A lot of the places I go on Offbeat Eats are found by research, but some of them are found by pure happenstance, just by walking or driving past a place that, well, looks rather “Offbeat”. In the case of Beefside, I found this place several years ago, when my brother was returning a rental truck to the rental place in Concord, which was on Route 3 east of Concord, NH. It’s an odd area, mostly full of car dealerships and the likers, but there are a few restaurants oddly sprinkled in between the car dealers, vacuum repair shops, and the like. One of these, Beefside, features on oddly large and comic sign featuring a cow that looks something like the Black Angus twin of Elsie the Cow. It’s the exact sort of sign that says to me “If they’ve been able to survive with kitschy signage like that for so long, they’ve got to have a lot of loyal followers.” So I decided to check them out, and rather liked the place (I first visiting in 2009, it’s just taken me a while to return with a camera).
Walking into Beefside, the interior is definitely 1970s vintage old school: booths, dark lighting, wood paneling, and all sorts of bric-a-brac on the walls. Menu-wise, Beefside is primarily a roast beef sandwich joint, but they’ve also branched out into the related fields of deep-fried food, seafood, and barbecue. This isn’t fancy food, but “family restaurant” food. In any case, we went for it: I went for the prime rib dip, Carol opted for the pulled pork sandwich, and we decided to split an appetizer of fried mushrooms.
The mushrooms arrived quickly, and were a pleasant surprise. A rather substantial number of places selling fried mushrooms (which are one of my guilty pleasures) simply pull a bag of frozen Sysco fried mushrooms out of the freezer and deep-fry those. That’s not Beefside: the mushrooms we got were obviously made fresh: the mushrooms were hand-cut into halves and quarters, the breading fresh, and the mushrooms still firm instead of the more usually squishy texture. We definitely enjoyed these more than the usual fried mushrooms.
As far as the main courses? The prime rib dip was everything I was hoping for. Nice, tender, and flavorful prime rib that was still nicely rare, the meat was piled up deeply for a rather substantial sandwich. Add in a toasted bun for some crunch, and an au jus that was flavorful and not overly salty, and this was a great sandwich. Their house potatoes, crinkle-cut slabs of potato, were a little unusual, but still nice.
Carol’s pulled pork was also a pleasant sandwich. Our first comment upon seeing it is that it was huge, but biting into it, the quality was good as well. We’re somewhat accustomed to particularly lousy barbecue in NH, but this was actually some good pulled pork: soft, tender, and smokey. I’ve had better, especially in the South, but this was proper, good pulled pork. We’d get this again in an instant.
Overall, Beefside is a pleasant enough place to stop in for a “nothing fancy” dinner of roast beef sandwiches (I’ll have to try their original sandwich sometime for comparison), decent pulled pork, or several other dishes of the deep-fried variety. I certainly plan on coming back.