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New Hampshire’s Puritan Backroom wins a James Beard Foundation award

Locals always loved it. Now it’s been named one of ‘America’s Classics'

Joe Biden stopped for an ice cream at the Puritan Backroom as he campaigned in Manchester, N.H., on Feb. 8, 2020.Elizabeth Frantz/The New York Times

The Puritan Backroom in Manchester, N.H., has long been a favorite of locals and visiting politicians — and now it has national acclaim in the food world, too, with a James Beard Foundation America’s Classics Award. The award is bestowed upon locally owned restaurants that showcase excellent food and reflect the character of a community. The James Beard Awards are considered the Oscars of the food world, with categories that honor the best chefs, restaurants, and hospitality professionals across the country every year.

The restaurant began as the Puritan Confectionary Company in 1917, opened by Grecian immigrants Arthur Pappas and Louis Canotas. Their kids continued the culinary tradition, launching Puritan Backroom in 1974. Along with Greek-American comfort food and ice cream, the business has expanded to include an event and conference center. US Representative Chris Pappas co-owns the spot, and it’s now a popular stopover for campaigners, including Joe Biden earlier this month. Locals love the chicken tenders, a Backroom signature, and mudslides.


Puritan Backroom will be feted at the annual James Beard Awards gala on Monday, May 4, in Chicago.

Republican presidential candidate, former South Carolina Governor Mark Sanford, chatted with patrons at the Puritan Backroom restaurant, during a campaign stop last September.Elise Amendola/Associated Press

Kara Baskin can be reached at Follow her @kcbaskin.