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Local Eatery | Laconia, NH

Local Eatery | Laconia, NH

It’s All in the Name

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Chef Kevin Halligan’s resume is interesting and varied. He was a pig farmer for ten years. Then, he decided to work even harder by becoming a chef. Armed with a culinary degree from Northeast Culinary Academy in Montpelier, Vermont, Halligan bought a bakery/café in Laconia, New Hampshire, in 2007. Five years ago, after selling the bakery, he realized his life-long dream of operating his own fine-dining restaurant. Halligan was intrigued with New England’s agriculture and the sustainability movement, and he established a farm-to-table restaurant aptly named Local Eatery. “I recall being interested in cooking as far back as five years old,” Halligan said. “Growing up, my Christmas wish list included unusual ‘toys,’ such as a pasta maker. Over the years, I have developed a real respect for the ingredients I procure and prepare. I consider myself a shepherd of food. In other words, I am not trying to reinvent the wheel. I treat food the way it ought to be treated — simply. Sometimes, a little salt and pepper and the simple roasting process is all that is necessary.”

When naming his new venture, Halligan picked “Local Eatery,” because he knew that his focus would be the foods grown in the neighborhood. “I started with local eggs. Gradually, I visited more and more producers, learning from each of them. I now have a prized group of growers and farmers. I also frequent farmers' markets in the area. I always look forward to spring, when a wealth of fresh local produce is available — such as asparagus, arugula and baby spinach. I love to forage for ramps myself, which I use in pesto, pickling, sautéing and as edible garnish. My artichoke grower plants in February, but I must wait until October for the harvest. A local greenhouse grows tomatoes for me year-round. I use a variety of premium mushrooms from a local company, including Chanterelle, Shiitake and Chestnut.  My menu carries an array of different proteins, including rabbit, duck and goat.” In addition to the restaurant, Halligan operates a butcher shop and meat market – Local Provisions – which supplies meats and seafood for the restaurant as well as retail sales.

The finest and freshest ingredients on the local market are used when devising the menu, which ambitiously changes every two weeks. At last count, Local Eatery has featured 110 totally different menus since opening in 2012, and that’s not counting specials that are added from time to time. “Keeping the menu new and fresh keeps the culinary staff motivated, and our regular customers look forward to the new menu with interest,” said Halligan. The clientele is a mix of locals and tourists. This area of New Hampshire attracts skiing enthusiasts in winter, and because Laconia is in New Hampshire’s fantastic Lakes Region, an influx of summer homeowners and vacationers swell the base population of 18,000 considerably during warm weather.

In addition to the restaurant and meat market, Chef Halligan offers his services as personal chef to patrons who wish to have a private, customized dining experience for guests in their own homes. He and his wife, Gillian, have four awesome children.

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