Noshing at Newick's on the Great Bay in New Hampshire

The sign in front of Newick's in Dover, New Hampshire.Long, long ago in what now seems like another lifetime, I lived in Portsmouth, New Hampshire where my Dad was stationed at Pease Air Force Base. This was way back in the dark ages of 1972 when I was on the verge of turning fourteen and becoming a freshman at the local high school so naturally I wasn't much into doing things with my parents but one thing that I remember always enjoying was going to Newick's for seafood.

Even though we haven't lived in Portsmouth for close to 40 years, Newick's is still the go-to place for seafood in my family with my oldest brother and his wife occasionally making the 140+ mile drive north simply to get lunch while the rest of us are sure to stop in anytime we find ourselves in that part of New Hampshire. Matter of fact, I was just in Portsmouth yesterday with my cousins Amy and Robin and naturally we had to have lunch at Newick's which is when the photos for this post were taken.

Of course, my history would not be complete without Newick's history so let me fill you in on that before I show you around the place which has been a family destination for years - and not just for my family but lots and lots and lots of others!

John Newick, patriarch of the family who worked at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard and became a lobsterman in the 1930s, began the family's foray into fresh seafood when he started selling the surplus of his catch from the waters of the Great Bay in a small roadside stand. As a way to help supplement the family's income during the Great Depression, John started to sell his lobsters on the side. As the government didn't ration the number of lobsters that people could buy, John sold more and more eventually opening a retail lobster shop and take-out eatery off Dover Point Road in 1941 where he sold lobster rolls for 35 cents.

In 1954, when the Spaulding Turnpike was being built, John was forced to move from his location so that the highway could go through but that didn't stop him from selling lobsters as he opened a restaurant on Ceres Street in downtown Portsmouth, which is now Ferry Landing. That restaurant was open until 1963.

When John's son Jack got out of the U.S. Coast Guard in 1960, he purchased a small plot of land in Dover on Little Bay near where his father's first retail shop/restaurant opened in 1941. Like his father before him, Jack also worked at the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard and since Jack was under 21 at the time of his property purchase, his father had to sign the papers along with him.  Buying property a little bit at a time, Jack, following in his father's footsteps, started a retail lobster shop in a small shed. With business doing well, in 1963 Jack and his wife Diana - his first employee - built a 50-seat restaurant/stand in Dover followed in 1976 by a 340-seat restaurant in Portland, Maine and in 1978, another Newick's Restaurant in Hampton.

When the 50-seat dining room in Dover was outgrown by its clientele, Jack, with the help of friends and neighbors, built a 380-seat addition to the original 50-seat restaurant in 1982 making his Dover location the biggest of his Newick's Restaurants. Tragically, disaster struck on Memorial Day Weekend in 1983 when the restaurant caught fire and burned to the ground but within five weeks, Newick's had risen from the ashes as all of its employees pitched in to help rebuild in the same location. On July 7, 1983 the 14,500-square-foot restaurant - this time with seating for 650 guests - opened for business again and has been ever since.

Newick's Lobster House

With business continuing to grow, Jack opened a 400-seat restaurant in Merrimack in 1990 however it closed on May 20, 2007, approximately five years after the restaurant in Hampton closed. Following the closing of the Merrimack location, in 2007 the family opened another restaurant in Concord, New Hampshire so that today, with more than sixty years and three generations in the business, you can visit a Newick's Lobster House either there, in South Portland, Maine, or at their flagship location in Dover where Jack's sons Brad, Steve and Jim carry on the tradition of catching and cooking the best seafood available for their customers to enjoy.

Speaking of enjoying it, Newick's was even given a nice nod by those folks of all things New England, the venerable Yankee Magazine, which wrote in their May 2010 Best of New England issue under the category of "New Hampshire Dining by the Water":
Most people come to this joint on the Piscataqua River for lobsters and its commanding view down to Portsmouth Harbor. We're also partial to the creamy chowders and clam rolls.

Welcome to Newick's!

So there you have it - not quite in a clamshell - but when have I ever been known to give a short history of something?  Exactly!  So, how about a look around inside the only seafood restaurant that I've ever taken two ex-husbands to (before they were ex's) and where I always order the same thing because it's just too good not to?

Fresh seafood case at the front of Newick's

Just inside the main entrance where you can grab any number of New Hampshire tourist brochures just in case you didn't pick them up at the Welcoming Center or someplace else, is a gift shop and fresh seafood counter.  As the Great Bay located behind the restaurant is still a working waterfront, the catch doesn't get much fresher as local lobstermen and fishermen unload their boats on the dock all summer long.

The main dining area.

For those not looking to get something to take home and cook up yourself or a freshly prepared to-go order, continue on into the massive dining room which is surrounded by windows on three sides giving it a great waterfront view. 

Lots of folks enjoying lunch at Newick's

As you can see, the place does a pretty good business with lots of hungry folks flocking in for food but because there's so much seating, even if they're quite busy you generally don't have to wait long to get a table.

Corner of the dining room and door to the galley.

