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Coming Soon: Hot Dogs!

July 13th, 2010 by

While driving down Winter Street yesterday, I noticed this sign announcing a new business to Haverhill:

Winter Street

Hopefully the Dawg House will offer a veggie-version of the noble tube steak but I won’t hold it against them if they don’t.

I didn’t see an estimated opening date – but the building looks like it needs some work so I reckon it will be a while before you’ll be able to get yourself a footlong.

This location has been featured on the blog before and it is in easy walking distance from the ‘loft district,’ as well. It’s great to see this area being developed and to see new establishments popping up around the city.

We are always on the look out for new business in Haverhill – so don’t forget to send us tips on anything you see. Also, if you or anyone you know is involved with Dawg House – let us know – we’d love to find out more.

Downtown fill in the blank…with a Trader Joe’s?

July 12th, 2010 by

Is 61 Locke St. ready for a "unique foods grocery store?"

Over the weekend, one of my earlier downtown fill-in-the-blank posts received a comment so exciting, that hit so close to home, I nearly fell out of my chair. Says Patrick:

“I think we should start a campaign to bring in a Trader Joe’s. It would answer the need for “necessities” near the lofts/train station with a really hip and affordable business.

The location is barely 1.5 miles from exit 50 of I-495, with only one traffic light (Lafayette Sq). The route looks good, except the rusty train bridge by the Haffner’s. The town just paved the giant parking lot.

Trader Joe’s has a much smaller footprint than a full-sized super market. I think 61 Locke St is a perfect place for the ONLY Trader Joe’s within 20 miles (Tyngsborough I think is closer than their Danvers store.)

The food at TJs is really AFFORDABLE, in addition to be healthy. They make a lot of pre-packaged, non-frozen prepared food, which is great for the urban life style of loft-dwellers.

What do you think of this idea?”

Well, I don’t know about you guys- but I, for one, LOVE this idea. Not that I don’t enjoy getting more for my dollar, but I would really enjoy some food shopping variety, as well as easier access to Pirate’s Booty. And it seems I wasn’t the only one getting all revved up by Patrick’s ideas. New reader/commenter Momma D piped in with support and conspiracy theories!

“I have been craving this type of discussion…why not reach out to Forest City who owns Hamel for their support…it would be a huge plus for them…not sure if there is truth to it, but I heard that the Demoulas/Market Basket owners were in bed with city government…thus that is what we are stuck with…granted the Downtown Market Basket can be quite entertaining.”

High on civic discourse (if not a bit of sunstroke) this weekend I tramped down to Locke St.  to investigate Patrick’s claim that the parking lot next to the train bridge had been paved. Sure enough, it has, but I’ll have to admit, I’m a bit skeptical that this will do the trick, parking wise. It’s a few blocks away from Locke St. and who’s going to be the poor sap who has to wrangle all the shopping carts down Essex?

Then, I got really excited, remembering that the former Radio Market was a tiny island in a great big sea of parking…that is now part of the Hamel Mill Lofts. Bummer!

Overflow parking for Hamel Mill Lofts

And on the other side of the street there’s a huge lot that’s part of the Cordovan. Rats! Still, there could be some sort of compromise between the loft developers and Trader Joe’s if things ever got that far.

Which leads me to ask: what do you think of having a Trader Joe’s down in the loft district?

Be sure to check out all of Patrick’s insightful comments and let us know! Anyone have any information or expertise that might help further the cause? I’ve got a serious hankering for some aged white cheddar puffed corn product!

Downtown bakery gets a little less Enchanted, hopefully a little more OPEN.

July 2nd, 2010 by

Enchanted Bake Shoppe: Closedde for Renovationsse

Allow me to be blunt here, folks. The Enchanted Bake Shoppe was one of those downtown businesses that always left me frustrated. I’d heard some really intriguing things about it, (namely tales of how they won the GREAT CUPCAKE WAR OF 2009) yet the countless times I passed by with hopes of snagging an after meal (or even afternoon) treat I was left disappointed by a dark interior and empty looking display case.

