I haven’t often been to the Merrimack, NH area lately, but last weekend Nick and I just so happened to be and decided to spend time visiting a new restaurant (new to us anyway). We settled on The Homestead Restaurant & Tavern off of D.W. Highway after we remembered hearing good things about it. I was excited to give it a shot!
As you may know from other posts, I am a history buff and was thrilled to learn that the building which houses the Homestead was built in the 1700s, one of my favorite time periods. As we walked in the door, I instantly knew that this would be a cozy New England dinner based on the atmosphere. The space was decorated with classic decor such as bookshelves, painted pictures and old fashioned wagon wheels. It was quiet in the background of the restaurant, although there were plenty of diners chattering away.
After being seated instantly upon walking in (bonus points, although we did come in a bit late), Nick and I were greeted by our server Erin, who was very friendly and knowledgeable of the menu. Starting with drinks, Nick ordered the locally brewed Auburn ale from the Able Ebenezer Brewing Company, also out of Merrimack, and I ordered the red house sangria. I always have to go with that option when I see it on a drink menu! Normally I prefer a glass of white wine to red, but I’m the opposite with my sangria. Nick was very satisfied with his beer and was happy to support a local brewery, while I was on cloud nine with my sangria. I’ve had some less than stellar versions at other restaurants, but that was happily not the case at the Homestead!
Pre-dinner, we were given two kinds of bread – tasty rolls and an absolutely delicious zucchini bread. I almost filled myself up on that alone! For an entree I was in the mood for warm comfort food, what with all the snow and ice just outside the window. I substituted my rice pilaf side for sweet potato fries, which is another menu item I can’t pass up anywhere. Nick’s favorite meal is shepherd’s pie, and the Homestead has a winter special called Rib-Eye Shepherd’s Pie – two of his favorites in one! Of course that’s what he had to order.
The food took a bit to come out, which is always a positive thing in the dining world as you know what you are about to get is truly fresh. Sure enough, my chicken pot pie was just as good as Mom’s, with hearty pieces of chicken and veggies in a delicious cream sauce topped with freshly baked flaky puff pastry. Nick feasted on his mouthwatering Rib-Eye Shepherd’s Pie and polished it all off. He added ketchup which I think detracts from the flavors of the meal, but he and our server chatted agreed that they both love doing so with their food! The sweet potato fries certainly tasted homemade, with the perfect texture. I may not like to add ketchup to other foods, but I certainly smother my fries with it!
After eating so much we thought we wouldn’t be able to stand up, Nick and I passed on dessert but didn’t want to leave yet. We felt coffee was in order, but not just any coffee. We wanted to go the Irish way and add a bit of liquor – hey, it was Friday night after all! Erin, our server, suggested her favorite spiked coffee choice, made with Bailey’s and Kahlua. After tasting it, we were so thankful for her input. I wish I could have coffee like that all the time, but I guess I should save it for the weekends 🙂
After a long time spent savoring our drinks, meals and coffee, it was time for the restaurant to close and for us to head on home. I think we may have waddled as we walked out the door! That’s how you know it was a dining experience done right. If you’re looking for a calm, comfy place where you can take your time dining, enjoy wonderful service and relax in a cozy, classic place to stay out of the New Hampshire cold, I would definitely recommend The Homestead in Merrimack!
The Homestead Restaurant & Tavern – 642 D.W. Highway, Merrimack, NH, 603.429.2022 (also a location in Bristol, NH)