By Jessica Jenkins
Atlantic News, Thursday, August 5, 2004[The following article is courtesy of Atlantic News.]
[Beach News Photos by Staff / Jessica Jenkins]
HAMPTON BEACH — This time of year, it's great to do as much as you possibly can while out in the fresh sea air. The Purple Urchin, located one flight up next to the Casino Ballroom on Ocean Boulevard, provides a comfortable place to dine with a soft breeze and a beautiful view of the surf to enrich the experience.
Owner Maura Fleming and her husband Jake, who manages, opened the Purple Urchin in 1994 and then the Patio Pub in 1999. Many families and groups of friends enjoy gathering in both settings either after the beach or before a concert. Their casual atmosphere, friendly staff and reasonable prices aim to please. They offer a lighter fare menu on the Patio, both a full and lighter menu inside, as well as a children's menu wherever you dine. Two seafood specials and one special pasta dish are created nightly and there are full bars both inside and out.
Executive Chef, Karl Patton, has been with the Urchin for the past five years and consistently serves up crowd favorites like Fresh Steamers, Grilled Swordfish Salad, delicious Lobster Rolls, Pan-seared Atlantic Haddock with Lobster Cream Sauce and their famous Star Island Pork Chop, just to name a few.
Boiled lobsters are always available and you will find more diversity on their menu than the usual fried seafood found anywhere else on the beach. Tourists love the Purple Urchin and Patio Pub, and return year after year. If you are a local and haven't been in yet, you may find a new favorite spot, right under your nose!
The Purple Urchin features entertainment on the weekends on the Patio from 2-6 p.m., and because they are directly across from the Sea Shell Stage, the nightly free concerts provide beautiful background music after 7 p.m. Their lighter fare menu is available until the bar closes between 12:30-12:45 p.m., so you can pop on in after a concert for a bite and a cocktail from their new specialty martini list.
Recently, Maura installed both heat and air conditioning to make the conditions more comfortable for her customers. The dining room already has screened-in awnings that can be closed during precipitation, which makes it fun to dine rain or shine. They are open into the fall and will be available for private parties until then.
The Purple Urchin is located at 169 Ocean Boulevard and can be reached at (603) 929-0800. They are open seven days a week from noon until 10 p.m., and their menu can be viewed online at: www.purpleurchin.net. They are also linked to the Casino Ballroom Web site at www.casinoballroom.com if you would like to schedule dinner and a show.