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CMR Millyard, Manchester, NH - Dining out in New England

The Common Man Roadside Millyard Brings A One-of-a-Kind Dining Experience to Manchester, N.H.


Article, photos (unless otherwise noted) by Eric Hurwitz. Created for VisitingNewEngland.com on 10/5/2022. @newenglandinfo

Common Man Millyard, Manchester, NH
The Common Man Roadside Millyard restaurant and café.

The Common Man Roadside Millyard in Manchester, N.H. is not your run-of-the-mill restaurant and café.

Located at the Tru by Hilton Hotel in Manchester's wonderfully-restored Millyard District, The Common Man Roadside Millyard (also known as CMR Millyard) truly impresses upon first sight -- and that's even before experiencing the yummy foods and drinks. For starters, the interior's reclaimed rustic wood and brick flourishes evoke a classic rural, down home New Hampshire look.

Dining room at Common Man Millyard in Manchester, N.H.
Cozy New Hampshire-style dining in the main restaurant dining room.

The spaciousness of the full-service breakfast, lunch and dinner restaurant lends a relaxing, homespun oasis from the faster-paced urban scenes in downtown Manchester, while the "Express & To Go!" café possesses a smaller, cozy almost-coffeehouse type of feel. Plenty of light brightens the restaurant and café with big pictures windows, thus reflecting the brighter days ahead for Manchester's remarkable transformation from the dying mill city not too long ago to a thriving New England city destination.

View of the mill at The Common Man Roadside Millyard in Manchester, NH.
View of the mill complexes in Manchester.


This is clearly not your grandfather's staid, stuck-in-time hotel restaurant. On the contrary, The Common Man Roadside Millyard stands on its own as a place many people in the area dine at, at least twice a week.

The atmosphere -- with its homages to Manchester's history and New Hampshire's down-to-earth personality -- combine with The Common Man's uncanny knack of serving "real food, real fast" in a friendly, welcoming manner to make for a one-of-a-kind, comfortable, satisfying restaurant experience.

Outdoor dining at The Common Man Roadside Millyard in Manchester, N.H.
Outdoor dining at The Common Man Millyard.

Firepit at The Common Man Roadside Millyard in Manchester, NH.

Firepit at The CMR Millyard.

The industrial pipes from the ceiling revive a vibe from Manchester's industrious, world-leading textile industry past while the modern-day appetizers, sandwiches, pizzas, homemade baked goods and hand-crafted coffees and beverages bring the customer a delicious taste of the 21st century...

Fish sandwich from The Common Man Millyard in Manchester, NH>
Crispy Cod Sandwich with cole slaw and fries.

What's more, the woodblock-style dining tables, inviting and well-stocked bar, ambient hanging lights, fire pit area and outdoor patio further provide the perfect setting to enjoy the moments.

Bar at The Common Man Millyard in Manchester, N.H.
Bar area at The Common Man Millyard.

Creating The Common Man Roadside Millyard did not come easy, however, with supply chain issues muddying the progress, as well as the challenge of how to bring a retro look to a new building. Happily, Common Man project reps and contractors worked out the challenges and the CMR Millyard opened in mid-July 2022, looking like a well-established Manchester restaurant from day one. Prior to that, however, Common Man staff had the proverbial "100 pounds of clay" to create from scratch their vision of what the eatery should look like.

What The Common Man Roadside Millyard in Manchester, N.H. looked like before completion.
A "before" scene of The Common Man Roadside Millyard. Photo credit: The Common Man Roadside Millyard.

"When building The Common Man Roadside Millyard, we thought, 'How do we make it not look brand new?'," said Brad Pernaw, a managing partner of The CMR Millyard. "Part of what gave the look we wanted was getting old bricks salvaged from the Concord Depot (in Concord, N.H.) and then some local reclaimed barn wood from two barns in Epping. We are very happy with the way it turned out."

