Eclectic and Local Meet at Everyday Café
story and photos By Stacy Milbouer and Tom Long
Fiddlehead Contributing Editors
The Everyday Café and Pub got its name the old-fashioned way — it earned it. The eclectic Contoocook eatery at 14 Maple St. is open seven days a week and has become a hub for a chill and neighborly devoted clientele.
It’s a classic third place where community is drawn by great food, good cheer and awesome beer. The menu relies primarily on locally sourced ingredients. Chicken and pork are smoked in-house and pulled by hand. Many of the breads are made on-site, too, and local beers and wines are featured.
The restaurant’s decor is as eclectic as the menu — kind of ski chalet meets New England boho. Diners are “met” outside by a painted metal rooster, a suit of armor with a raven perched on its shoulder and a giant, hand-carved wooden coffee mug with the restaurant’s logo.
There’s also a community bulletin board overflowing with news of local events, including fundraisers like the one Everyday held for a sick friend. And there’s an outdoor dining area in season that is particularly popular with local puppies and their companions in fair weather.
All of it celebrates the fun, artistic and local — and that’s even before you walk through the door. Inside is a bakery, a coffee café, restaurant, bar, local art for sale on the walls and even a gift store with locally made food products and gifts like the Everday Café Coffee Rub and handmade pottery.
A favorite seating area is the old ski lift chair placed over a table, which serves as Everyday’s back booth. And the ski theme is carried through to the lunch counter-bar where a row of skis serve as paneling.
On any given morning, that counter is filled with regulars and visitors sitting shoulder to shoulder eating stacks of buttermilk pancakes, drowning in Turyn’s maple syrup from Webster, or lighter choices like a breakfast parfait made with fresh fruit, lucky Tooky granola and New Hampshire-made organic Stonyfield yogurt.
At night the crowd might be more likely to be sampling local beers like Burn the Ships from Able Ebenezer Brewing Company in Merrimack and 603 Beer in Londonderry, and crafted cocktails like a Columbia Hall Old Fashion made with infused bourbon, Bing cherries, bitters, orange slices and seltzer.
“Local is the word for us,” according to Everyday’s Facebook page. “We use local products. We have local attitude (good) and lots of fun.”
That fun includes weekly trivia nights, costumes on Halloween, coffee clubs and beer schools (four courses of local beer paired with food and knowledge), to name a few.
The local roots start with staff and management. Co-owner Christian Nardi was in Hopkinton for his 20th high school reunion when he discovered a space for rent in Fountain Square and opened the café. He owns and operates the restaurant with Lisa Porterfield, whom he met while playing ping-pong in the French Quarter of New Orleans.
And, of course, there’s the food. In addition to local beer and spirits, a vast coffee drinks menu and daily food specials are posted on blackboards. There are house-made soup specials like tomato basil with Italian bread and the bourbon heirloom tomato burger — made with a house patty, smoked Greenhill Collective organic tomato and bourbon relish, North Country Applewood Bacon, blue cheese, caramelized onions and baby spinach.
Lunch and dinner choices range from the spicy Wicked Grilled Cheese — stuffed and grilled with Swiss, ghost pepper, cheddar, American and provolone cheeses, house jalapeños and roasted tomatoes — to specials like Cold Smoked Tofu Pad Thai and the Slow Cooked Meatball Sliders made with local beef, pork and veal on a Kings Hawaiian Roll.
Every Day Café will be celebrating its 10th anniversary in October. This past anniversary they posted a thank you on Facebook: “It takes a village.”
Sandy, a local customer, commented, “At first we came to support one of our own and now it just feels like home. We love Everyday and its owners and the one & only Uncle Benny performing miracles at the bar! … It’s where we celebrate one another’s birthdays & milestones and come for a little fun. Happy Birthday — and here’s to many more.”