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On-the Mark Food and Beer: Delaney's Hole in the Wall

By Elizabeth R. Elstien

Family-owned Delaney's Hole in the Wall in North Conway has been around since 1994. Winning awards and setting standards for delicious food, Delaney's is a sports-themed bar owned by Lanette and Dick Delaney and Dick's sister, Maryellen. Each business partner brings their special skills and years of experience in restaurants and business into play.

Lanette, explains Dick Delaney, has run the kitchen "from day one. She has an amazing pallet and is a really good cook and baker." Chef Jeremy Delaney (interestingly, of no relation to the owners) has been developing recipes with Lanette since 1996. Serving lunch and dinner, diners can order from the regular menu or gluten-free, sushi or kid's menus. Dick Delaney is especially proud that of the fact that "99% of our menu is made from scratch" using predominantly locally-sourced ingredients. Even the desserts, prepared by Lanette, are made in-house.

left-to right: Lanette, Dick and Maryellen Delaney

Delaney says that the wings are his customers' favorite appetizer - which is no surprise, given that they've accumulated accolades both statewide and nationally through reviewers like Boston.com and The New Hampshire Magazine.

Featuring an inventive menu with New England flavors, meal favorites are the Reuben sandwich and baby back ribs, which Delaney describes as "very popular and really good." Delaney's personal favorites are the Texas Tornado sandwich - made with maple-jalapeno-brushed chicken breast, cheddar cheese, and Applewood-smoked bacon - and the Chicken Gorgonzola dish - chicken breast stuffed with spinach, prosciutto, and bleu cheese, then rolled in fresh bread crumbs and sauteed.

Cold, locally-brewed beers on tap and six TVs greet you in the tavern. With its brickwork, arches, lighting and fireplace, the building has a warm and rustic appeal that makes you want to stay awhile. Portions are large and service is attentive. You can even buy a bottle of their famous Buffalo Wing or Honey Hot Wing sauce to take home.

True to their theme, Delaney explains that he and his wife "jumped right into supporting local sports from youth programs to high school." Delaney is president of a group of independent restaurants in the area known as The Valley Originals, which supports "all sorts of nonprofits, sports teams and the arts," Delaney says, and gave over $400,000 back to the community in 2015.

As for the sports memorabilia that covers the walls in the bar, Delaney started collecting it six to seven years before they purchased the restaurant's building. Delaney explains, "I had most of it hanging on the walls of our house, just waiting for the right opportunity to come along. So I had a really good starting point for a sports-themed bar before we bought the place. Since then, we have been adding new things all the time."

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