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'Republic' owner expands his domain; Campo Enoteca features Italian cuisine

New Hampshire Union Leader

June 11. 2014 9:33PM
Ed Aloise at Republic Cafe on Thursday in Manchester. (Thomas Roy/Union Leader)

MANCHESTER — Ed Aloise is looking to strike it rich again by opening a second eatery on Elm Street.

The co-owner of the Republic restaurant recently unveiled Campo Enoteca, an Italian restaurant with a Rome vibe.

“If I’m competing against someone, I might as well be competing against myself,” Aloise said. “It is not necessarily to compete but to complement with Republic.”

The two restaurants — separated by 120 paces — are “different in approaches, different in cuisines and different in look,” he said.After six weeks of opening at 969 Elm St., “Campo is cash positive,” Aloise said. “All the cash responsibilities of Campo are being met by the Campo current cash flow.”And “Republic is extraordinarily successful,” Aloise said of the 4-year-old restaurant. “The marketplace has been very generous to us and very appreciative to us.”Recent Campo diner Dan Greenleaf said the restaurant was a bit noisy for his taste, but he liked the non-cookiecutter environment.

“Certainly having non-chain restaurants is a definite plus,” said the Manchester entertainer and Internet retailer. “It gives Manchester its uniqueness, and there’s definitely plenty of places in Manchester to eat, and there’s a lot of good restaurants that have come along in the past 10 years. You can never have too many good places to eat.”

Aloise is banking on those sentiments.

Republic, 1069 Elm St., gets its beef from Epping, its milk from Haverhill and its fish from the Atlantic.

“Republic is a Pan Mediterranean restaurant and is totally committed to locally sourced products and regionally sourced and food that is outside the normal distribution system,” said Aloise, who formerly owned the Milltowne Grill for nearly two decades at Manchester-Boston Regional Airport.

Chris May, co-owner of Hatchland Farm, said her Haverhill farm supplies the milk, half-and-half and heavy cream for the two restaurants.

“Out of the cow today and in the bottle tomorrow and sometimes that day,” May said.

Aloise said Compo was designed based upon a dozen visits to Rome by he and his wife, Claudia Rippee.

“Compo, you have to spend time in Rome to be able to copy that and do it truthfully,” Aloise said.

“It’s based around a lot of different flavors and smaller portions. Everything is set up to best be shared and tasted,” Aloise said. “There isn’t a big focus on entrees. There’s no veal Parmesan. There’s no chicken Parmesan.”

Instead, he said, “We make our pasta fresh every day. Our bread is made in artisan fashion on the premises.”

The average check per person, including alcohol, runs in the “low 20s” at Republic and “low 30s” at Campo.

“If you see it someplace else, you won’t see it here,” Aloise said of both restaurant’s menu offerings.

Republic generates 30 percent of its sales from specials listed on a blackboard: three to five choices for lunch and four to six for dinner.

“The presentation changes every single day,” Aloise said. “The most popular is whatever’s on the blackboard.”

In contrast, “Campo has more of a static menu with the pastas,” he said.Aloise said it was easier to manage two restaurants when he can walk from one to the other in less than two minutes.

“The other reason is we wanted to impact downtown,” Aloise said. “Manchester is ripe for a different level of urban dining.”

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