lunch in franconia

Wendle’s Delicatessen, Café and Then Some!

Recently, while visiting family up in New Hampshire, Len and I decided to visit The Frost Place in Franconia. We arrived as scheduled after a pleasant two-hour drive from Bedford, and agreed that Mr. Frost probably wouldn’t mind if we had lunch first.

‘Twas not the season for apple picking, so we were quite pleased when Wendle’s Deli magically appeared right on Main Street. The rustic exterior looked promising, and I was hungry for some interesting local grub.

I don’t know about you, but I consider it a good sign when twelve volumes of the Oxford English Dictionary are used as an end table.

Even if the food had turned out to be just so-so, the place would have been worth seeing, if only to read all the writing on the walls and door frames. I just happen to enjoy a good chalkboard (we have three in the kitchen, one in the dining room).

I admit a chalkboard in a deli seems logical for posting menus, nothing too out of the ordinary. But Wendle’s fairly revels in the written word à la craie. The Sandwich Board dizzies with its offerings of breads, cheeses, meats, and specials, and everywhere you turn, there is an inspiring, funny, or thought provoking chalky quote vying for your attention. For a minute I considered merely “reading” my lunch instead of eating it. I’m a captive audience for this sort of thing; they must have known I was coming. ☺

Over one doorway, there was this:

Behind the baked goods, this:

“The decision to kiss for the first time is the most crucial in any love story. It changes the relationship of two people much more strongly than even the final surrender; because this kiss already has in it that surrender.” ♥

Yeah, well, if that doesn’t put you in the mood for peach muffins, vegan fudgy brownies, or blackberry crumb cake, nothing will — after you’ve had your Honey Maple Ham with Provolone, Lettuce, Tomato, Onion, Mayo, and Mustard on Organic Wheat, of course. To surrender, and then again, yet again.

Yes, I had me a fine time just reading the menu and appreciating the rest of the how-should-I-describe-it — casual, funky, artsy, kitschy-good, homey, retro hippie decor. Cool paintings in the side room. Wicker chairs and rusty maple syrup cans in the entryway. Tempting: an inviting chessboard and a flirty bowl of lemons (appropos for puckering) in the main area.

Could I picture Bode Miller hanging out on the couch sipping hot chocolate after a good run? Absolutely. If I lived in the area, could I see myself eating blueberry pancakes on the porch twice a week while typing a few hundred sassy words? Yes, yes.

Did we like our lunch? Oh, YES. Nothing like fresh, soft homemade bread. Thickly sliced. Overwhelmed by the choices, we opted for roast turkey on white and a few trimmings. Next time, though, I’ll have to try The Robert Frost: Chicken, Bacon, Apple, Alfalfa Sprouts, a drizzle of NH Maple Syrup and Cheddar on Wheat. Or maybe, The What’s Meat Got To Do With It: Wheat Wrap Burrito with Refrieds, Salsa, Corn, Spinach, Feta, Scallion and Herbed Mayo. Or maybe some homemade soup, a salad, or a Build Your Own Sandwich. See what I mean about the choices?

Upon our return to Bedford, we raved about Wendle’s to our nephew Brad. We found out the owner’s name is Wendy and that she had catered their rehearsal dinner two years ago. Well, no wonder the food was so good! Our lunch was almost good enough to tempt me to visit NH in the winter. Almost. It did set the stage for a perfect visit to Robert Frost’s house, though.

But that’s another story . . .

♥ Wendle’s serves breakfast, brunch, and lunch daily from 7 a.m. – 4 p.m. They also do Thursday Night Dinners with live entertainment and a three-course buffet. Find them at 297 Main Street, Franconia, NH, (603) 823-5141.


Copyright © 2011 Jama Rattigan of Jama’s Alphabet Soup. All rights reserved.

18 thoughts on “lunch in franconia

  1. Wow, what a gorgeous place. I love chalkboard paint, and I’d love to have witty sayings all over my house! Of course, you’d have to be sure not to smear them…


    1. Yay for witting sayings all over the house! Smearing could definitely be a problem, unless you regularly updated 🙂 . . .


  2. No whining, anybody. I haven’t left Virginia in a year! I LOVE that place. I’d be too busy reading to eat, almost. I have two chalkboards myself, both in my office. Been tempted to paint a wall with chalkboard paint . . . just might. Can’t wait to hear about The Frost Place!


    1. Why am I not surprised that you’d like an entire chalkboard wall? Part of the attraction for me is old school day memories — today’s dry erase boards and markers just don’t cut it. Also, with a chalkboard, you’d be allowed to write all over the walls for once. And I remember feeling special when my teacher asked me to clap the erasers :).


    1. Hi Tabatha! Yes, it would definitely be a great place to hang out on a regular basis. I’d try a different sandwich and baked treat for dessert every day :)!


  3. I have never been to New Hampshire, but if I ever get the chance to go to this restaurant, I’d love to try the Frost sandwich. Yum…


    1. I recommend NH in the summer or fall :). Last year we were there in January, and they had the coldest temps on record. We had to stand outside in the bitter cold and wind for a graveside ceremony. Brrrrrrrrrrr!

      I hope to try the Frost sandwich someday, too — poetic provisions could only prove beneficial for body, mind, and spirit.


  4. I am so sad we missed this place on our visit to the Frost Place. Chalkboards. Peach muffins. Frost sandwiches. When I think of the stale-bagely thing I ate on our way back I could cry.

    But Candice apparently is allowing no whining, though I’m not sure she gets to complain about staying inVirginia when that included porch-sitting at Hollins.


    1. We totally lucked out running into Wendle’s. It seems to be a favorite with locals as well as tourists. Now that you know it’s there you can save it for your next trip up north. 🙂


  5. Jama – great post about Wendle’s. Excellent photos. A favorite spot. Wendy is fabulous, and she’s a great friend and supporter of The Frost Place. I’m the office manager of The Frost Place. We’ll look forward to hearing about your visit. We’re on Facebook:


    1. So nice to hear from you, Sue! Wendle’s is such a gem — we’re so happy we found it, especially since we weren’t familiar with any other eateries in Franconia. Just wish we lived closer so we could attend a Thursday Night Dinner. 🙂


  6. Jama, Be sure to try that Robert Frost sandwich next time you are in Wendle’s ~ it is fabulous! The perfect combo of ingredients to honor Franconia’s own poet and (not too successful) farmer…


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