NEWPORT — The Old Courthouse, a Newport dining institution, has been selected by the editors of New Hampshire magazine as Best of NH 2018 for Historic Dining.
"This award is a tribute to our amazing staff and the people in Newport and surrounding communities who support Newport businesses", said Jane Rastallis, owner who is a Director of the Newport Area Chamber of Commerce and is active in the Newport Sunshine Initiative.
The Best of NH Awards given annually by the magazine are in two categories: Peoples' Choice, based on votes submitted, so many honorees are in the more populated southeastern part of the state and Editors" Choice, selected by the magazine. The Old Courthouse was awarded Editors' Choice.
The Rastallis family leased the first floor of the historic 1826 Federalist style building in 2003 amidst speculation that its occupancy as a restaurant would damage the Newport Historical Society contents stored on the upper floor.
Due to ongoing support from residents of and visitors to the Lake Sunapee area, the restaurant continues to provide a unique dining choice. The restaurant's chef, Robert Steele, is a Newport resident and a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America in Hyde Park, N.Y. He is well known in Newport for his appearance with Aggie Proper in 2018 Dancing with the Newport Stars.
According to Rastallis, the restaurant "has enjoyed three years of unprecedented growth and now employs two full time and 18 part-time employees. The restaurant is managed by Karen Doucette, daughter of Rastallis who is a Newport resident and Supervisor of the Checklist in Newport.
"Much of our growth is attributable to catering as we are now able to provide food services from lakeside dinners in private homes to cocktail parties and dinners for 200," she said.
"The staff we have is talented, hard-working and especially loyal... only leaving when they go off to college. That is a significant factor in our being here for the last 15 years," said Doucette.
Each summer, the restaurant erects its large white tent on the south side of the building. During the summer months, guests enjoy Friday Night Happy Hours with live music, Fathers Day Brunch, Caribbean Night with a steel drum band and New Orleans night with a Dixieland quartet.
The tent season ends with the Library Arts Center sponsored Farm to Table Dinner following the Apple Pie Crafts Fair. All are open to the public. In addition, numerous private events are held under the tent and it is available to non profit groups on a limited basis.
The photo of the salads that is attached to this Email is preparation done for the NMHS Honors Banquet at the Newport Opera House