Butter My Biscuit (Manchester, NH)

(Update: Unfortunately, Butter My Biscuit closed in December 2015. Best head on over instead to Chez Vachon a half mile away for some other excellent Quebecois food).

I’ve always liked Manchester, the Queen City of New Hampshire. For such a modestly-sized city of ~100,000, it actually has a pretty good dining scene (you can see my other reviews here), and “ManchVegas” still holds a lot of surprises for me, especially in the culinary scene. One of these was over on the West Side of town across the Merrimack River, which I call “Little Quebec”, since the area has a very strong French Canadian heritage. It also has a number of Quebecois restaurants, such as the fairly well known Chez Vachon which has been serving up giant plates of poutine for years. But looking over the various dining options in West Manchester, I saw an interesting one called “Butter My Biscuit”, and we decided to check it out.

Like many Manchester neighborhoods, Butter My Biscuit is in one of those mixed former-millworker residential, small business, and industrial areas. Butter My Biscuit itself is in a building that used to be a somewhat seedy bar, but walking up you can immediately tell you are in for a French-Canadian treat, since the sign on the building proudly proclaims “Gorton and Meat Pies are Back!”. “Gorton”, for those of you that aren’t familiar with it, it a headcheese-like pork spread containing onions and spices. Slightly softer and fattier than most headcheese, Gorton is a classic of French-Canadian breakfasting (up in Quebec, it also goes by the name “Cretons”).

Walking inside, you can tell that this used to be a dive bar, but it’s now a fairly bright and open restaurant, with a bunch of booths and tables. Menu-wise? It’s your basic breakfast fare, with two notable additions: they have a regular pancake special with special pancake flavors, and they also serve up the standard French-Canadian fare that I expect in this neighborhood, including gorton, poutine, and pork pies. In fact, I ended up getting the pork pie special, with eggs and side of “half and half” (half homefries and half baked beans). And I’ll have to say, I was happy. I’ll start with the pork pie. This was a seriously good pork pie, with a nice meat filling that was both rich in pork flavor while also being nicely spiced, with a lot of clove. I’m sorry, Red Arrow Diner, but I’ve got a new pork pie favorite in town. The beans were also a really nicely done example of New England baked beans, and obviously housemade instead of canned.

Most importantly, however, for a place that’s called “Butter My Biscuit”, I expected the biscuit to be good. And, unlike all sorts of places throughout the Northeast that seriously need a Biscuit Intervention[tm], Butter My Biscuit delighted me by actually having a biscuit that was, well, good. Really good. A nice, flakey, and crispy drop-style biscuit, this was everything I love in a biscuit. I may come back just for another.

Added all up, Butter My Biscuit is another great stop amongst Manchester’s many good breakfast options. The place is pleasant, the food good, and the biscuits excellent. I’ll have to work them into my rotation.

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