Look for the Helpers

One quote I’ve been seeing a lot on social media lately comes from one of the greatest, kindest souls of the last century, Mr. Fred Rogers:

When I was a boy and would see scary things on the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’

Today, that quote is especially pertinent. I don’t think I need to provide any context for March 2020 as COVID-19 continues rearing its ugly head and has transformed society as we know it. I don’t think this is an exaggeration; restaurants across the country are being forced to rethink providing meals for their customers and taking every precaution to keep their staff and community safe. There has been a lot of negativity, concern, fear, and mistrust in the news as of late, but I wanted to use this small corner of the internet to share one heartwarming story I came across yesterday.

Georgia’s Northside is a fantastic addition to Concord’s local food scene and a new favorite for takeout. A New Hampshire native, Alan Natkiel opened shop after spending years perfecting his southern classic recipes in New York City. Now located at 394 North State Street in Concord, it’s an unassuming location that packs a serious flavor punch. Open Wednesday through Sunday, they offer a rotating menu (posted to their Facebook page each day) featuring an abundance of southern-inspired meats, home-cooked sides, and desserts. Their location has a fantastic, diverse selection of New Hampshire beers, an added bonus, to take home with your hot, generously-portioned meals.

I’m diverging a bit from the heartwarming story, but it goes without saying I need to tell you about their awesome food. Obviously their menu is meat-heavy, so we got the buttermilk fried chicken and about a million sides. Even cold (as leftovers the next day), it was satisfying and crispy. The sides were comfort foods with a little bit of a twist, with the chili and garlic broccoli and creamy, almost glazed (what is their secret?!) brussel sprouts as favorites. The mac and cheese was also delicious, with the perfect amount of cheese and creaminess without being too-liquid. The leftovers re-heated beautifully, which makes for the perfect take-out in my opinion.

On this particular day, I liked that they also had a fresh Greek-inspired cucumber and feta salad to cut the carbs just enough. Their homemade cornbread was also fresh and crumbly.

So; I tell you all of this to get your mouth watering, yes, but also because I wanted to give the team at Georgia’s Northside a shout-out for being really good humans. As you know, Tuesday was St. Patrick’s Day and as future readers may remember, just about the beginning of the virus chaos beginning in New Hampshire. Governor Sununu and others have been giving daily updates and advice for containment and best practices to keep us all safe. But meanwhile in Alan’s kitchen, they were preparing 50 meals of corned beef and cabbage for the Concord Police Department and Concord Hospital. Reading their story (you can check out the full story here) brought tears to my eyes and reminded me that not all humanity is lost. Reading through the comments of the people who ate and appreciated the meals made me smile.

Throughout this saga, please remember to support your local businesses, including restaurants, and nonprofit organizations who provide such critical services to our communities. I’ve seen lots of great advice out there about buying gift cards to use later or getting takeout if and when you feel it is safe to do so.

Who knows what the future holds; I hope that all of you remain safe, healthy, and socially distanced for the foreseeable future. And if you have the opportunity to (safely) help others, make Mr. Rogers proud.

Have you discovered any unique, tasty food or drinks lately? Let us know! Be sure to email us at eatdrinkplay@stayworkplay.org to share your ideas of any New Hampshire related food/drink/venue/organization that you think should be featured in “The Taste!”

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