In the Galley

Country Cookin' at High Street Deli

By Howard Altschiller

New Hampshire Seacoast Sunday, October 20, 1991

[The following article is courtesy of the Seacoast Scene.]
If you're looking for a down-home breakfast of sausage biscuits and gravy, or many other country favorites, you don't have to look farther than the High Street Deli in Hampton.

High Street Deli, 20 Depot Street, Hampton, N.H., (603) 926-4229. Open Monday through Friday, 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on Saturdays 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Breakfast is served until 11 a.m.

The High Street Deli in Hampton serves up a real "down-home" breakfast at a down-to-earth price.

Before your bottom even hits the Naugahyde in one of the High Street Deli's comfortable booths, a friendly waitress has brought over a steaming cup of coffee.

There is nothing pretentious about the High Street Deli. The walls are decorated with Norman Rockwell prints and memorabilia, the tablecloths are checkered red and white and the curtains on the windows are a simple country print. The restaurant is clean and bright and offers booth, table and counter service.

Upon entering, you pass a glass display case filled with homemade pies. On any given day there might be a golden brown apple pie, or a Boston Cream pie overflowing with whipped cream. The case also displays the restaurant's fine selection of homemade breads, muffins and cookies.

As the decor is simple and attractive to the eye, the food is simple and delicious to the palate.

The first time I stopped into the High Street Deli for breakfast, I ordered batter-dipped English muffins, ham, baked beans, juice and a bottomless cup of coffee ($2.85).

The English muffins, cooked French toast style, were served beneath two thick slices of smoked ham. I covered this combination with maple syrup and the first bite told me I had found a breakfast spot worth talking about.

The homemade baked beans were sweet and delicious, and served in such a large portion that I left the High Street with a full stomach that stayed full far beyond the lunch hour.

On my second visit, I tried the High Street's sausage biscuits and gravy served with a bottomless cup of coffee for $1.95.

Sausage biscuits and gravy are a staple of Southern breakfasts. In the Southern style, home-baked buttermilk biscuits are topped with a creamy gravy into which ground sausage meat has been sauteed.

The High Street's sausage biscuits are different. The Deli serves one enormous home-baked biscuit, cut in half with a large sausage patty in the middle. The entire dish is then covered in gravy.

High Street Deli owner Bill Devanna says he first tried sausage biscuits and gravy on a trip to Florida, and liked it so much he decided to import the dish north.

"When I go someplace and eat something I like, I add it to the menu," Devanna said. "I really liked the biscuits and gravy, but I couldn't take those grits."

Devanna has been at his current location in Depot Square for six years. Before that, for 12 years, he operated his restaurant on High Street. When he changed locations, he kept the name.

On a third visit, I brought a friend, just to make sure my penchant for down-home cooking would appeal to a larger audience.

This time, I ordered the Deli Deluxe Omelette, a three-egg omelette containing pan-fried ham, onion, pepper and mushrooms blanketed with American cheese. With homemade rye toast and a bottomless cup of coffee, this came to $4.95.

The omelette was cooked perfectly and frying the onions and peppers before dumping them into the omelette added flavor to the breakfast dish.

The Deli Deluxe is the top of the line omelette. Most omelettes run in the $3 range.

My friend ordered apple pancakes ($2.50). Chunks of firm, fresh apple dotted the three large golden brown cakes. The cook also added a dash of cinnamon and my friend confirmed my impression saying simply that "this place is great."

The reason the place is great is that it is small enough for Devanna to do all his own baking and cooking. Before opening his own restaurant, Devanna worked as a baker.

So go to the High Street Deli for breakfast, but remember, save a seat for me.

The High Street Deli is also open for lunch and early dinners.