MANCHESTER, N.H. (AP) — It may not be spelled out in the Constitution, but the simple fact of the matter is, you really can't run for president without grabbing some grub at the Red Arrow Diner.
Every four years during New Hampshire's first-in-the-nation presidential primary, pretty much every White House wannabe makes a pilgrimage to this tiny almost 100-year-old diner tucked onto a side street of the state's largest city. They shake hands, babble talking points, kiss babies, sometimes they even take a bite of the over-the-top delicious menu offerings.
But your political aspirations need not be nearly so lofty to pay a visit to this diner, considered one of the best in the nation. In fact, a meal at the Red Arrow is a fine excuse for a family day out in this former mill city that is well into a downtown revival that has filled the streets with great eateries and good entertainment.
Start your day at the Red Arrow, an official historic city landmark. There are booths, but it is way more fun to sit at the old-school counter. That ensures you'll get sassed by the ladies dishing up the food. Plus, you have a better view of the case of pies piled mile-high with whipped cream and the towering layer cakes under glass domes waiting to be sliced.
The menu is everything you would hope for in a 24/7 diner — monster stacks of pancakes and waffles, omelets of every design, oodles of eggs Benedict, and of course ample burgers and classic diner sandwiches. And everything is served up big. How big? Big enough — and delicious enough — that the Red Arrow merited a visit by Guy Fieri for his "Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives."
During my recent visit, a tuna melt on rye with a side of hash browns was everything it should be — mayo-rich, toasted just right, tangy and just a touch sweet, and too big to pick up easily. It required great restraint to resist the feverishly tempting "Mug o' Bacon" — 20 slices of maple-cured bacon served standing upright in a mug for just $13.99 ($19.99 if you want to keep the mug).
No matter what you order, you'll likely overeat. So waddle out and head for some culture. A few blocks away is a hidden gem — the Currier Museum of Art. Not only does this beautifully designed museum boast a robust collection of significant paintings and sculpture — including works by Pablo Picasso, Georgia O'Keeffe and Henri Matisse — it is particularly well-suited for a family art immersion.
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