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Authentic Soul Food/Southern Cooking in Manchester NH--wow!

We just had dinner at Premier Palette on Elm Street in Manchester. It's a funky little storefront place run by a lady from Georgia named Zelma. She makes everything from scratch, and we had the best fried chicken since Dooky Chase in New Orleans. Her smoked brisket was superb--moist and tender, and the sides were amazing--fried okra, collard greens, garlic mashed potatoes, cornbread stuffing. She also does ribs, but they had another 12 hours to go in the smoker, so we'll have to go back tomorrow! We had sweet potato pie, bread pudding and pound cake for dessert--all excellent. This is a true Chowhound find--worth a special trip.

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  1. Wow, makes me doubly ashamed that we ate at Smokey Bones last night where the brisket was dry. Thanks for posting. I hope to visit SOON!

    1 Reply
    1. re: dfrostnh

      One word of caution--she does all the cooking to order, so plan on being there a while. Not a good choice if you want a quick bite before a show at the Verizon Arena.

    2. Wow, thanks for the tip. I lived just outside New Orleans for 7 years and always looking for good southern soul, cajun food. Did she do any catfish? I'm in Manch a lot so it's now on my list very soon. If you are in Boston, do Bob the Chef on Columbus Ave. (it might be now "Bob's Southern Bistro") for awesome southern food, jazz, etc. We did their Mardi Gras event and had a blast.

      1 Reply
      1. re: lexpatti

        She said she does fish on weekends, though it's not on the menu. Also, FYI, she doesn't have a liquor license, so no wine or beer.

        1. re: Aromatherapy

          946 Elm Street (next to Ben & Jerry's)
          Tue - Thu noon to 8
          Fri - Sat noon to 9
          Sun 2 to 7

          1. We checked this out a couple of months ago. The ribs she does are beef. If you're looking for pork ribs this is not the place (unless she changed the menu since we were there).

            1 Reply
            1. re: Boodles

              We finally got to Premier Palette before a 7:30 Verizon Show. We got there early since we expected a wait. The fried chicken was cooked to order. My husband thought it was salty and, unfortunately, we went on a day when the collard greens were spicy. She said sometimes she does two batches, one not spicy. My beef brisket was wonderful, very tender and I enjoyed the sweet barbecue sauce. This paired nicely with the spicy collard greens. My second side was barbecue beans which were unlike any I have ever had. Of course, most of the barbecue beans I've had have been at chain restaurants. These were a bit spicy but with a pronounced bean flavor. They weren't overpowered by the sauce. Manchester has recently changed to parking kiosks instead of parking meters. The advantage is you can use a credit card (even for 50 cents). Your parking receipt is good at any meter even if you move to a different spot. (put in on your dash, not under a wiper.) There's a two hour limit on Elm Street which should be enough time for most restaurants. Paid parking is required until 8pm.
              There's a new take-out barbecue place in Boscawn NH (off Rt 93/exit 17) called the Smoke Shack. It's open Thurs thru Sat (maybe Sundays). My husband preferred this place but it's more a pulled pork and sweet potato fries kind of place. I was surprised that they give a small container of maple syrup for the sweet potato fries.

            2. HAPPY HAPPY JOY JOY!!!!!!!!!

              1. We went back to PP after the Barack Obama event a couple of weekends ago. We had the beef ribs, which were smoky delicious and came with a sweet sauce. We found out later from Zelma that she does a hot sauce as well. For pork ribs, we go across the river to Down n Dirty on Armory St.

                1. We just finally did Premier Palette yesterday for lunch. Awesome awesome. My husband had the wood smoked beef ribs with the hot sauce - fabulous. Even the fries were excellent. I had a special that combined her mac and cheese with bbq chicken (we're eating leftovers today) mmmmmmmm. We had the best grits we've ever had and this is two people who've traveled florida often, spent 7 years outside New Orleans and we just spent the last 5 years going to New Orleans for a week just to eat southern/soul/cajun food (we bought our timeshare for that purpose only - to eat in NO once a year). We had collard greens that were great and the dirty cole slaw was to die for - a nice twist with some funky herbs and spicy and some bbq sauce mixed in as well. We were looking forward to fried okra but her supplier wasn't cooperating this week.

                  Awesome people. They've got a great loyalty program to save $$$ by shopping other places in the area and save $$$ by dining at their place more often. Great Marketing!!! We went in late, so we had the place to ourself and had a nice time chatting with them.

                  Can't wait to go back to try more items on the menu.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: lexpatti

                    So glad you liked it. Zelma is terrific. Did you try any desserts?

                  2. Zelma and hubby were very nice. Way too stuffed to try dessert - we're eating all the leftovers today. :-) All the way home, I could smell the wood smoke from the ribs on my fingers. Then, get this - went to dinner last night at Dunaway in Portsmouth. Tomorrow it's all salads for me.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: lexpatti

                      Great--look forward to your Dunaway post!

                    2. Tried Premier Palette at lunch yesterday. This is a worthy addition to Manchester. I had a smoked chicken sandwich with a hot sauce that was very good. Sides were excellent. I suggest talking to Zelma when ordering to determine level of spiceness of various dishes if that is a concern. It was for my wife and she got good advice in choosing her sides.

                      Next time I will try the beef ribs.

                      1. Had to add my two cents- we ate there on Saturday night, and it was really outstanding. Great brisket, bbq beans, and lovely, spicy collard greens. DH has smoked chicken , which was a touch too... smokey?? But everything else, including the sweet potato pie and the cheery Zelma and George were fantastic. We will be going back. Only problem: it was Saturday night on Elm St, and we were the only customers for the entire time we were there. So hurry up, so you don't find you've missed out!

                        1. ok, did it again today - now I've had everything but the fish. I'm in heaven. The brisket was soooooo sooooo good, chicken was reallly reallly good. I'm in love with the fried okra. This time we saved room for bread pudding - thank god we split it (thought i was in New Orleans but without the brandy sauce). Rice, smashed potatoes, and bbq beans were heavenly too. The only downfall is the timing - you cannot be in a hurry - call ahead if you only have an hour for lunch. I want to help her with processes (I'm a process freak), it could still be homemade if she made some ahead of time and kept that process going. Fabulous - hope this doesn't hurt them.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: lexpatti

                            I'm so anxious to try this place.
                            Brisket, fried chicken, fried okra, bbq beans, cole-slaw.
                            You all make it sound so good, I can wait to get myself there.
                            This place is on the top of my list.