The Chef’s Kitchen > Great Lakeside Dining
Part of the Common Man Family of Restaurants, founded by entrepreneur and philanthropist Alex Ray, Lakehouse Grille in Meredith exemplifies the Common Man family’s originality and renowned commitment to excellent, accessible dining. The dining room is modeled after an Adirondack camp, with its handhewn exposed beams and heavy wood columns. There are fieldstone fireplaces and the dining room has the classic, calming appeal of a lake home. The captivating views are another treat.
Bringing a Local Touch
Head chef Allen Zick has designed his creative American menu to be a fusion of Southwestern flavors and Asian tones with a New England flair. Zick’s steaks and fresh seafood dishes often incorporate flavors such as barbecue, spices, ginger, garlic and soy sauce—one example is the Chili Glazed Salmon in Sweet Soy Broth with Pickled Cucumber Slaw. Lakehouse offers a variety of other entrées and sides depending on what’s seasonal and fresh. Zick likes to work with New Hampshire maple syrup and other local ingredients, such as native apples and a prime rib that comes each weekend from Niman Ranch in Vermont.
The summer is busy at the Lakehouse, naturally, as travelers flock to New Hampshire’s Lakes Region. The three floors of service and prep kitchens ensure that the Lakehouse team can handle daily patrons and the many functions that take place in the event space at Church Landing, which has room for three hundred guests. In the winter, Lakehouse offers a series of wine dinners, a chocolate buffet with more than one hundred kinds of gourmet chocolates and a twenty-dollar, fixedprice three-course menu.
Taking care of the family
Ray and the rest of the Common Man family are also dedicated to humanitarian work at the local, national and global level. The company mantra is “Doing Well by Doing Good.” Employees— “family,” as Ray likes to call them— host numerous fundraising events each year at each Common Man location. Ray and his family of fourteen fully staffed restaurants support organizations that include The Salvation Army in Manchester, The Humane Society for Greater Nashua and The Friendly Kitchen in Concord.
While Ray was at work in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina directing a kitchen staff that was feeding more than 2,500 evacuees, the rest of the Common Man family in New Hampshire was spearheading the “Common Effort,” which eventually raised more than $108,000 in Katrina relief funds. Ray and the Common Man family are also establishing a culinary—or hospitality—school at a technical institute in Honduras.
Despite this work, Ray doesn’t like to think of himself as the humanitarian; instead he gives the credit to the Common Man family, including patrons and staff, who support and champion these charitable causes.
Zick—who also is the head chef at Lago and Camp, both in downtown Meredith—started out washing dishes at age twelve in Lynn, Massachusetts, working in food service until he was the executive chef at the Nashua Country Club. His inspired menus and the variety of dining experiences that Lakehouse, Camp and Lago offer have become a crucial component of the downtown Meredith experience.
Ray’s employees are confident and creative, but he admits to consistently worrying that he’s not doing enough to keep everyone in the Common Man family happy.
Having more than a dozen other locations for employees is a great asset to seasonal businesses like the Town Docks—which Ray opened in Meredith in 1999—and Lakehouse, where the kitchen staff shrinks considerably during the colder months. Lakehouse employees who only work in the summer may find work during the winter at the Common Man locations in Lincoln or Concord, at Foster’s Boiler Room in Plymouth or any of the other restaurants founded by Ray.
If the success of a restaurant is a measure of employee satisfaction, then Ray and his team are doing well to keep everyone in their family happy.
Recipes from the Lakehouse Grill
Spicy Chicken Wings
Serves 4 – 5
Sticky Tomato BBQ Sauce
-2 cups ketchup
-¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
-2 cups Sweet Baby Ray’s™ BBQ sauce
-¼ cup Frank’s Red Hot™ sauce
-2 tablespoons honey 1 drop Tabasco sauce
-¼ pound brown sugar
-½ teaspoon dry mustard
-½ tablespoon soy sauce
1. Mix all ingredients thoroughly store in refrigerator.
Sticky Tomato BBQ Wings
-5 pounds fresh chicken wings
-2 cups chicken stock
-Sticky Tomato BBQ Sauce
1. In large pot, combine all ingredients. Simmer on medium heat till wings are just cooked through. Transfer wings to a pan and set a side.
2. Preheat grill to medium high. Reduce sauce until thick and sticky, or until it coats the back of a spoon.
3. Grill the wings until skin is crispy. Then toss wings with the remaining sauce and serve.