For veteran chef Mark Segal, gravy is basically his stock in trade.
“It is that common thread. No matter where you grew up in America, you’re going to be eating some kind of gravy,” Segal said. “It’s that simple item that has that connection for all of us. It’s nostalgic, it’s humble and at the same time, it’s nothing fancy.”
Segal has been a staple on the Seacoast culinary scene since moving from California to Portsmouth in 2002. He is set to open a restaurant called Gravy Feb. 1 in an old rail station at 6 Main St. in downtown Somersworth. It’s a historic building that first opened in 1886 as the passenger depot for the Boston and Maine Railroad. In more recent times, it has been home to several restaurants.
Segal is known for his work as executive chef at restaurants such as Pesce Blue and the One Hundred Club in Portsmouth after working for award-winning chefs in California.
Gravy will represent his own roots, he said. Segal also hopes it will connect the community at large, bringing families together for a meal.
The concept is simple, and Segal hopes it’s fun for customers. Patrons will choose a gravy, protein/starch and sides. If you can’t decide which combination to try, the menu offers friendly suggestions such as Burlington Poutine — a combination of Grandpa’s beer and cheddar gravy on Belgian fries, cheese curds and apple smoked bacon.
Menu choices will include buttermilk biscuits, fried chicken, meatloaf, iceberg salads and a signature Gravyburger. Desserts will include ice box cake, bread pudding, cobblers and pies. Beverages offered will feature local draft beers, cider, wine, soft drinks, old-fashioned milkshakes and ice cream floats.
Segal said he chose Somersworth because “I liked the small-town feel with its independent entrepreneurial businesses. It seems there is a lot of opportunity here, and I see both meeting in a cool way.”
Segal is now a resident of Dover, and he acknowledges Somersworth is still very affordable compared to other local communities and another reason he decided to open Gravy in the Hilltop City.
Somersworth Economic Development Director Robin Comstock shares Segal’s enthusiasm about the new business.
“It’s going to be a place that offers something for everyone,” Comstock said. “I think over time Gravy will become a destination and mesh well with our other businesses in the city.”
The restaurant will be open six days a week for lunch and dinner, closed Mondays.