As 2020 winds down, thoughts of festive, holiday meals dance in our heads. Many are expressing the desire to support local restaurants by supplying their whole celebrations’ meals via take out. My family usually presents a challenge for any establishment, as we have two bottomless pit teenage sons, plus we require some gluten-free cooking as an added challenge. This past Saturday evening, while the weather outside was frightful and our fire was so delightful at home, we tried take out from the new Pepper’s Landing in Rochester, which I highly recommend instead of any holiday roast-beast.
Local Fishery with a Hip, Friendly Twist
It’s clear that this family-owned fishery still honors Pepper Martin – their grandfather – through their offerings, décor and overall quality.
Rochester is the second location of this family-owned restaurant; the original is in Brunswick, Maine. They pride themselves in distributing locally sourced fish, demonstrated by beautifully stocked lobster tanks, current fresh catch lists and whole fish on ice inside for your preview. Yet, the space is a hip, industrial feel, with a polished concrete floor and high ceilings.
Out of caution, my family has not eaten inside a restaurant since March. However, after seeing Pepper’s Landing, I will go back and eat there without worry. Their tables are well-spaced, all staff wear festive masks, and it is so clean that we could have picnicked on the floor.
The entire experience – from ordering to pick up – was incredibly easy. Due to our gluten free needs, I called to order; however, you can easily place an order online. The food was hot and waiting on time for pick up. There was not one Grinch among the staff, and all were friendly and marked our food containers clearly to designate which was gluten free and which was not.
Traditional to Modern ~ It’s Fish with a Flare
While elves try to stick to the four main food groups of candy, candy canes, candy corns and syrup, we humans want to supply a bit more variety over the holidays! Pepper’s Landing offers an extensive menu to satisfy both traditionalist and the contemporary palate. Most of the menu either is or can be modified for gluten allergies, except for the fried offerings at this time (those can be made broiled). Our food transported home very well, which illustrates how fresh their fish really is.
We tried a sampling of dishes, which were both gluten-free friendly and not – all of which were festive, well presented, and I’d include in my holiday meals without question.
- The smoked bluefish appetizer was amazing! It came with cornichons and capers, as well as garlicky toast points and horseradish. This is something you don’t find in most more casual seafood places around the Seacoast.
- They offer a couple types of fish tacos, and our haddock ones on corn tortillas offered a gift of a fresh pico de gallo/relish and avocado.
- A hearty offering of blackened salmon with basmati rice and asparagus was amazing. It was lighter on the “blackened,” which I find to usually be overdone, and both sides were cooked perfectly.
- A specialty at Pepper’s Landing is their fish rolls. We tried a fabulous, traditional lobster roll. They offer six types of unique lobster roll options, as well as other creative rolls with clam, crab, scollops. It came with their homemade potato chips, which we fought each other for over dinner. While the chips are gluten free, they are fried in the same oil as other batter; if you have Celiac vs. a more mild allergy, please be aware of that aspect. The staff at Pepper’s Landing made us very aware of that nuance ahead of time however, which we greatly appreciated.
- Finally, as an Italian who fries her own seafood at Christmas, I tried one of their fried
plates with whole belly clams and scallops. Please don’t tell my ancestors, but Pepper’s Landing rivaled all our decades of frying in one night. The batter was light and the meat tender and not at all over cooked.
We’ll Be Back with Bells On
It’s so important in this difficult time to support local eateries. I highly recommend that you and your family try Pepper’s Landing – either in the restaurant – or for high quality and unique take-out seafood. You won’t feel an ounce of Humbug.
My only recommendation to Pepper’s Landing is this: Please consider packaging your homemade potato chips in large quantities for sale! I need A LOT more of those, and they are ideal for watching football all New Year’s Day long to welcome in 2021!
COMMENT BELOW TO BE ENTERED TO WIN ONE OF 2 $100 GIFT CARDS TO PEPPER’S LANDING!
135 Marketplace Blvd
Rochester, NH 03867
Friday & Saturday: 11am-10pm
*Open for indoor and outdoor dining and take out pick up
*Offering free delivery in Rochester