How to spend less than $13 on dining out in New Hampshire

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By Stacy Milbouer

November 21, 2023

It’s not cheap to eat out. Thankfully, New Hampshire has some unlikely and healthy alternatives to restaurants and fast food to fill you up without wiping you out. So where is a hungry, budget-conscious granite stater to go? We got you. Head to hospital cafeterias, high school culinary programs, church suppers and Grange dinners. Here are a few choices:

Hospitals

This might be the best-kept secret for foodies. Many hospital cafeterias are open to the public. You can sit next to a doctor or nurse and enjoy healthy, hearty meals at crazy-low prices and most are open seven days a week. According to an article in Food 52, hospital cafeterias can keep their prices low because they’re usually subsidized by the hospital, make large volumes of food and cafeteria-style dining usually doesn’t include tipping.

Exeter Hospital Café at 5 Alumni Drive, Exeter — The café is open seven days a week and has daily specials which are listed on the menu every week. Diners can eat a full dinner, which can include entrees and sides from $6.95 to $8.95 with selections like broiled scallops, chicken parmesan and a pot roast dinner. A 16-ounce bowl of chowder will only set you back $4. The cafeteria is also celebrating Native American Heritage Month with a blueberry-baked dessert called Saututhig — a traditional Algonquin blueberry, cracked-corn dessert.

The Main Dining Room at Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center  at One Medical Center Drive, Lebanon — This cafeteria is open seven days a week and on holidays. It posts a menu each week. If you happen to drop in on Dec. 1, for example, you could have fresh-baked cod, with mushroom barley soup and vegan tan-tan noodles for less than $10.

Schools

 Some high schools with CTE (career and technical education) programs in the state, run their restaurants open to the public as part of their culinary arts programs. Here are two:

Windows on West Street at Milford High School and Applied Technical Center, 100 West Street, Milford — is a student-operated restaurant open to the community on Wednesdays and Thursdays. It serves full meals, soup, sandwiches and fresh-baked goods. It also offers catering services and takes special orders for pastries on the holidays. Recent offerings have included an oven-fried chicken dinner with mashed potatoes and corn for $7.95, a bowl of homemade cream of vegetable soup with a roll, for $2 and a reuben sandwich with hand-cut fries for $5.75.

Churches and Grange Suppers

The old New England tradition of halls filled with neighbors and homemade pies dates back to the years right after the American Revolution. It’s still alive and well in the Granite State. Here are a few:

Main Street Methodist Church at 154 Main Street, Nashua — Folks have been coming to the church’s ham and bean suppers for decades. No wonder. The all-you-can-eat buffets include baked ham, two kinds of baked beans, coleslaw, potato salad, bread, a beverage, and pie — all homemade and all $12. It’s $10 for seniors and kids under 5 eat free. Each month volunteers make 40 pounds of beans and 60 pounds of ham. The church considers the meals part of its mission to offer people hearty meals at a good price. The next supper is scheduled for Saturday, Jan. 6, 2024 from 5–7 p.m.

Blazing Star Grange # at 71 15 North Road, Danbury — This 112-year-old grange regularly offers homemade community suppers, $12 for adults, and $5 for children. Past offerings include chicken pie, roast pork, and Italian dinners.

Read more: Hate cooking? Let these New Hampshire spots prepare Thanksgiving for you

 

Author

  • Stacy Milbouer

    Stacy Milbouer is an award-winning journalist and has covered New Hampshire for many publications including the Boston Globe, New Hampshire Magazine, and the Nashua Telegraph.

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