One of the primary reasons I started this blog was that the greater Upper Valley area suffers from a dearth of restaurants. I’ve long been surprised that many of the area towns lack a decent number of eateries, and for a long time downtown Lebanon has lacked a real breakfast joint. Rumors would occasionally swirl around about a place opening up (there was even talk of another Farmers Diner happening here at some point), but nothing ever materialized. Until last month. Andy Hill used to be one of the bartenders/managers at Salt hill Pub on the other end of the Lebanon Mall, and I remember him telling me a few years ago that what he really wanted to do was to open his own breakfast spot in the community. Well, after several years of planning, he and his wife (city councilor and former mayor Karen Liot Hill) were finally able to bring the plan to fruition, opening the Lebanon Diner on the west end of the mall (across from The Cave, in a location that’s been, in my time here, a smoke shop and an eyeglass shop).
One of my favorite breakfast item is corned beef hash. And, as I mentioned recently in my review of Bode’s, it’s one of those dishes that’s easy to do poorly, but hard to do really well. It’s also one of the food items that I get a lot of recommendations for. I’ve often had people recommend places to me for good CBH, and a majority of the time, I’m disappointed, since I usually end up with something that’s either canned CBH, or a faithfully executed homemade replica of canned CBH. So when one of my homebrewing friends gave a strong recommendation for the Gold Star Restaurant in Worcester having the “best hash ever,” I responded with some skepticism, but put it on my hit list.
I’ve held off for a long time on review Lou’s, for a number of reasons, including (a) it’s in downtown Hanover, so it’s obvious, and (b) it’s probably the most-reviewed restaurant in the area. But for completeness, and since that’s where I ate this morning, I decided it was finally time to write it up. Lou’s is quite the institution in Hanover, having opened in 1947 (so I’m expecting some minor press next year as the restaurant turns 60). And it obviously has quite the following with both the Dartmouth crowd and the tourist traffic, since the place is universally packed after around 9am every morning (and generally, forget about going there on a saturday). Some would call it small (but by Upper Valley standards it’s pretty roomy), and having a long queue of folks waiting for seats gawking at you while you eat your meal is part of the charm.