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New Restaurant in Manchester, NH ?

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rmsoul Nov 29, 2008 10:33 AM

Just heard about a new restaurant opening in Manchester. I believe the name is Firefly American Bistro on Concord St. Anybody have any info about this new place ? I can't imagine trying to open a new restaurant in this economic environment.

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  1. g
    gryphonskeeper RE: rmsoul Dec 27, 2008 04:23 PM

    I had not heard of this place opening, and I live in manchester! I think they need to invest in some marketing, or hire a good PR person.

    1 Reply
    1. re: gryphonskeeper
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      djr222 RE: gryphonskeeper Dec 29, 2008 09:35 AM

      I agree but from what I read and heard they are opening

      a copy
      Meanwhile, the loan fund has leveraged a new downtown restaurant. Opening in November 2008, Firefly American Bistro & Bar will offer comfort food redefined. The epitome of the quintessential neighborhood bar and grill, Firefly will present a unique blend of traditional and contemporary in both food and décor, along with a little local flair. Located in the newly-rehabilitated historic building at 22 Concord Street, Firefly will be open daily at11:00am serving lunch and dinner. Owners Diane Downing and David Becker received a $70,000 loan on October 3 to support the opening of the new downtown restaurant, which will create over 20 new jobs.

    2. whs RE: rmsoul Dec 30, 2008 05:39 AM

      An article in today's Union Leader:
      http://www.unionleader.com/article.as...

      4 Replies
      1. re: whs
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        gryphonskeeper RE: whs Jan 5, 2009 05:19 PM

        whs, I TRUST your opinion because I know you are a regular local poster, and not a one hit wonder. Have you tried this place? And, is it the "Firefly American Bistro" chain restaurant? If it is, I am not interested in visiting it at all.... The last thing Manchester needs is more mediocre chain food!

        1. re: gryphonskeeper
          whs RE: gryphonskeeper Jan 6, 2009 05:30 AM

          Thanks for the kind words! Let's hope it's a worthy addition to the Manchester food scene.

          1. re: whs
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            gryphonskeeper RE: whs Jan 7, 2009 05:17 AM

            whs, I just bought a couple gift certificates from www.goodeastnh.com They just listed them in the past couple days. You know I will give a solid 100% honest opinion after I go. I did not see a website listed, so I do not think its the chain restaurant, but even if it is I will give it the benefit of the doubt. My flight arrives home from Ft Lauderdale tomorrow, so I will try to get there before the weekend (spent 2 weeks down here and missed all that lovely snow/ice back home). Wish me luck.

            1. re: gryphonskeeper
              whs RE: gryphonskeeper Jan 7, 2009 05:23 AM

              Lucky you--you're missing ice storm #2 today!

      2. Rabbit RE: rmsoul Jan 7, 2009 10:33 AM

        Does this spot have a web site or a menu posted online? I did some google-ing, but didn't come up with anything.

        3 Replies
        1. re: Rabbit
          AbeFroman RE: Rabbit Jan 7, 2009 11:26 AM

          The website is: www.fireflynh.com ... Unfortunately, there's no menu up yet, just some teasers. Definitely waiting on early reports before investing a visit during my next visit to my fair Queen City.

          I too hope to hear that they're a nice addition to the dining scene... the city wouldn't suffer to see more sophisticated chef-owned spots like Richard's and Z - where you can enjoy a good meal without the glow of oversized plasma screen TVs playing SportsCenter.

          P.S. I can't be the only Chowhounder who isn't a *little* wary of the Black Brimmer connection mentioned in the UL, right? I mean butchering experience would be one thing to admire in a new restaurant owner, but running a "meat market" is a whole 'nother... ;)

          1. re: AbeFroman
            Rabbit RE: AbeFroman Jan 7, 2009 04:48 PM

            Thanks, Abe! Reads like it might be competition for Cotton? I agree that Manchester needs some new up-per-scale options... hopefully this will be a promising addition.

            1. re: AbeFroman
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              gryphonskeeper RE: AbeFroman Jan 7, 2009 07:37 PM

              You are smack on the spot with that one Abe. The main reason I no longer go to the Brimmer is because of the atmosphere.

          2. g
            gryphonskeeper RE: rmsoul Jan 12, 2009 05:13 PM

            I went to Firefly this Saturday afternoon with my DC at approx 330pm, and we were seated in the bar area, we immediately noted it was too dark to read the menu, and too loud to enjoy any intimate conversation. There were a couple large TV's playing sports and we were just not interested in that. We moved ourselves to a booth in the front area and waited, our server Jodie came out and immediately took our drink order. I was absolutely freezing, so she asked if I would like a nice hot tea, and she was spot on! I also ordered an appy of Chicken Quesadilla, which was ok but had almost no chicken in it, for $8 I expected a lot more. My hubby ordered the Firelfy Burger with the beer battered onion rings, I had the fish and chips.. His burger looked great, and he said it was delicious. My fish and chips came out with 3 decent sized pieces of fish ( I had asked for onion rings instead of chips) everything was above average... especially the service! I have to say, I was very skeptical when I came in, I was expecting an Olive Garden, and I got an Olive branch!
            Will I go again? Yes... (but I won't order the Chix appy)
            Ask for Jodie if you have the choice... she was amazing.

