the best good, honest,
inexpensive local food
Visit Seacoast Dining
87 Daniel Street, Portsmouth, NH
Open Tues-Sat to 5pm
whenever Emllio feels like opening
This is where the real Seacoast in-crowd dines - standing up. Now in his 25th year making unique Italian take-out, Emilio Maddaloni is a Seacoast institution - if you can find him. Emilio sells lunches and Italian groceries from a one-room shop across from the US Post Office on Daniel Street - when he's in the mood. If he's not, look for a piece of wood blocking the window and a locked door.
Visitors who don't want to make conversation should stay away. Emilio likes to banter with the customers, and may ask probing psychological questions, offer advice, tell a joke or sing a song. It's all part of the service.
His slogan: "Our lunch is an Emilio in itself!"
Political exiles from Massachusetts, Emilio and his wife Linda (often seen in the back room) feed the stomachs, hearts and minds of a loyal crowd of regulars. In his day, Emilio has been honored in a rap album, featured on the PBS special "Ciao Italian" and quoted in countless newspaper accounts and recipe books. When Hillary Clinton visited the shop during husband Bill's initial presidential run in NH, Emilio told her to keep her eye on him - just as the Jennifer Flowers scandal broke. This clip even appears in a filmed documentary.
We cannot recommend a meal, since we never know what Emilio will offer. Go for the Italian tuna if the calzones and pizza are sold out. Frequent favorites include artichokes, pasta fagioli, beans and rice with spicy beef, meatball or "eggmeat" subs (eggplant and meatball - our invention), risotto, polenta, "four wheel drives", fishcakes or, in summer, the "Prescott Park Special", a mixture of whatever is available ready to take to the waterfront. There may be chutney, salsa, chili, cold beets, a humus tahini, potato kale soup, rarely a turkey soup, beans, beans and more beans. Did we mention that we eat here almost every day?
Emilio harassing passersby in winter.
Sign in window reads, "Sorry, We're Open"
Photos by J. Dennis Robinson
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