Our Gourmet: A Concord pub worthy of its name


May 09. 2017 10:52PM







 
Parts of Concord, it seems, are overrun with restaurants of all description, and the area of Storrs and Depot streets, just down the hill from Main Street, is one.

Today we head there to visit Cheers, where quality food and service are found in a comfortable establishment branded after the much-loved TV show of the 1980s.

Like its Beacon Street counterpart on the Boston Common, the pub is downstairs and the dining room upstairs, but both drinks and food are always available throughout Cheers. Service is friendly, the food is terrific, and if you return often enough most regulars might remember your name.

We had lunch to do in the downtown Concord area one recent weekday afternoon, and it really was a no-brainer. Without moving our car (we just fed the meter a few more quarters) we escaped into the friendly confines of a most enjoyable, truly American pub.

Surrounded by delightful (and even local) memorabilia plastered all over the old brick walls, we found many dishes to entice us. It is fun in Cheers to read the walls and enjoy the collection of historicals.

The menu is the same for daytime or nights, and there are plenty of selections to satisfy any appetite, whether it be for dinner entrees or sandwiches, appetizers or salads, sandwiches or Tex-Mex specialties.

We started with a large, specials-menu salad, to share and bring some home, then enjoyed an entree-type lunch plate and a great sandwich before bringing half the sandwich home along with dessert.

From the daily specials menu, our Cajun Salmon Mexicali Salad ($13.99) was a feast. Fresh romaine lettuce was loaded top and bottom with all sorts of south-of-the-border flavors surrounding a slightly spicy slab of Mexican seasoned grilled salmon steak.

Above and below the salmon and lettuce was a bounty of corn/black bean salsa, cheddar cheese, avocado, peppers, pickled onions and corn tortilla strips under a generous dose of avocado ranch dressing.

The Mexicali would be a terrific meal in itself, but we knew it would be large and filling and so planned to leave some for leftovers.

For an entree-type lunch serving, half an order of Grilled Beef Tips provided a steak-house treat at a bargain price, accompanied by Cheers’ grilled zucchini medley and a potato or side of choice. I chose cole slaw.

Seven or eight large marinated steak tips graced the plate. For dinner, 12 ounces of steak tips go for $16.99 (half-order $13.99), and this luncheon serving was plenty large enough and very well priced at $10.99. The juicy steak tips were grilled exactly to order, and delicious.

For business lunches, Cheers is an interesting place to entertain and feed guests; the memorabilia on the walls provides plenty of conversation starters. One brick wall is emblazoned in tile with the name of 19th-century Concord publisher Edson C. Eastman, and several metal signs are from local businesses of the same period, along with authentic favorites like a Hires Root Beer (5 cents!) barrel, a neon “Rambler” creation, and a Hires’ competitor, perhaps local, named Richardson’s Root Beer.

And what better for a business lunch than the Executive Club Sandwich ($10.99), a double-decker club featuring roast turkey, baked ham, cheese, bacon, lettuce, tomato and mayonnaise in a well-mannered and well-built lunch sandwich easily worthy of its price.

If the weather stays chilly, we are going back to Cheers to test our recent run of good luck with soup. Two Mexican restaurants wowed us with a chicken-tortilla soup and one with seafood and cheese and stout Mexican spices, and the specials menu at Cheers had a chicken tortilla soup that was tempting.

But if the weather warms up, we are recommending a visit to this Depot Street pub for an outdoor meal on Cheers’ renovated and expanded patio dining area. As the restaurant is built into the side of the Depot Street hill between Main and Storrs streets, the patio area is well-defined and situated between the upstairs and downstairs areas of Cheers. It draws crowds, especially on weekends, when the sun shines. We are betting that the sun will shine this spring and summer, although it is taking a while to appear regularly.

Nighttime is the best time for snacks, and our Turtle Cake dessert ($5.95) which we ordered to go, was a great treat later on. A slice of cheesecake was coated in a salted-caramel topping, with a sprinkling of nuts on top, and a layer of chocolate cream sat just above the thick and tasty graham cracker crust. A very delicious dessert one would not expect at anything but a top-notch bar and grill.
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