Business Spotlight: The Wonders Of Harlow’s Pub
Cider Magazine Bellows Falls, Vt. December, 2012
PETERBOROUGH, NH. - If you have never visited Harlow’s, it will be well worth your while to take a drive to Peterborough and experience this unique establishment, especially if you are a music aficionado. You’ll also find great food, a friendly atmosphere, cool memorabilia everywhere and of course… live bands!
Photo courtesy of Harlow's Pub
A Keene State College graduate, Dave Szehi was involved in the local arts scene in the early 90’s, while also working at Harlow’s Café and Deli. He would eventually buy the business from owner Harlow Richardson. “I was trying to be an artist, going to school for theater, animation and visual arts and working the usual starving artist jobs,” Dave said. “I was also working at the local marionette theatre at the time as well.
“I worked for Harlow for a year or two in his little deli/coffee shop that was originally a small cheese shop. He used to sing opera while cooking and we both appeared in some local theater productions together. Peterborough had nothing open in the evening at the time so I volunteered to keep Harlow’s open at night as a coffee shop.”
In 1996, Dave bought the establishment, got a beer wine license, did some remodeling and started offering occasional live music. “We had one of nicest selection of imports and craft beers around when I believe, the only ‘local’ beers available at the time were Catamount and Sam Adams. We could only fit about 30 people in the place and there was typically a line out the door. I really wanted to do more live music but it was just too small a space. Then, in 2001, my landlord offered me the upstairs space occupied by her clothing store that was closing down.”
Dave had always envisioned having a stage for bands and was able to secure a loan and make it happen, although on most nights, there is still a line going out the door because of space restrictions. However, Harlow’s has always tried their best to keep customers happy, expanding the etablishement three times over the years.
“I think that we have been lucky to have the right combination of my vision and love for the place, good food and beer and a funky atmosphere that brings a variety of music genres to a very supportive community. The kitchen remains the size of a walk-in closet and our dedicated cooks have been trying to cook hundreds of meals every day on only 2 or 3 burners. However, this winter, we plan on repairing and expanding our little kitchen in order to be able to handle things better.” During the renovations, Harlow’s plans on keeping the bar and stage upstairs open to the public. “Hopefully, we will be able to continue making that all work.”
Recognized as a Phantom Deli “Great Ate” in 2000, Harlow’s menu is diverse, featuring something for everyone’s taste. The lunch menu offers hot and cold sandwiches, soups and various Mexican style choices. While a dinner entrees include shrimp scampi, chicken parmesan, multiple verities of stir fry, prime rib, bangers and mash, Grammy’s meatloaf and more.
There is also a Mexican style dinner menu including four styles of burritos and quesadillas and appetizers which include chips and salsa, nachos and a hot bean dip. A multiple choice of salads include garden, chef, Cajun chicken, Thai chicken and even salad with pan-seared Atlantic Salmon!
“It’s been a few exhausting years trying to get financing for the kitchen and it is exciting (and terrifying) that we are poised to do it,” Dave concluded. “I must also thank all of the folks who organized and volunteered to do the Uplift Music Festival this past summer, as they contributed some much needed funds to help with the kitchen.
"It was totally amazing and I am admittedly a bit overwhelmed by it all. I am looking forward to making things run a little smoother with a proper kitchen and perhaps, hiring a manager and/or an assistant to help handle things better.”
Dave also wishes to thank all of the wonderful musicians, workers, customers and everybody else that has supported Harlow's over the years. To learn more about or view the menu of this Peterborough institution, visit Harlow’s online at www.harlowspub.com.