MANCHESTER, N.H. - Waitress Carla Holden didn’t miss a beat when we asked her where to find the city’s touchstones of French-Canadian heritage. “Well, you have to start here,” she said, gesturing around at the faux wood plastic tables, the long counter, and the blue vinyl-clad aluminum stools of the casual breakfast and lunch joint Chez Vachon.
She had a point. In one of the two dining rooms, 10 men had shoved their tables together to solve the world’s problems over lunch. As he does about three times a week, former mayor Emile Beaulieu stopped in for a daily special. Sister Rita waited at the counter for a big order of take-out. And heaping plates of food kept pouring out of the kitchen.