            1 Reply
            1. re: gryphonskeeper
              whs RE: gryphonskeeper Jan 13, 2009 04:26 AM

              Thanks for the great report!

            2. l
              leeapeea RE: rmsoul Jan 16, 2009 12:31 PM

              I noticed this place on the 29th as I was walking to Margaritas. I'm surprised that someone opened a place in this environment too, but hopeful that if they had the you-know-what's to do it now, perhaps their menu will have some gusto too.

              I went for the first time last night. I sat in the bar for about half an hour on my own (I was early, not ditched). There were two bartenders on for a Thursday, and there seemed to be a decent sized post-work crowd in the bar. It was boisterous, but not loud (I'm 28, so I'm comparing to places like Margaritas, Murphy's, Strange Brew, Shaskeen, etc.) I never sat at the tables in the restaurant, so I don't know how much of the sound might have carried, but the tables looked pretty separate. The bartenders were outgoing, which is always nice when you've got nothing to do but wait and sip a drink. One, Mike, actively asked for feedback, positive and negative.

              I had the house dirty martini, which they serve with a flavored salt rim. I'm glad I asked for it "light on the salt." It's made with a potato vodka that seemed pretty good quality - Grey Goose, perhaps, I didn't think to watch her make it. They also stuff the olive with blue cheese, which I've had before and loved. Unfortunately, the cheese they used was terribly salty - if they switched to a mellower blue or a gorgonzola it'd be perfect.

              I also ordered the go-go bread, which is gorgonzola fondue (although, it's orange... go figure) with garlic toasts. It's crack for $6.95. Get it. You'll thank me. If you don't like it, then I'm so sorry. Except more for me. Yay.

              My friend arrived and was pleased that the bartender (this one AJ) knew her Scotch. Generally when he asks "Whaddya got for Scotch?" he gets a blank stare, perhaps a stammered "Joh... Johnny Walker? Um... Red?" and a blushing server. I know nothing about Scotch, having been hit by the Old Grandad plague in my youth and now and forever can't stomach the stuff, but he was happy.

              The go-go bread was filling, so I ended up ordering a side for dinner - the mushroom risotto. It was huge - the size of a bowl of cereal. Which, I guess for some people would be good, but it was more than enough for a meal. The risotto was... decent. Maybe a tad undercooked. But the mushrooms were fantastic - nice, big, earthy, flavorful chunks of mushrooms throughout the risotto. I think they'll end up perfecting this. I hope they do.

              My friend got the "Poor Man's Pie" which is shepherd’s pie, but with chopped steak instead of ground. The bite I had was marvelous - a lovely, rich gravy, fresh and snappy vegetables, and a creamy and evenly seasoned mashed potato top. Perfect for the -5 degree weather.

              I paired my risotto with a Hendrick's martini, dry. I'm pleased to see more establishments carrying Hendrick's gin, and hope it's a sign of more artesianal liquors, as well as a more creative drink menu (Cosmotini? Really? Just... no.). I much preferred this to the dirty martini - it was made knowledgably.

              The prices are... not cheap. It's not T-Bones (not to knock them, they do a good job for their price point). But it's not Z's either. If you're like me and generally have leftovers, I suggest ordering an app and a side if you're looking to keep your costs down (so you can get more $9 martinis - they're worth it). They have several interesting menu items for between $12 and $18, and their portions seem generous. The fillet mignon is just under $25, which is a little rich for my blood, but if it's a good cut of meat might be worth it.

              The menu is listed at their website now, in pdf form, and they're open for lunch (with a less expensive menu - good time to try stuff).

              Overall, they're doing pretty well for their third week. I think the staff has enough experience to improve, and I really hope they do. I'm so glad that building is no longer housing some sort of creepy electronics store that's only open nights and has customers that sit out front on beech chairs and stare at people as they walk by.

              Give this one a chance. And if you did and didn't like it, wait a month or so and try again. Startups are tough, and we're still in the "previews" stage.

              1. Rabbit RE: rmsoul Jan 18, 2009 10:27 AM

                Menus are up now on the website: www.fireflynh.com

                And thanks for great review, leeapeea. I'm looking forward to giving Firefly a try.

                1. ChardonnayQueen RE: rmsoul Jan 28, 2009 11:10 AM

                  I've been twice and loved it. The decor is gorgeous. The bartenders and servers were helpful. I had a soup and half sandwich for lunch when my show at the Palace was delayed an hour due to a storm. The soup was a special cheddar and potato. It was quite nice, but the potato chunks had to be cut. They were too big for bite size. My half sandwich was HUGE. I had roast beef with a horseradish sauce. Again, quite nice.

                  For dinner I shared the go-go bread. Big mistake. I am addicted. It is fried bread that you dip in gorgonzola sauce. Talk about a heart attack. We didn't leave a crumb. I then had seared scallops which was flavorful and nicely presented. The portion size again, was large. Since the appetizer was so fattening, I have not tried dessert, yet. I have recommended Firefly to friends who enjoyed the experience. I will absolutely go back. It just may be my newest place in Manch Angelos.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: ChardonnayQueen
                    edinaeats RE: ChardonnayQueen Jan 28, 2009 11:50 AM

                    We're fans of Firefly. I heard some reviews calling it mediocre, but that hasn't been our experience. BTW, I lmuch prefer Manch Angelos over Manch Vegas!

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