibrant culture play a large role in the restaurant’s selection.
No diner seems more classic than the Union Diner in Laconia, NH: it has great food at cheap prices, and is located in a 1951 train car. While in many ways the Union Diner is classic, you may be surprised that it has beer on tap, prime rib, rosemary lemonade fizz, and lobster stew on the menu as well as the classic omelets, home fries, bottomless coffee, and fried seafood. They say that you can expect “the highest quality food at the lowest prices possible” at the Union Diner; they’ve got a loyal following who keeps visiting year after year.
T-BONES Great American Eatery and Cactus Jack’s together make the first “dual-concept” restaurant in New They’re in the same Laconia, NH building and owned by the same parent company, but each menu and establishment has its own tastes and character – T-BONES is quintessentially American, while Cactus Jack’s offers Tex-Mex and southern-inspired food. Both restaurants take pride in the fact that their food is made from scratch, and that they’ve won Best Hamburger and Best Kids’ Menu for New Hampshire Magazine’s Best of NH Awards. T-BONES/Cactus Jack’s overlooks Paugus Bay on Union Avenue – just minutes from the Weirs Beach Pier!
Whether you’re looking for gorgeous atmosphere, great food, or just a quick bite to eat on your way to the next item on your itinerary, you’re bound to find an amazing and memorable dining experience in the Lakes Region.