The Dinner Table (Swanzey, NH)

A few weekends ago, the snow hadn’t really fallen yet, and I used it as an opportunity to go on a short hike with my friend Alex. Looking for a relatively modest hike that still had some good views and was reasonably positioned between Alex’s place in CT and mine in NH, we settled on Wantastiquet Mountain, located in Hinsdale across the river from Brattleboro. It’s a relatively short drive for me, around an hour and change, but I’ve driven I-91 so many times recently I decided to take the NH route, going down through Keene, NH, and stopping for breakfast. Unfortunately, I don’t know any great breakfast spots in Keene proper (if I have Keene readers, I’d love to hear options). But just over the border in the adjacent town of Swanzey, right next to the Keene Airport, is a little joint called The Dinner Table.

Arriving right as they opened at 7:30am, the place way was quiet, but it only remained that way for a few minutes; by 7:45am on a Saturday morning, the place was hopping busy, and by the time I left, the line was out the door. So obviously the Dinner Table is popular with the locals. The interior is pretty much the exact sort of homey interior you expect from a small-town “Family Restaurant” with cozy tables and a slightly-antique-ish decor.

I sipped on my coffee as I was looking over the menu, commenting on the fact that the coffee much they gave me was unusually large (I estimate that it was approximately 20 fluid ounces, so I was very well-caffeinated for the hike afterward). But the breakfast menu has the usual selection of omelettes, breakfast plates (including some of my favorites like Chicken and Waffles, or Biscuits and Gravy), and a handful of specialty Benedicts. Back when I started this blog, my standard “benchmark” order was biscuits and gravy, but after having enough sub-par biscuits in New England, I’ll usually order a Benedict as a standard order, so I opted for their Irish Eggs Benedict.

The Irish Eggs Benedict was a good one: a nice actual house-made corned beef hash that used shredded hash instead of cubed, eggs, and Hollandaise. The hash was good and flavorful without being overly salty, and cooked up with a nice crisp. The eggs were perfectly poached, and the Hollandaise nice, tangy, and smooth. The home fries on the side were themselves well-above average with a nice, crisp exterior and a soft interior. Alas, when they offer your home-fries with onions, they simply dump some deep-fried onions on top. Not as enjoyable as actual onions fried with the home fries, but this doesn’t really subtract from the dish (I’ll just have to remember to ask places about this in the future).

Overall, I can see why The Dinner Table is obviously one of the more popular breakfast joints around Keene. The food is good, the ambiance pleasant, and the staff friendly. And the coffee very, very plentiful. I’ll have to come back and try their lunch/dinner menu at some point.

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