The Pines Seafood Restaurant

Quality Fresh Seafood the Hallmark of The Pines in Raymond
By Leslie O’Donnell - 10-16-12

When nothing will satisfy but a steaming hot bowl of chowder or a platter of fresh seafood, there’s no need to plan a trip to the Seacoast. Instead, head over to Route 27 in Raymond and The Pines Seafood House, where the seafood is fresh, the chowder wins prizes, and there are hard choices to make among the multitude of ice cream options for dessert.

Across from the Riverside Park sign on the Lamprey River and near the junction with Langford Road, The Pines has been serving quality seafood to locals and visitors to Pawtuckaway and Onway Lakes for more than three decades. Easily accessible to Candia, Nottingham and Deerfield, the Raymond landmark sports umbrella-covered picnic tables outside, and rows of booths and ocean-themed décor indoors. About a third of the business is take-out.

Mike Hall of Deerfield has been “sweating to own” The Pines for the past four years. His title is manager but he’s also the cook, and holds just about every other job title as well. The Pines was owned for 30 years by Norm and Ann Launier of Deerfield. They retired three years ago and Hall has been in charge ever since.

He expanded the restaurant’s hours and keeps The Pines open to serve customers seven days a week, 12 months of the year. Hall established the restaurant’s website – - which offers coupon specials – and has brought in new menu selections, including grilled haddock and the popular bread bowls for chili and chowder.

Hall said the fresh haddock sandwich is the signature menu item, with the seafood platter – offered in two sizes – not far behind.

But everyone has their favorite, and one of The Pines’ many chowder selections –  including seafood, fish, or clam, the latter made unique by using whole clam bellies – is more often than not part of a customer’s order. Chowder is also available in frozen quarts to take home.

“The chowders don’t have any fillers so they are gluten free,” Hall noted. “There’s no flour in any of them. The seafood chowder is all seafood, and no potatoes are added.”

Hall has been in the restaurant business all his life. While he lived in Florida for 20 years and raised his family there, he’s happily back in New Hampshire – together with his wife, three children and four grandchildren.

Quality is the hallmark of The Pines, and it’s something Hall emphasizes in both food and service. “The fish is fresh,” he said. “I pride myself on that. I emphasize that quality is of top importance. The food has to be good.”

Deliveries of fresh fish and seafood come in to the restaurant four or five times a week. Many restaurants are moving toward using frozen fish, Hall said, but not The Pines. “I keep everything fresh,” he emphasized.

In addition, portions are large and the staff are all local. And for the non-fish lovers, the menu also includes hot dogs, grilled cheese, hamburgers and chicken tenders. But it’s hard to resist the choices ranging from fried lobster to steamed clams.

Customers have been returning to The Pines for years, and new ones who have moved into the area or are just passing through come back for more. Even former residents stop in when they come back to visit – recently a former resident who now lives in New Orleans carved time out of his visit to make sure to get a bowl of fish chowder and some seafood.

Hall offers plenty of inducements for people to stop in even more frequently – Wednesday specials, website coupons, free meals from a special menu on a customer’s birthday, kids under 6 eating free from a children’s menu with the purchase of an adult entrée, a senior citizen discount every day, and a quarterly drawing for a free meal. Two signs out front attract passersby with their current specials.

The Pines’ tray liners sum it up: “Quality, Quantity, Cleanliness and Service, All at a Great Price…Our goal is to treat each customer in such a way that you want to return.”

The Pines, at 171 Route 27 in Raymond, is open daily from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Call in orders are welcome at 895-4114.



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