Speaking of tables, Newick's keeps it simple with their red-and-white flannel-backed tablecloths and utilitarian tables and chairs. If you're looking for swanky, this ain't it but that's quite alright because you can't eat swanky but you sure can eat good seafood!

Welcome to Newick's table card.

On the back of this card is a list of "Apps and Desserts" meaning appetizers and desserts but there's also another "app" you might want to take notice of - the invitation to "like" Newick's on Facebook

She must have seen something really good on the menu!
Newick's MenuI'm not quite sure what the gal in the photo above saw on the menu to cause her to make that face but like I said above, I always order the same thing as Newick's is the only place that I know of that has Swordfish Nuggets which are good-sized chunks of swordfish deep-fried in a 100% trans-fat-free oil blend that isn't in the least bit greasy. They're offered under the Newick's Boatyard Combos which means I order a starter for $1.99 (choices are Newick’s Homemade Chips, Baked Potato, French Fries, Mashed Potato, Rice Pilaf, or Baked Beans) and then mix and match at least two "Finish" items: Haddock Nuggets, Flounder Flakes, Chicken Tenders, Baby Shrimp, Clam Strips, Smelts, Bay Scallops, Oysters, Sea Scallops, Whole Clams, Maine Shrimp, Fantail Shrimp, Coconut Shrimp, Butterfly Shrimp, or Swordfish Nuggets. Prices vary depending upon your choices and there's no limit to the number that you can order. Their menu currently states that "Our Current record for largest combo is 9 items, set in 2009 by a family visiting from Colorado. Can you beat it?"

If fried seafood isn't your thing, not to worry as Newick's has a lot more to offer including delicious chowders, lobster and crab rolls, lobster pie, seafood shepherd’s pie, and numerous broiled or baked options not to mention "Land Lover" selections like burgers, sandwiches, salads, chicken, and steak for those in your party who may not care for delights from the sea.

Keeping it simple - Coke in a paper cup and plastic utensils.

Just like you shouldn't expect fancy seating, you won't find any fancy dinner- or glass- or silverware at Newick's either as your drinks arrive in a paper cup, all utensils are plastic, and your food gets served up on disposable plates.  It makes clean-up quick and easy and keeps the price down as they don't have to buy new dishes if any should break! 

Dinner rolls and butter start every meal.

Once you've figured out what you're going to dine on and placed your order, your friendly server will return with a plate of basic dinner rolls and butter - just a little something-something to tide you over until your real food arrives.  I've learned from experience that as much as I like their chowder, I don't order any as I want to save room for my entrée. I occasionally fool myself into thinking that if I don't have chowder then I'll have room for strawberry shortcake for dessert but that just never seems to happen!

Baked haddock with cole slaw and rice pilaf.

Cousin Robin ordered the broiled haddock with a side of rice pilaf pictured above. 

Bay scallops and baby shrimp with french fries.

Cousin Amy had her "usual" - baby shrimp and bay scallops with french fries. 

Baby shrimp and swordfish nuggets with cole slaw.

And of course I had my favorite - swordfish nuggets and baby shrimp with a side of mashed potatoes which is not pictured but I can assure you that they are real dirty mashed and not out-of-a-box mashed!

To say that the portions are generous is a bit of an understatement however, as one reviewer put it on Yelp: "This restaurant is about one thing; serving as many people as much seafood as nature will sustain. And most of the people who come here are geared towards eating as much seafood as nature will allow."  No argument there!

Dining room windows as seen from the back of Newick's

Following our very tasty lunch and once again having to pass on dessert as there was simply no room anywhere in my stomach for it, we took a walk around the back of the restaurant to take a look at the Great Bay where the tide was most obviously out! For comparison I've included a picture from October of 2010 when I was last at Newick's when the tide was obviously in! 

The shack behind Newick's on the Great Bay.

The rest of the following photos are just my attempt to be artsy with the lobster traps and buoys and boat that were there along with a picture of Robin and Amy for posterity's sake! 

Lobster traps and a dinghy.
Lobster traps and a buoy.
Buoys in a boat.
My cousins Amy and Robin posing besides Newick's dinghy.

Should you find yourself in the Dover, New Hampshire area and want to get some very tasty seafood at a very reasonable price then by all means, get thee to Newick's! Located at 431 Dover Point Road, it's a little tricky to get to if you aren't familiar with the way that New Hampshire roads can be a bit odd at times but as another Yelp reviewer put it: "A fixture. An icon. A New Hampshire seafood destination that's worth the unholy traffic pattern that's necessary to find our way in."

Google Map image of location of Newick's

For information on hours of operation and location of any of three Newick's Seafood Restaurants, be sure to check out their webpage and don't forget to like them on Facebook as you never know when they might offer a special that makes it even more worth the drive from just about anywhere - at least for this Connecticut kid!


  1. I haven't even had breakfast yet, and I am now hankering for some clam chowdah...from Newick's! Good eats. Bob and Lynne introduced us to them years ago, and I even blogged a few years ago about spending the night in our moho in their parking lot (with permission, of course, and after eating dinner there). Double bonus!

    Great post about a great place...

  2. In 1974 I was a airmen pease a FB and will always remember newicks sea food basket with red checker table cloth.


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