Roundabout Diner in Portsmouth, New Hampshire Brings Classic Diner
Concept to Deliciously New Levels
Eric Hurwitz. Created 4/13/2017. Photos, courtesy of Roundabout Diner.
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There's this myth that a diner has to be located in a
historic dining car to count as a real diner. Let's just say that we
need to make that theory history.
The Roundabout Diner and Lounge in Portsmouth, N.H., disproves this
outdated sentiment, but, yet, respectfully does so with a true ode to
prototypical, historic diners with its classic comfort foods, coffee
always on the burner, neon, chrome, booths and counter with stools, and
inviting sense of community amongst staff and customers. What elevates
the Roundabout beyond typical diners, however, resides in its 21st
Century culinary innovation, vision and creativity by using
locally-sourced ingredients, whenever possible, and putting a twist on
the typical diner fare. For starters, bread comes from the amazing When
Pigs Fly Bakery in nearby Kittery; sausage from a farm in Vermont; and
cheeses from local farms.
Love club sandwiches? Sure, the Roundabout has favorites like turkey,
burger and tuna, but also brings this genre to the next level with a
lobster club sandwich made with 100 percent Maine lobster meat (as they
do, also, in its amazing lobster roll). Many enjoy fried haddock
sandwiches at a local diner, but the Roundabout smartly utilizes its
coastal area location by sourcing fresh, local haddock. The BLT gets a
wonderful upgrade with sugar-cured bacon, green leaf lettuce, tomato
and mayo on grilled sourdough bread with the option to add cheddar and
avocado. Burgers take on mountainous proportions with the peak being
The Pile-Up Burger with a one-half pound burger, pulled pork, turkey,
ham bacon, cheddar cheese,, egg, cole slaw and Russian dressing. The
Grand Mariner French Toast is a masterpiece with When Pigs Fly Bakery
Challah bread griddled with cinnamon batter and added powder sugar,
whipped cream and warm syrup.
Then there are the desserts -- made-from-scratch and to die for...
Roundabout Diner desserts: artful and delicious! Photo, courtesy
of Roundabout Diner.
Owner Dan Posternak told me that while his diner isn’t exactly out of
the historic Worcester Dining Car mode, the respect to old time diners
lives strongly and faithfully at the Roundabout.
“We play 50s music in the background, have neon, checkerboard floors,
booth seats, a dessert case, waitresses wearing t-shirts with diner
lingo,” said Posternak. “So many of the food items are diner staples
like our corned beef. We do it better, though, as we grind it
ourselves, slow cook it and offer a thick cut... I have been in the
restaurant business for 40 years, but this is the most successful one
yet. It’s not just about the food, it’s also about appearance, decor,
service, cleanliness and, really, the overall experience. If you have a
good product people will come to you. We have 200 seats, so
there’s little room for error.”
The Roundabout also has a lounge that is quite popular by featuring
local beers, martinis, an international wine list and, also, flat
This is a seriously good diner, and clearly one of the best I have been
to in New England. Having recently written an ebook, The
Best Diners in New England, I had varying experiences at local
diners over the past several years and only included the Top 50. The
Roundabout clearly ranks near the top of that list -- noteworthy, since
there are so many phenomenal diners in New England.
While the Roundabout Diner might be one of the newer kids on the block
when it comes to diners, it comes across as a serious contender as a
top local diner -- and preferable over most full-service restaurants I
have been to in the New Hampshire Seacoast area. They aren't kidding
when stating in its motto, "The Best Food Around"!
The Roundabout Diner is located at 580 US Highway 1 Bypass (Portsmouth
Traffic Circle) Portsmouth, NH. Tel. 603- 431-1440. Log onto the Roundabout Diner web
site or Roundabout Diner
Facebook fan page
for more information and updates.
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