Phantom Gourmet: Roundabout Diner In Portsmouth

PORTSMOUTH, NH – The key ingredients to a classic All-American diner are breakfast all day, made from scratch food, and fresh-baked pies. Well, this place has all of that and a whole lot more. Situated along the traffic circle just off I-95 in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, the Roundabout Diner and Lounge has the feel of the fifties, but with a fresh look, and incredibly fresh food.

“Roundabout Diner is just a great place where people meet for any type of event and have a great meal, whether it’s breakfast, lunch, or dinner,” said owner Dan Posternak. “We take your old time diner and we put a Roundabout twist on it, with local, organic, hand-made, everything from scratch food. It tastes better and people know. People know the difference.”

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From blueberry pancakes to blueberry pie, hand-carved turkey dinners to slow-smoked barbecue, the Roundabout Diner has a well-rounded menu, from early in the morning to late night.

“You can get breakfast all day. We serve it until 10 or 11 o’clock at night,” Dan said.

Even a simple side of bacon is anything but ordinary here.

“It’s a thick cut bacon, and it’s sugar cured. So it’s got a little bit of sweetness to it, and you can taste the smokiness of it as well. Like everything else we do here, it’s unique. It’s different. You can’t really find it anyplace else.”

Grand Marnier French Toast at Roundabout Diner (Image: Phantom Gourmet)

Grand Marnier French Toast at Roundabout Diner (Image: Phantom Gourmet)

The same can be said about the Grand Marnier French Toast made with a hint of orange liquor.

“It’s a giant plate of three big slices of challah bread made specifically for us by When Pigs Fly in Kittery,” Dan explained. “We dip it in our cinnamon Grand Marnier batter, griddle it. A lot of people get fresh sliced strawberries or bananas on it, with a side of whipped butter and Vermont maple syrup.”

Before Dan opened the diner, he owned a legendary barbecue restaurant in downtown Portsmouth called the Muddy River Smokehouse. Many of the items on the Roundabout menu carry on the smoky, low-and-slow tradition. There’s a three-egg omelet stuffed with tender and sweet, hand-shredded pulled pork. Then there’s the signature appetizer known as Fowl Balls.

Fowl Balls at Roundabout Diner (Image: Phantom Gourmet)

Fowl Balls at Roundabout Diner (Image: Phantom Gourmet)

“It is chicken tenders we cut by hand, wrap them with our applewood smoked bacon, then smoke them for about an hour or so, then finish them in the fryolator, just to give that bacon a little bit of crispness. And then served with our housemade honey mustard sauce.”

For a little comfort food and seafood together, the mouthwatering lobster mac and cheese is finished with truffle oil and panko bread crumbs. Burger lovers with a big appetite might want to go for something called The Pile Up, stacked with a half-pound Angus patty, pulled pork, smoked ham, bacon, cheese, cole slaw, and Russian dressing. The famous corned beef hash is made completely from scratch, from cutting the potatoes to boiling the brisket, which also means, they make one heck of a Reuben sandwich.

Reuben at Roundabout Diner (Image: Phantom Gourmet)

Reuben at Roundabout Diner (Image: Phantom Gourmet)

“We hand carve it. So it’s about a quarter inch thick, the corned beef. Our marble rye bread is a thick cut marble rye, and the warm sauerkraut, the melted Swiss cheese, and the homemade Russian dressing is a perfect complement,” Dan described.

The desserts are superior to almost any other restaurant you’ll ever go.

“Our desserts are all hand made by our pastry chef Ashley,” Dan said. “Whether it’s our cream pies: banana, coconut, chocolate cream; or her layer cakes which are just so phenomenal, because they’re so moist and they’re just awesomeness.”

Ashley’s signature dessert is the sweet, fluffy Banana Cream Pie.

Banana Cream Pie at Roundabout Diner (Image: Phantom Gourmet)

Banana Cream Pie at Roundabout Diner (Image: Phantom Gourmet)

“Her pastry cream is made from scratch, which doesn’t happen often. She slices bananas in the pie, on the bottom and on the top,” Dan said. “It’s not a thousand ingredients, but it’s the quality of the ingredients that makes the difference. You can taste the homemade in the dessert.”

From sweet to smoky, nostalgic to no-way-you-can-finish-it-all, the Roundabout Diner will be around for a long time, because their made-from-scratch philosophy has definitely paid off in customer loyalty.

“I see regular customers in here 3,4,5 times a week,” Dan explained “It obviously tells you they love coming here for the experience and for the food. It’s just very rewarding. We take great pride in our service as well as our food.”

You can find Roundabout Diner and Lounge at the Portsmouth Traffic Circle, and online at roundaboutdiner.com.

Watch Phantom Gourmet on Saturdays and Sundays at 10:30 and 11 a.m. on myTV38.

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