A great market and eatery in Manchester

City or Town: 
Manchester
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 George

 

          Brother Gordon loves Manchester’s Lighthouse Wine and Seafood and urged us to write about it, so now I owe him bigtime. This is a very special place.

          Nick and Dalena Nel came to this country from South Africa, lived for a time in Texas, and ended up in Maine. Their story is a very good one and we are lucky to have them here. They bought the Lighthouse last March.

          As we visited with them, I was taken with their excitement about this place, and their strong commitment to it and their customers. Dalena is a pharmacist at a local drug store, so the Lighthouse is mostly Nick’s project, although Dalena works here on her “day off.” Nick is actually a lawyer.

          I knew this was a place to buy wine and beer and seafood lunches, but didn’t realize what a fantastic market they have, offering everything from soups to frozen crabcakes to Meadowbourre’s seasonings (a Monmouth company).

          Both Nick and Dalena love to cook, and you will be amazed at the many things they offer here, both freshly made and frozen. Soon, they’ll be adding take-home dinners and Designer Dog Food. Yes, Dalena cooks for her dogs, and now she’ll cook for your dogs!

          Their extensive selection of wine and beer is very good too, but what most impressed me was their commitment to fresh and healthy food. They get frequent deliveries of lobsters, crabmeat, fish, and other products.

          They are fortunate to have Emily Allen as their baker and chef. She is both very creative and very friendly. And we were delighted to discover chocolates made by Jon Jennings of Forgotten Stone Works. Jon was a year behind me at Winthrop High School, and making chocolates is his hobby.

          Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Saturdays are their fresh seafood days, but you can order fresh seafood any day of the week and Nick will have it for you the next day. Trust me, Nick knows a lot about fish and just where to obtain the very best.

          I had seen a photo online of their Bacon-Wrapped Scallop Sub ($9.99), and knew I had to have it. Fresh Maine scallops wrapped in bacon and grilled, with romaine lettuce, a very tasty maple mayo, served on a grilled Brioche bun. It was the best scallop dish I’ve ever had. No exaggeration.

          As we were leaving with our lunches, which we ate at home, Nick and Dalena said, “This is home. We’re not going anywhere.” Very good news for all of us!

 

Linda

 

          I could not place Nick and Dalena’s accent when I first met them, but when I found out they had come from South Africa to the United States, I couldn’t wait to hear the rest of their story. Dalena explained that they ended up in Maine because she has an adventurous family.

          After four years in Austin, Texas they pitched the idea of moving to Maine to the kids and they were all for it. And now they have been here for 14 years and happily call this home.

          They were faithful customers at the Lighthouse and purchased it this year. They cook as a hobby and have tweaked recipes and added a few new things to the menu to make it their own. Emily Allen runs the kitchen and loves the creative license she is allowed here.

          As we toured the shop I was awed by all they stock here. The wine selection is impressive, surely something for everyone’s tastes. You will find a tasting selection of Vinolio oils, imported pastas, and a wonderful choice of cheeses, dips and crackers. 

          The kitchen menu is creative - salmon burgers, fish reubens and several other subs and wraps, and a couple choices of quiche as well. Emily creates meals to go, fully cooked, then frozen. Small portions will serve two, and the larger portions are family size. This is indeed gourmet food to go. 

          Flatbread Friday’s are very popular (with a couple of choices each week), and Dalena told us they are expanding frozen offerings such as gluten free pies and healthy entrees such as salmon on quinoa and chicken with brown rice. In the summer they offer many salads, and with winter coming, soups and chowders to go are now a focus.

          They hold monthly wine and beer tastings at the Lighthouse and this is the place to go for fresh lobsters. They can steam them right there, so the Lobster takeout option is a popular one.

          I ordered a slice of Emily’s cheddar, mushroom and bacon quiche, and I am so glad I did. The crust was flaky and delicious and the filling was creamy. Yum!

          I loved the unique flavor of the 4P blueberry lemonade. There are only four ingredients in the product and it is not overly sweet. In fact, it is sweetened with maple syrup. Dalena and Nick look for unique products like this which is why browsing the store is so much fun. 

 

Need Help

 

We’re building a list of restaurants to visit and write about this winter and could use your help. If you have a favorite restaurant, please let us know (293-2661, georgesmithmaine@gmail.com). Thanks!

 

If You Go

Lighthouse Wine & Seafood, 918 Western Avenue, Manchester. 207-622-1221, www.lighthousewineandseafood.com

 

 

 

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