When this sort of thing happens to me,  I start honing in on tiny nit-picky details, like how much I hate places that add extra letters to words in order to sound more magical….*cough* shoppe *cough* (This is what happens when you deprive a girl of a cupcake, people.)

Despite all this, I was more than a bit shocked to see the windows covered in paper. I hunched down and took a peek to see what was going on inside…

A peak beneath the paper

Now, having never been inside the place while it was still Enchanted, I can’t say for certain, but it looks like the walls have been painted, and is that a new floor? Regardless, it’s looking pretty sharp in there.

Having learned my lesson from 12 hours ago when I was prematurely fretting about having a Subway downtown, (no permits have been pulled so it’s not official) this time I checked in with Assistant City Clerk Rick Barber FIRST to see if he had any insight into what’s going on at 108 Washington. And he did! After renovations the bakery will reopen under new ownership and a new name.

Best of all, the word on the street (my new nickname for Rick- what do you think?) is that so far, the new owners are planning on keeping later hours to cater to the after dinner dessert seekers like me! Awesome!

IMPORTANT BUSINESS IDEA: I would like to propose some sort of arrangement between this new bakery and England’s Microcreamery where if you buy a slice of cake you can run across the street and have a scoop of ice cream plopped on top. Genius, right?

I know some of you really loved Enchanted Bake Shoppe, so before you mourn the demise of what was (by all accounts other than me) a really great business with tasty confections, chin up! Enchanted Bake Shoppe is still around and happy to take your order…it’s just moved to a less retail-oriented space. I found this explanation on their Web site:

We opened our storefront in downtown Haverhill in September of 2007. After enjoying much success there, our lease came due and proprietor Kristen Eastman felt that a change was necessary and therefor the business will be moved in May 2010 to a non-retail commercial kitchen space. Despite enjoying the daily banter with regulars, we feel that our work will be better focused on custom work and projects that can reach further than our storefront. Our focus will continue to be on quality, attention to detail and creativity. We pride ourselves on creating confections that make your guests say “WOW”. We invite you to try our products and see for yourself what everyone is talking about!

Sounds like a win-win for downtown Haverhill and dessert lovers everywhere!

More for your dollar.

June 27th, 2010 by

I spotted this monstertruckosity outside the Westgate Plaza Market Basket and was totally impressed. I guess one thing you can do with all the money you save buying food from Market Basket is keep a ginormous gas tank full!

I was curious who might be piloting this beast (I know I for one would require a ladder to get in the driver’s seat), but I decided to high tail it out of there before they got in, started up, and began rolling over the regular sizes cars in the parking lot.

Strangely, something about this whole scene makes me want to start chanting “U.S.A.! U.S.A.!”

Breakfast of Champions: Village Square

June 21st, 2010 by

Okay, sure- if you want to be bowled over with weekend brunch options, downtown Haverhill leaves a lot to be desired. The Bistro 45 Jazz Brunch is defunct, and despite posters in the elevator to the contrary, I have yet to see solid evidence of a regular brunch offering at George’s.

But, don’t lose hope, hungry Haverhillians, for right over the bridge on Bradford’s Main St. there’s Village Square, a family run greasy spoon that boasts some of the best breakfast for miles.

I’m not going to lie- the exterior is um, shall we say, not very appetizing. But, Village Square’s teal blue façade and modest decor is more than compensated for by its friendly waitstaff, bottomless coffees, and heaping plates of whatever breakfast food your heart desires- whether it be pancakes, french toast, S.O.S. (tee hee hee) or even a breakfast burrito. (though the latter is not my favorite- I prefer the eggs and home fries inside like they do out west.)

The fare is so note-worthy that whenever our friends from Denver visit, they insist we hit the Square and pig the you-know-what out. Check out this photo I snapped pre-devour: my breakfast and the one across the table seem poised for an early morning throw down…

Breakfast Battle Royale: The Rumble in the Tummy

“Innn this corner, practically enveloping the plate is the meatloaf breakfast! Featuring two over-easy eggs, half-n-half (meaning half baked beans, half home fries). Annnnnnd in the other corner we have the featherweight breakfast champion- a mushroom and swiss omelet made with egg whites, served with wheat toast and baked beans…”

Here are a few snaps of our other orders, though not pictured are the must-try homemade grilled cornbread and grilled blueberry muffins. (Anyone who can down one of those bad boys is a hero in my book.)

