Although I've blogged for over two years now, this is my virgin post on the "Nothing Could be Finer..." blog. Thanks to Mssrs. Scott Monty and CC Chapman for allowing me to jump in. As a big fan of diners, dives and greasy spoons, I'm hoping to add some value while learning a thing a two from the experts (Scott and CC).
For my first review, I'm tackling a new joint recommended to me by social media measurement guru, Katie Paine. The place of which I speak is Gracie's Diner, a new place in downtown Portsmouth, NH. I live just north of Boston so Portsmouth isn't "just down the street" but I happened to be heading up to Maine for the weekend with my family so I took the opportunity to give Gracie's a try.
I love Portsmouth (one of my favorite diners ever, Friendly Toast, is there) so I thought that it wouldn't hurt to have a back up plan for those days when the line at Friendly Toast exceeded an hour an a half -- a regular occurrence on weekends at FT. The good news is that I now have a backup plan. The bad news is that Friendly Toast is still my favorite place to eat in Portsmouth.
Here's the skinny based on my family's dining experience at Gracie's. I'm willing to give it a shot to make sure I'm providing a well-balanced portrait:
- The waitstaff was good, efficient but a little harried while we were there. We ate at Gracie's on Friday morning before Labor Day and my guess is that either a) someone didn't show up for their shift or b) they weren't expecting as many people pre-Labor Day.
- Nice atmosphere with tons of cool photos of 70's rockers like James Taylor, Tom Waits and David Bowie adorning the walls. The diner sits under the eve of the roof and has subsequently been closed in so it has somewhat of a "cottage" type feel to it.
- Food was tasty. Probably a 3.5 on a scale of 1-5. We got:
- a cheese and mushroom omelet (me) - good portion and cooked so that it wasn't dry. the toast it came with was white (waitress didn't ask me for bread choice) and home fries were not browned but still tasted good. They were made from red bliss potatoes so they were not your traditional run of the mill. I liked my choice.
- pancakes were obviously home made and were light. The portion was good (more than my wife could eat) and the syrup came in a pitcher which was also appreciated. One minor knock is that the butter came in packages on the side (we had to ask for butter).
- my daughter had two fried eggs over easy w/ bacon, white toast and home fries. All were very good but the bacon was not very crispy (English style). Not a huge deal.
- my son has a fruit dish which was semi-fresh fruit in plain yogurt (apparently we didn't see the "yogurt" part so that kind of spoiled it for my son. The fruit was good but not great.
NOTE: one of my biggest tests of a diner/dive is the coffee (particularly how good the wait staff is about refills). In this case, the coffee was very good but I never got offered a refill. I may have to chalk this up to point no. 1 which was the fact that I think Gracie's was a little understaffed.
So a big "thank you" to Katie Paine for turning me onto a good new breakfast place. Like I said, I'll definitely be back!
If you want to visit:
165 Deer Street
Portsmouth, NH 03801
*Photo courtesy SHIR HABERMAN PHOTO - taken from http://seacoastonline.com