Martha’s Exchange Restaurant & Brewing Co.
185 Main St., Nashua
Restaurant hours: Monday through Wednesday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Thursday, 11 a.m. to 9:30 p.m.; Friday and Saturday, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m.; Sunday, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Bar hours: Sunday through Wednesday, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., and Thursday through Saturday, 11 a.m. to 1 a.m.
Major credit cards accepted
Accessible to those with handicaps
The website for Martha’s Exchange Restaurant & Brewing Co. in Nashua boldly claims, “We’ve Got It All.’’ With a microbrewery, candy and gift shop, weekend night club, and continual focus on good food at reasonable prices, it’s hard to argue.
The business has been in the Fokas family since Martha’s Sweet Shoppe was founded by the great aunt of current co-owners Chris and Billy Fokas in 1932.
Their father, James Fokas, took over the candy shop in 1944 and added a 22-stool luncheonette. He and his wife, Ethel, then expanded the business by acquiring neighboring stores.
In the mid-1980s, Chris and Billy graduated from the University of New Hampshire and took over the business when their parents retired. In 1987, they added a restaurant and bar. The microbrewery, which produces about 25 different types of beer annually, was built in 1994.
Today, visitors to Martha’s have a variety of choices in dining areas: booths or stools at the bar, tables in front of expansive windows overlooking Main Street, or a more formal section. When our party of four visited on a recent Saturday, however, we opted to enjoy the warm summer night at a table outside.
Although you seat yourself at these tables, our waitress spotted us quickly and didn’t delay in taking our drink and appetizer orders. The pulled pork quesadilla ($8.50) was stuffed with jack and cheddar cheeses, chipotle sour cream, and tender meat in a tangy but not overly sweet sauce that provided just the right amount of kick.
The sweet potato wedges ($7) were six large and rather thick rectangular sections. Each flat section of soft sweet potato was covered with layers of brown sugar, chopped pieces of maple bacon, jack and cheddar cheeses, and drizzles of chipotle sour cream.
While the dish didn’t get a rave review from everyone at our table, this particular sweet potato and bacon fan had great difficulty sharing them.
The almond maple salmon ($15) was a good-sized portion of fresh Atlantic fish topped with sliced almonds and served in a casserole dish to preserve the maple butter sauce.
While the salmon was moist, more sauce would have been welcome, even to mix with the accompanying mashed potatoes.
The chipotle honey BBQ tips ($15) was a 14-ounce serving of charbroiled steak tips in a flavorful sauce that tasted sweet or spicy to different diners.
The bayou chicken with pasta ($11) was blackened chicken that was a little dry, though it was mixed with red pepper, broccoli, and cheese tortellini in a chipotle cream parmesan sauce so good it earned a comparison to “butter melting.’’
Our table’s fan favorite was the lobster-stuffed haddock ($19), a deliciously creamy combination of flaky fish and chunks of lobster sprinkled with bread crumbs and served steaming in a casserole dish. The side dish of rice pilaf was light, fluffy, and well-seasoned.
Although desserts were completely unnecessary by this point, who can turn down chocolate lava divine cake ($6)? The dense chocolate cake completely covered in warm sauce oozed just the right amount of smooth ganache. The dulce dream dulce de leche cheesecake ($6) on a dense graham cracker crust was decadently rich and subtly flavored with caramel mousse.
The menu also features soups and salads, burgers, paninis and sandwiches, tapas, and a bistro menu with offerings such as orange balsamic scallops ($17) and ginger wasabi steak ($18) available after 5 p.m. All sauces, dressings, and even the chocolates and candies are homemade, according to the owners.
As our party lingered outside past 10 p.m., we watched through the window as tables were pulled away to make way for a dance floor illuminated with flashing lights. Music from the DJ beckoned a younger generation whose evening was just beginning.