Dixie Blues’ Nashua debut

NASHUA – Two friends turned business partners are bringing southern cuisine to the Northeast, establishing Dixie Blues in Nashua.

After opening on Dec. 18 in the space that formerly housed Tilted Kilt at 345 Amherst St., co-owner Scott Forrester, of Lubbock, Texas, and head chef and co-owner Chris Noble of New Orleans, are creating a unique atmosphere unlike many other barbecue spots in New Hampshire. However, they offer much more than just typical barbecue food, and as Noble puts it, the menu features southern-style dishes across the board, covering just about anything one would find south of the Mason-Dixon Line.

“The owner is from Texas, and I’m from New Orleans,” Noble said, adding that, “We’re both southern boys, which is kind of where Dixie Blues came from because we have the blues from not being back home.”

However, the two met up north, and both found a new home on Amherst Street in Nashua, with a second location slated to open its doors in Manchester sometime in April. However, that Manchester location was intended to be the original restaurant they had hoped to open in 2016. However, construction delays, permits and as General Manager Chris Normandin describes, the usual stuff nobody totally anticipates, they got held up until now.

“This situation came about and it was hard to turn down the opportunity, even though we were about to open in Manchester,” Forrester said. “We just said, “hey, let’s do it,” and we probably might have been a little crazy, but I think we have a great fun concept that’s going to work great in Nashua, and work great on Elm Street in Manchester too.”

However, in the meantime, they got the ball rolling, and although the restaurant opened a bit later, the menus still read established in 2016, as an inside joke among staff members since at least the idea established then. Now, that idea is a reality, with patrons passing through their doors ordering unique menu items, such as a Nashville hot chicken sandwich, Louisiana seafood gumbo or pork belly from the smoker, to name a few. Forrester said the Nashville hot chicken sandwich has probably been their biggest seller since their doors opened last month.

“Between the pork belly and the Nashville hot chicken sandwich, I couldn’t have ever imagined how much we’ve made and sold for those two products. It’s been unbelievable,” Forrester said.

Moreover, aside from the food menu, Normandin said the restaurant also has 42 beers on tap, eight of which are constantly rotating with local breweries.

Additionally, Normandin said Noble’s family is quite familiar with this style of cooking. He said they once claimed the spot as the top-ranked amateur barbecuers in Louisiana. Noble said his dad has won some awards being a pit master.

“I grew up with it,” Noble said. “It’s definitely a science to it, using the right wood with what protein for how long.”

He said some meats take just two hours, while others can go up to 18 hours. Nonetheless, Normandin, Noble, and Forrester all come from a fine-dining background for the most part, although Dixie Blues is more of a casual restaurant and bar setting.

“The idea in here is to let the guests interpret the type of fun they want to have,” Normandin said. “We’re still keeping that fine-dining quality for all the food, but we don’t want it to be so stuffy.”

The guys at Dixie Blues put an emphasis on the southern hospitality of everything, and want everyone to feel at home while there. Furthermore, the restaurant can seat up to 160, with room for more patrons once they are able to open up the patio in the spring. They will also be hosting music to complement the atmosphere and food from time to time. Music listings will be available on their website under events, https://dixiebluesnh.com/. Additional information can also be found on their Facebook page at, https://www.facebook.com/DixieBluesNH/.

Adam Urquhart may be contacted at 594-1206, or at aurquhart@nashuatelegraph.com.