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Staff Photo by Grant Morris

MT's Local Kitchen and Wine Bar waitress, Brittany McKenna takes plates from a customer's table. The restaurant is one of 18 participating in the Spring Feast week.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Feast Week coming to downtown Nashua

NASHUA – Any season is a great season for a celebration of all things culinary, but somehow everything just seems to taste better in the spring.

That’s one of many reasons Nashua’s annual Spring Feast Week, conceived almost four years ago by downtown eateries and Great American Downtown, has zoomed in popularity and appeal since its 2009 debut and promises once again to draw many a curious and discerning palate this week.

Feast Week runs Monday through Friday.

“There will be some great deals out there, I know I’m looking forward to it,” GAD executive director Rebecca Dixon said. “It’s a showcase, really, of all different kinds of food.”

Eighteen restaurants ranging from downtown “rookies” to “veterans” are participating in the Spring Feast week. The week is designed more as a vehicle for drawing people into the downtown area than for setting sales records, and plenty of attractive discounts and dining packages regularly pop up everywhere visitors turn.

There are three “true rookies” this year: Portland Pie Co., Riverwalk Cafe & Coffeehouse and Tacos Colima are new to the event.

This year’s roster of 18 restaurants ties it with 2010 for the most participants, Dixon said. Last year, the week drew an additional 5,000 diners than it did the year before.

Numbers show the springtime weeks outdraw the fall ones, Dixon said, and while it’s not by a whole lot, it’s clear people are more apt to come out in post-winter warmth. This month’s sudden summer-like temperatures proved the point: Restaurant owners and their patrons wanted to eat and drink outside, city ordinance or no city ordinance.

Besides the wide variety of food offered, the dining specials and discounts also come in many shapes and sizes. Some restaurants, for instance, do prix fixe (fixed price, common in Europe) menus, while others offer percentage discounts or in some cases, two-for-one or family deals. Participating restaurants sometimes try out new dishes during the week as a way of judging which ones they will add to their menus.

Spring Feast and its seasonal sibling, Fall Feast Week, set this year for Oct. 15-19, are bookends to one of downtown Nashua’s most popular events: the annual Taste of Downtown.

Each June, “The Taste” fills downtown eateries, sidewalks and even portions of streets with people eager to sample dozens of culinary offerings and take in the variety of music and other entertainment. This year’s Taste is set for Wednesday, June 6 from 6-9 p.m.

Just before The Taste, the Main Street Bridge Farmers Market makes its 2012 debut on Sunday, June 3. It takes place each Sunday from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. through Oct. 21.

Dean Shalhoup can be reached at 594-6443 or