Nothing escapes the grill- even the croissants are toasted in delicious griddle grease.

French toast with bacon and check out that big mound of butter!

Whether you’re nursing a hangover, or just need a hearty morning meal to fuel a busy day, you can’t go wrong at Village Square, though on weekend mornings you may find yourself at the end of a sizable line. (toootally worth it, though.)

I’m still a bit hung up on lack of fancy brunch, but some baked beans and a raised pinky get me by.

Age of Donuts

June 15th, 2010 by

Who doesn’t like a little hardcore with their morning coffee?

Winter St. Dunkin Donuts

Hot in herre: Firemen Singles Party at Evenfall

June 9th, 2010 by

From the sound of it, things are really heating up over at Evenfall, where as we speak UNWEDnesdays is hosting a Firemen Singles Party. We couldn’t be there ourselves tonight, so we sent our stealth photographer (cough Spiro cough) to get a few snaps of the action.

Firemen and the ladies who love them gathering at Evenfall's lounge.

Reports of some serious sizzle are not surprising, given the dark, romantic vibe of Evenfall’s lounge. Not to mention,  ladies love a man in uniform, and what lovelorn man in uniform wouldn’t appreciate a room full of admiring ladies? Put all of these factors together and you have a towering inferno of brilliance.

Hot fireman sandwich: New bar bite?

Also, a tip of the hat to the person who wrote this amazing copy promoting the event:

A game of shoots and ladders takes on a whole new meaning at the second of our Fireman Singles Parties…lavishing attention on the area’s bravest men ain’t so hard with a dance beat, complimentary appetizers, sponsorship by Bacardi and a chance to hit the town on us with your favorite man in uniform.

As great food + inspired cocktails + dance music + buff guys = recipe for success, I have no doubt Spiro and the gang will be fanning the flames of love for these smitten kittens again soon. So put $10 under your pillow and get ready to mark your calendars. We’ll update you when the next Firemen Singles Party comes to town.

Hearts afire?

Where in the world is Pedro Diego’s?

June 1st, 2010 by

Listen up, gumshoes: Pedro Diego’s is missing!

And it has been replaced by Toma’s.  (Anyone tried it out yet?)

Toma's, 35 Washington St.

Do it, Rockapella!

The Scoop on England’s

May 24th, 2010 by

Ice cream is one of those rare things in life. It is universally adored – and a simple scoop can brighten anyone’s day.

Also, when your little league team wins the coach is supposed to buy everyone some.

If you live anywhere near Haverhill then no doubt you’ve tried some of the delicious concoctions offered up at England’s MicroCreamery right in the heart of downtown. So we put together a set of questions for owner Jane England so we could we learn the secrets behind the deliciousness.

109 Washington Street

HF: First off – the important stuff. What is your favorite ice cream topping?

EM: Chocolate Jimmies – our Jimmies are made from real chocolate and they melt on your tongue (yes, in Massachusetts we call them “Jimmies”, not “sprinkles”).
Side Note: Believe it or not, I am actually a purist – I prefer our ice cream without any excessive mixins that may mask the quality flavor of the ice cream, but if I HAD to pick my favorite topping, it would indeed be the Jimmies.)

HF: Tell us a bit about how the company got started – what’s your story?

EM: My husband (then boyfriend) bought me my very first ice cream maker for my 18th birthday.  The rest is history.

HF: What’s your best-selling flavor of ice cream?

EM: Vanilla.  Even with the extensive offerings that we have available, the all time best selling ice cream flavor is always vanilla.  I tend to think vanilla is so popular because it is so easily accented by any number of our mix-ins.  For example, even your basic Chocolate Chip ice cream begins with a base of vanilla ice cream.
HF: What’s the biggest amount of ice cream you’ve ever seen someone eat in one sitting?

