By Diane Ficarra

Seacoast Scene, Wednesday, June 4, 2008

[The following article is courtesy of Seacoast Scene.]
There’s nothing like enjoying a relaxing evening out with good friends in a comfortable restaurant that’s full of ambience, food that you know is always going to be deliciously prepared, sipping some fine wine, and maybe sharing a special dessert to top things off.

Today, The old Salt restaurant is owned and operated by the Higgins Family. Mike Higgins, owner, Michelle O’Brien, Sales & Marketing, Kathi Higgins, owner and Brad Dubin, head chef. Absent from photo is Joe Higgins, owner.
[Courtesy photo]

The experience of dining out is always one I enjoy. There’s nothing like enjoying a relaxing evening out with good friends in a comfortable restaurant that’s full of ambience, food that you know is always going to be deliciously prepared, sipping some fine wine, and maybe sharing a special dessert to top things off. Just thinking about it now brings me pleasure! Many excellent dining experiences I have had have been at The Old Salt Restaurant. I know the food is always going to be good and the seafood is always going to be fresh. The wait staff is impeccable and everyone I’m with always leaves feeling like they’ve had a fine dining experience. I think that’s the experience everyone wants when they go out to eat and that’s exactly what you can expect when you dine at The Old Salt at Lamie’s Inn.

Here’s a brief overview on the history of the Lamie’s building where The Old Salt is located. The Lamie’s facility was “a home built in 1740, according to historical records. In 1760, the building was acquired by the Lane family, benefactors of the town of Hampton, and remained in their possession for four generations, until 1911. The Lane’s involvement in Hampton was extensive and can still be seen and felt today. The reputation of Lamie’s has made it a frequent stop for all types of visitors to the New England area and, particularly, the tavern has become a tradition in the campaigning of nearly every significant Presidential candidate in years past.”

Kathy Higgins, Brad Dubin and Michelle O’Brien. An incredible establishment for fine dining along the seacoast, The Old Salt is known for its excellent and colonial cuisine decor.
[Courtesy photo]

Today, The Old Salt Restaurant is owned and operated by The Higgins family. Nancy Higgins was the matriarch, and she grew the business from a sub shop on Hampton Beach where she raised her 3 children to work for her. When the restaurant was destroyed by a devastating fire in 1999 they moved the business to its current location in March 2001. Nancy passed away last September but each of her children has continued her legacy and plays a major role in managing and contributing to the success of the restaurant. Joe Higgins is the general manager, Mike manages the kitchen and Kathi is office manager.

Michelle O’Brien, who’s been in sales and marketing there for almost 20 years, says “the Old Salt consistently offers a variety of excellent food at excellent prices with great service. It’s a relaxing evening for everyone who dines here. We’re living in a tough economy and it’s a big decision when people want to go out to dinner. They want to go somewhere that has a good reputation and is consistent for giving people what they want. We cater to families and if you’re going to drop $100 on dinner for a family of 4 you’re going to want to know that you had a good time, that you had plenty to eat and that you weren’t rushed. That’s important, that’s what people want and that’s what we offer!”

Michelle says “we have specials that are offered on certain days of the week and we have our regular customers that come in depending on what special we’re serving that day. For instance, Wednesdays they offer “all you can eat” spaghetti and meat-balls, Fridays its “all you can eat” fish and chips (only $12.99), also served on Fridays is lobster bisque with chunks of succulent lobster, it’s the best I’ve ever tasted! Saturdays they offer mouth watering prime rib and Sundays they serve roast turkey dinner with all the fixings.

When the weather is warm… and we’re practically there, they have dining out on the patio. “It’s wonderful on a warm evening” says Michelle. “You can just sit and have a cocktail and watch the cars go by”.

The Old Salt is also part of the beautiful Lamie’s Inn where many businessmen stay as guests and enjoy the fine dining in the restaurant. They have 3 function rooms in a variety of sizes and can accommodate business meetings, rehearsal dinners, showers and wedding receptions. “We’re easy to work with says Michelle, if you have special dining requests, whatever your needs are, just let us know, we can make your function exactly what you want.”

When I asked Michelle what is one of the biggest things their patrons say about the restaurant, she says “people know our seafood comes to our restaurant fresh every single day. They also like the fact that they can come in at lunchtime and order a big dinner or walk in at 8 o’clock at night and get a sandwich. We’re flexible that way.”

The Old Salt has been recognized by Portsmouth Magazine with the 2007 award for best seafood restaurant. Recently, they’ve received the 2008 best Sunday brunch (its only $15.95) and 2 years in a row (2006-2007) they’ve received the award for best clam chowder at the Prescott Park chowder fest.

An incredible establishment for fine dining along the seacoast, The Old Salt is known for its excellent cuisine and colonial decor. They’re open daily for lunch and dinner, Sunday brunch is from 9:30-11:30. The Old Salt is located at 490 Lafayette Road, Rt. 1 in Hampton, NH. You can also check out their website for their menu and hours at www.oldsaltnh.com.