51 Lincoln Chef Has Taken Over a New Hampshire Farm
When 51 Lincoln shuttered over the summer, the Boston suburbs lost a leading option for upscale, sustainably sourced cuisine. Now, the proprietors are back, but in a place where the grass is undeniably more lush: Jeffrey and Kate Fournier have taken over a 200-plus-year-old farmstead in Jackson, NH, and plan to reopen the Thompson House Eatery there next year.
Situated on 4.5 acres between Mount Washington and the Ellis River, the Thompson House includes a restaurant and farmhouse with an outdoor patio surrounded in lilac bushes, two barns, and farmland, Fournier says. It has a covered bridge connecting to a nearby golf course, and there are cross-country ski trails that make it possible to ski to the restaurant, Fournier says. His family, including two young sons, live on the property.
“We’re going to do a farm-to-table thing here, in a true sense where we can have up to three acres under cultivation,” he says.
The chef, who kept rooftop gardens at his Newton Highlands restaurant, plans to plant a variety of heirloom crops, like different squashes, corn, and grains that the kitchen can mill into flour, he says. The commercial kitchen, which was added in the 1990s, will be outfitted with refurbished, vintage ovens for an in-house bakery program, he says.
Thompson House Eatery has a full bar. Eventually, Fournier would like to renovate a barn on the property to expand wedding and private function business. But early next year, he will begin serving dinner Wednesday-Sunday. Expect simple plates comprised of top-notch ingredients, he says, like “egg in the nest,” a pasta dish with house-made pappardelle, herbs, and a poached egg nestled in the center; and slow-braised short rib with roasted parsnips, onion jam, and sage.
“As opposed to focusing on the fancy chef thing, it’s really much more family-focused. My wife will help with front-of-house, our kids are on the property,” Fournier says.
He’s planning to keep the name Thompson House Eatery, which served dinner and hosted events for 37 years before closing in 2013. The Fourniers purchased the property from the previous operator, Larry Baima, earlier this fall. They don’t plan to revamp the interior very much.
“It has a lot of exposed beams, barn wood, and part of the restaurant itself used to be a chicken coop. It’s got a lot of rustic charm to it,” Fournier says.
In fact, it’s a place he and his family have long loved. His wife is originally from the White Mountain region, and they frequently dined at the Thompson House while they were dating, Fournier says.
Before closing 51 Lincoln, Fournier also shuttered his second restaurant, Waban Kitchen, and filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. He’s looking forward to a different quality of life in Jackson.
“It’s an amazing, beautiful property,” Fournier says.
The Thompson House Eatery, reopening February 2017, 193 Main St., Jackson, NH, 603-383-9341, thethompsonhouseeatery.com.