EM: We actually had a couple of teenagers purchase a Mile High Ice Cream Pie (over 3 lbs of ice cream) and they grabbed two spoons and proceeded to eat the whole pie right here in the shop.

HF: How many kinds of ice cream do you offer at one time? Do you you have a rotation or a set line-up?

EM: We currently have 20 flavors of ice cream on the menu, not including the ice cream and mix-in combination possibilities.  We are constantly rotating flavors with the seasons.  In the summer months you can expect to see a lot of our fruit flavors: cantaloupe, cherry, blueberry, strawberry, banana, black raspberry, mango sorbet, margarita sorbet, coconut, etc.  In September we have Apple Ice Cream and Caramel Ice Cream, October: Pumpkin Ice Cream, November: Cranberry Ice Cream, December: Eggnog, Peppermint Stick, Rum & Ginger Snap, Valentines Day: Kahlua, Cheesecake, St. Patrick’s Day: Bailey’s Irish Cream & Guinness (yes, made with real Guinness) – so you never know what flavors you are going to find!

HF: Cup or cone? Sugar or waffle?

EM: Always a cone (ice cream is meant to be licked).  I always choose sugar or waffle, but never wafer – just my personal preference.

HF: Would win in a fight – Ben or Jerry?

EM: Neither.  They would settle it over an ice cream.

HF: On a scale of 1-10 – how much do you like ice cream?

EM: I go to 11!

HF: How come all of your employees don’t talk with an English accent?

EM: Heck, I don’t even speak with a British accent.  “England” is for my last name: Jane England. Most people think the name is supposed to be “New England” or that there is something British about the ice cream – NEITHER it is just my name – heck I am Portuguese!  However, a few years ago, the staff did speak like pirates on National Talk Like a Pirate Day.

HF: Are there any plans for vegan or non-dairy ice cream options? Do you already have some available?

EM: We do offer sorbet which is a non-dairy option.  One of our very first staff members was vegan and he ate the sorbet all of the time.  I do not have plans to make a vegan ice cream – ice cream just by its definition is not vegan.

HF: What are your hopes for Haverhill’s downtown? What else would you like to see there?

EM: I have high hopes for Haverhill’s downtown.  I am extremely optimistic with the renovations with the Hamel Mill Lofts, the Cardovan and the soon to be completed Hayes Building.  The restaurant district is thriving.  I would love to see the addition of a children’s toy store!!

Be sure to fan England’s Microcreamery on Facebook and stop by this summer for what is honestly, probably the best ice cream you’ll ever have.

Lounge 59 to unveil special cocktail at Haverhill’s Biggest Bar Crawl

May 17th, 2010 by

Have you RSVPd to Haverhill’s Biggest Bar Crawl on June 11th yet? It’s promising to be a pretty epic event, with a crowd of 105 (and growing every day) traveling to 7 different bars around downtown Haverhill. This is happening all within 3 1/2 hours, and with all proceeds of the $10 cover going to the Haverhill High Althetic Department.

There will be free food, a performance by Merrimack Delta Dub Set, and even…drumroll please…the unveiling of THE FEVER CUP, the first Haverhill Fever inspired cocktail.

I know, right!?

The evil geniuses behind this concoction are (of course) Haverhill Fever’s own Chris and his love for Pimm’s, and Patrick McCarthy, owner of Lounge 59 at 59 Washington St. downtown Haverhill. I recently caught up with Patrick at the bar and he gave me a run down of their awesome in-house infused liquor selection. Check out this video, shot by Andrew Firg:

As we were packing up I asked Patrick who would win in a fight and before I even got to name the combatants he boomed “ME!” I don’t doubt it! I also hear Lounge 59 has some pretty incredible homemade desserts, including tiramisu and boston creme pie. Anyone tried them yet?

Be sure to come by Lounge 59 for a Fever Cup during Haverhill’s Biggest Bar Crawl and say hi to me and Chris! We’ll be there with Haverhill Fever bumper stickers for all, and we’ll be giving away some much-coveted Haverhill Fever t-shirts.

(And hey, what do you think of the video? I know the upload’s a bit wonky, but if you like the content, let us know and we’ll make some more!)