Sofa chairs at Common Man Roadside Millyard Cafe in Manchester, N.H.
Sofa chairs by the window at The Common Man Roadside Millyard Café.

What a Great Staff!

What further elevates The Common Man Roadside to overall excellence comes down to staffing. In this day of age where the restaurant industry finds it hard to hire the right people -- let alone any people at all -- The Common Man management has possessed a strong ability to find loyal, genuine staff.

Common Man Roadside Millyard To-Go Café in Manchester, N.H.
Destiny Chase takes an order at the CMR Millyard Café.

Some of the staff at The Common Man Roadside Millyard comes from within the extensive Common Man family of restaurants in New Hampshire which includes several places to eat across the state including five Common Man Roadside locations.

Bartender Tim McKinnon serves up a pumpkin ale and margarita at the Common Man Roadside Millyard in Manchester, N.H..

Bartender Tim McKinnon serves up a pumpkin ale and margarita at the Common Man Roadside Millyard. Photo credit: Bill Boynton, The Common Man Roadside.

"A lot of the team have been here in the Common Man family for years, "said Pernaw. "They really know what they are doing. Others are newer to the scene and are highly effective and personable."

Case-in-point where The Common Man Roadside Millyard discovered "highly effective and personable":  Nick Jacques, also known as the "Lord of Lattes" -- has long been a Roadside favorite for customers for his outgoing personality, and efficient and professional nature.

Nick Jacques prepares a drink at The Common Man Roadside Millyard in Manchester, N.H.
Nick Jacques.

Carrie Atkinson, who describes herself as a combination "hostess, server and sandwich promoter," added, "It's like a family here. It's so nice to work for such a nice group."

CMR Millyard manager Eric Parent and his team of experienced chefs take great pride in quickly preparing outstanding meal at The Common Man Roadside Millyard in Manchester, N.H.
CMR Millyard manager Eric Parent and his team of experienced cooks take great pride in quickly preparing outstanding meals.
Photo credit: Bill Boynton, The Common Man Roadside.

An All Star Lineup of Food and Drink Offerings

From The CMR Millyard's beautiful, spotless open-concept kitchen comes delicious versions of comfort food favorites. Let's take a mini-tour of this yumminess...

One of the most popular appetizers: the Short Rib Poutine with its delicious mix of tender short rib, fries, fresh cheese curds, scallions and gravy...

Short rib poutine from The Common Man Roadside Millyard in Manchester, N.H.
Short rib poutine appetizer.

The Caesar Salad features a generous amount of romaine lettuce and grilled chicken to go along with croutons, parmesan cheese and a tangy dressing...

Chicken Caesar Salad from The Common Man Millyard Roadside in Manchester, N.H.
Caesar salad.
Photo credit: Bill Boynton, The Common Man Roadside.

Homemade soups like this flavorful broccoli and cheese warm the soul and satiate the taste buds...

Broccoli cheddar soup from The Common Man Millyard in Manchester, NH.
Broccoli and cheese soup.
Photo credit: Bill Boynton, The Common Man Roadside.

The most popular new menu item is the Nashville Hot Chicken Sandwich -- a fried fillet with a homemade spice mix, coleslaw and pickle...

Nashville Hotel Chicken Sandwich from The common Man Roadside Millyard in Manchester, NH.
Nashville Hot Chicken Sandwich.
Photo credit: Bill Boynton, The Common Man Roadside.

The Common Man Roadside Millyard hand-tosses its own pizzas and and utilizes a start-of-the-art modern oven that can remarkably cook the pies in two minutes. The result: a thin crust pizza that is extremely popular amongst visitors...

Pepperoni Pizza from The Common Man Roadside Millyard in Manchester, NH
Pepperoni pizza. Photo credit: Bill Boynton, The Common Man Roadside.

This "Bacon Bleu Burger" includes bleu cheese topped with onion rings and is served with house made chips...
.
Bacon bleu burger from The Common Man Roadside Millyard in Manchester, N.H.
Bacon Bleu Burger. Photo credit: Bill Boynton, The Common Man Roadside.
 

