You may have never heard of 401 Tavern, but you may remember the long-standing Hampton eatery called Widow Fletcher’s. About a year ago, new owners took over this space on Route 1 in downtown Hampton and gave it a bit of a lift, in my opinion. New menu, new specials and even free Wi-Fi if you’re powerlunching.

The Vibe
The new owners of the 401 Tavern kept the inside décor pretty much the same with its woody booths and cozy pub feel, but the traditional Irish menu of Widow Fletcher’s has been completely revamped to include American cuisine with a modern flair. The tavern boasts three different areas and atmospheres: an old style tavern/pub, a modern sports bar/lounge, and a wine loft which all offer comfortable, soft glow lighting (which I’m big on…I can’t stand restaurants like are lit like supermarkets). Inside, there are a smattering of televisions around if someone needs a quick check of the game, and immediately upon sitting down, my two little ones were offered a coloring book and a cupful of crayons. Nice.

On The Menu
The 401 Tavern doesn’t have a deep fryer which means that all of the “fried” versions are actually breaded and baked (healthier, too!). However, this means the Children’s Menu options are somewhat limited and include only grilled cheese, chicken fingers and pasta with butter/sauce. The Tavern’s “adult” menu offers some unique appetizers ($5-$10), flat bread pizzas ($9), salads and sandwiches ($4-$15) and dinner entrees ($15-$24). During the week, Happy Hour runs 4:00pm-7:00pm which includes drink specials and a tapas menu of really tasty and interesting bites.

For dinner, we ordered two kids meals (chicken fingers and pasta with butter), a Mediterranean Wrap with Irish Potatoes (you can also get baked or mashed, but again, no fries) and an adult portion of macaroni and cheese with fish sticks—which sounds like a kids meal but curiously not offered as one. I thought the Mediterranean Wrap was a bit salty, but maybe that’s just how Mediterranean food is with all that feta, olives and sundried tomatoes. The Irish Potatoes were good, and everyone else loved their meal (the homemade mac-n-cheese and fish sticks were awesome). The chicken fingers did come with potato chips, carrots and celery but I was a little bummed to see the pasta came without an accompaniment (although that’s pretty standard everywhere for pasta dishes).

What’s The Damage?
The total bill for four people was about $40, which I felt was pretty reasonable. The Children’s Meals are a flat $7 each, and include the main dish, a beverage of any kind (we ordered lemonade) and a miniature hot fudge sundae. The adult portion sizes are more than sufficient and match their pricing well.  And I do have to say, we had the BEST waitress, Jess. She was amazingly helpful with all the kid-requests that come along with family dining (turns out she also is a teacher at a pre-school!) and was so sweet and charming. Excellent service is the difference between a good meal and a great one, thank you Jess.

(PS: If you’re looking for a parent’s night out, be sure to check their website for nightly and event specials. For example, every Tuesday is International Wine Night with Tapas specials; Saturdays and Sundays offer Narragansett beer and steamer specials. Fun!)

The Bottom Line (based on a five-star rating):
Distraction Offering: ??? (they provide crayons and coloring books, but there are also a few televisions around)
Atmosphere: ???½ (the soft lighting and heavy wood floors give the Tavern a very cozy and warm feel)
Food: ????  (baked, not fried)
Affordability: ???½  (I liked the kids meal pricing and the option to order less expensive dinner items like salads and sandwiches)
Service: ?????  (amazingly helpful and accommodating)

401 Tavern
401 Lafayette Road (Route 1), Hampton NH 03842 (603) 926-8800
Open 7 days a week, 11:00am-1:00am. Reservations are accepted but not required.

(My apologies for the poor quality of these photos. Didn’t have my camera on me and had to use the IPhone.)



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