James Haller reflects on the Portsmouth restaurant scene he helped create
Almost 50 years later, Haller is known as the grandfather of "new American cuisine" and of the Portsmouth restaurant scene. He built the Blue Strawbery Restaurant on Ceres Street with two partners from a small start-up "dining room" to the city's star restaurant. He spent 16 years in the kitchen there before moving on; the restaurant itself continued for another nine years before making way for a new generation of restaurateurs.
This year, more than 50 restaurants in and around Portsmouth will participate in the fall event from Nov. 7 through Nov. 16, and Haller is taking part in the festivities.
"It had been so untouched from the early 18th century and even part of the 17th century, so there were wonderful buildings that are still there, and the waterfront is still there," Haller said.
The restaurant was named in honor of Strawbery Banke Museum, which had just begun its efforts to save some of the city's historic homes.
Haller said he is impressed by what Portsmouth chefs are doing today.
"As Portsmouth restaurateurs in the 21st century, we are so aware of the debt we owe to James Haller for putting Portsmouth's culinary scene on the national map," said Massimo Morgia, owner of Ristorante Massimo and Upstairs at Massimo's on Ceres Street.
A full list of participating Portsmouth Restaurant Week restaurants with links to menus can be found at www.restaurantweekportsmouth.com.
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