The Reuben sandwich include house-made corned beef, Swiss cheese, sauerkraut and Thousand Island dressing on rye...

Reuben sandwich from The Common Man Roadside Millyard in Manchester, N.H.
Reuben sandwich. Photo credit: Bill Boynton, The Common Man Roadside.

The CMR Millyard also offers many specialty beers and ales from local brewers...


Local ales are a specialty at The Common Man Roadside Millyard in Manchester, N.H.
An ale by the bar.
Photo credit: Bill Boynton, The Common Man Roadside.

Beer list from The Common Man Roadside Millyard in Manchester, N.H.
Current beers and ales at The Common Man Roadside.

Among the many wine selections at The CMR Millyard is the Common Man Chardonnay...

Common Man Chardonnay from The Common Man Roadside Millyard is Manchester, N.H.
Common Man wine selection.
Photo credit: Bill Boynton, The Common Man Roadside.

From The Common Man Roadside Millyard Café

This cinnamon roll bursts with flavor...

Cinnamon bun from The Common Man roadside Millyard café in Manchester, N.H.
Cinnamon apple roll.

The phrase "to die for" certainly applies to this Cinnamon Roll Coffee with cinnamon bun syrup and nitro cold brew topped with whipped cream, cinnamon roll glaze and cinnamon sugar...

 
Specialty coffee drink from The Common Man Millyard Cafe in Manchster, N.H.
Cinnamon Roll Iced Coffee.

Or, how about as a coffee alternative this wonderfully refreshing yet soothing lavender black ice tea?

Lavender black tea drink from The Common Man Roadside Millyard in Manchester, NH.
Lavender black tea.

Additionally, the Café serves an impressive variety of sweet and savory baked goods. Here is a mouthwatering sample...

Sample plates from The Common Man Roadside in Manchester NH.
Sweet and savory baked goods from The Common Man Roadside Millyard Café.

New Hampshire resident Brian Townsend is a big believer in the Common Man Roadside's food.

  "My wife and I like to try new places," said Brian. "We went to the Millyard for the first time and were thrilled with the overall experience. The wait staff was attentive and explained the menu perfectly. The atmosphere is rustic but elegant, and the food was impressive. The mac and cheese was the best anywhere around and although we didn't get it, the Buffalo chicken dip platter was a sight to be seen. Highly recommended!"

The CMR Millyard also offers a robust catering program, serving breakfast and lunch options for groups of four or more. Long-time Common Man customer Krista Leidmer is a big fan of the Millyard's catering services. I’ve always enjoyed any meal I’ve had from the Common Man restaurants, so I was thrilled to see them open a location so close to my workplace," said Krista. "I’ve stopped in a few times myself, but I have to say, I was most impressed with a recent catered event. The Common Man team delivered on-site and on-time, set everything up for us, and even thought to bring extra tableware. The food was delicious, there were plenty of options and our guests left happy!"

The CMR Millyard also offers a robust catering program, serving breakfast and lunch options for groups of four or more.

Long-time Common Man customer Krista Leidmer is a big fan of the Millyard's catering services.

I’ve always enjoyed any meal I’ve had from the Common Man restaurants, so I was thrilled to see them open a location so close to my workplace," Said Krista. "I’ve stopped in a few times myself, but I have to say, I was most impressed with a recent catered event. The Common Man team delivered on-site and on-time, set everything up for us, and even thought to bring extra tableware. The food was delicious, there were plenty of options and our guests left happy!"

The Behind-the-Scenes Masterminds of The Common Man Roadside

Common Man Roadside partners, New Hampshire.
The Common Man Roadside at the Millyard in Manchester, NH is the latest venture of ownership partners Rusty McLear, Alex Ray, and Brad Pernaw.
Photo credit: Bill Boynton, The Common Man Roadside.

Alex Ray, owner and founder of The Common Man, and partners Pernaw and Rusty McLear (who once owned the famous Inns at Mills Falls in Meredith, N.H.) transformed aging state rest stops in Hooksett that were losing money several years ago into the prosperous businesses they are today. Almost instantly, the Hooksett locations became go-to destinations. Example: In 2018, The Common Man Roadside served four million guests, employed 150 New Hampshire residents, served 454,250 cups of Common Man Joe Coffee, scooped and blended 58,129 Common Man-made ice cream and frappes and worked with 81 unique New Hampshire-based companies. Approximately 12 percent of the 30,000 cars driving this section of Interstate 93 daily pull into The Common Man Roadside.

Based on that success, The Common Man Roadside then expanded to Plymouth, N.H., South Willow St. in Manchester and then the Millyard location. More Common Man Roadsides are slated to open soon in New Hampshire (stay tuned for updates).

 Common Man Roadside locations in New Hampshire
Common Man Roadside locations.

The Common Man Roadside Millyard possesses an ideal location with approximately 10,000 people coming to work at the mills, daily. Tru by Hilton guests conveniently frequent the restaurant and café. The vibrant downtown district with Southern New Hampshire University (including the SNHU Arena with its indoor events, University of New Hampshire Manchester Campus, Northeast Delta Dental Stadium (home of the New Hampshire Fisher Cats minor league baseball team) are within close proximity. What's more, The Common Man Millyard's Restaurant and Café location -- just a few minutes off Route 93 -- makes it an ideal breakfast, lunch and dinner stop for those traveling New Hampshire.

"We have a built-in market," said Pernaw. "There's lot of activity going on at the Millyard. People booking a room in the hotel come here to eat. The hotel does well with bringing in business people, concert goers at the arena and families -- especially those involved in youth sport groups. We are continuously building relationships with local businesses."

Additionally, The Common Man Roadside reaches out with its "Do Good," program that honors local businesses and organizations in the community with a free lunch for the "good they do in the community."

"There are so many of these groups in the Manchester area that do so much for the community and this is our way of recognizing them," said Pernaw.

Manchester sign at The CMR Millyard in Manchester, NH.
Manchester pride.
Photo credit: Bill Boynton, The Common Man Roadside.

Conclusion

Bar at The CMR Millyard in Manchester, NH>
At the bar.

Predictability can be either the blessing or bane of a restaurant's existence. Fortunately, The CMR Millyard utilizes an unwavering commitment to its standardization of food and service -- a huge advantage for the customer. That unwavering consistency yields meals that always taste great and service that finds the right balance of professionalism, efficiency and friendliness.

Baked goods from The Common Man Roadside Millyard Café in Manchester, N.H.
Baked goods from The Common Man Roadside Millyard Café.


At the same time, this business approach never feels fake and generic like many of the chains. From management to staff and vice versa, there seems to be an appreciation for each other and a presence of keeping things light while, at the same time, taking responsibilities seriously. It's a delicate balance that The CMR Millyard attains.

Common Man Roadside Millyard Café  in Manchester, N.H.
Café at The CMR Millyard.

A lighter moment: When asked if The Common Man Roadside Millyard provides any entertainment, Pernaw smiled and said, "Yeah, just Nick!"

Ultimately, it's nice to be in such a welcoming dining out spot that quickly serves delicious comfort foods served while being able to leisurely enjoy a genuine New Hampshire restaurant experience.

"There's something here for everyone," said Pernaw. "People have come to like The Common Man Millyard on a regular basis in a very short amount of time since we opened."

The Common Man Roadside Millyard
451 Commercial Street

Manchester, N.H., 03101

Café:
Open 6:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.

Restaurant:
Open 11:00 a.m. to 11:00 p.m.
Kitchen closes at 10:00 p.m.

Phone: 603-210-5823

Web Site: https://thecmanroadside.com/the-common-man-roadside-manchester-millyard
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/thecmanroadsidenhmillyard/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/thecmanroadside
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/thecmanroadsidenh


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