Skip the drive-thru tonight

Great take-out dinner options for busy families

Back-to-school means back to busy weeknights. Getting dinner on the table can be an exhausting endeavor. But thankfully, there are plenty of delicious spots across the state that can make eating together as a family a cinch. Here are some fantastic take-out options for those extra hectic evenings.

Lexie’s Restaurants

10 Jenkins Court, Durham
82 Lincoln St., Exeter
212 Islington St., Portsmouth

Why it’s great: “I have three kids and a husband who also works full-time, so I can say with confidence that Lexie’s is perfect for families that want something quick, affordable and will please everyone,” said Heather Beaulieu, operations manager at Lexie’s. Burgers, fries, hot dogs and fish tacos are just a few of the mouth-watering items any palate will be happy with at Lexie’s. The core menu is the same at all locations, but each spot also has their own specialty burgers; any of which can be made with U.S. prime chuck blend beef, chicken or their almost vegan Black Bean Patty.

Dish worth trying: “My favorite of the on-menu burgers is probably the Fun Guy, which has blue cheese, roasted mushrooms, crispy onion rings, and our horseradish sauce,” Beaulieu said.

The Gyro Spot

421 Central Ave., Dover
1073 Elm St., Manchester

Why it’s great: The Gyro Spot offers a wide variety of grab-and-go eats. From gyros (on white or wheat pita) to rice bowls to loaded hand-cut fries, anyone in your brood can choose to be healthy or indulgent. The Gyro Spot even offers a variety of spreads with pita for a fun appetizer when “hanger” strikes — like the Melitzanosalata, made with roasted eggplant, feta, garlic, peppers, scallions and olive oil.

Dish worth trying: The Traditional Pork Gyro, which is filled with rotisserie pork, tzatziki sauce, onions, tomatoes, parsley, and hand-cut fries — all wrapped in a grilled pita.

Goody Coles Smokehouse

374 Route 125, Brentwood
679 – 8898

Why it’s great: The husband-and-wife team behind Goody Coles know a thing or two about barbecue. After all, the wife hails from Texas and the husband lived in the South for more than 10 years. Since 2003, they’ve been sharing their low-and-slow-cooked meats with New Hampshire diners, served alongside housemade sides, many from family recipes. Your entire crew can feast on Goody Coles’ World-Famous Ribs, BBQ sandwiches or plates, salads and even brisket chili, to name a few.

Dish worth trying: The Family BBQ Packs are perfect for busy weeknight dinners. Goody Coles offers four, family-style meals, including the Rib Family Pack, made with one pound pulled pork, chopped brisket or turkey; one slab of ribs; a pint of beans; a pint of your choice of side (hello, garlic mashed potatoes); and four buns or cornbread.

California Burritos

101 Factory St., Nashua
35 Lowell Road, Unit C, Hudson

Why it’s great: California Burritos serves up more than just burritos — think quesadillas, bowls, salads and tacos, too. No matter what dish you choose it’s customized to your liking. You pick the salsa, filling, protein and entrée style (i.e., burrito, taco, etc.). And for kids 10 and under (especially those who are pickier eaters), there’s even a simple kids’ menu featuring a taco or quesadilla stuffed with their choice of chicken, steak or vegetables.

Dish worth trying: Since each dish is customized to your craving, there’s a variety of ways to have a burrito, quesadilla or taco (to name a few) here.

Live Juice

5 South Main St., Concord

Why it’s great: If you’re looking for a healthy and quick meal for the family, Live Juice is the place to visit – just make sure you get there early because they close at 6 p.m. Nutritious wraps, salads and soups are on the menu, full of ingredients from the handful of local farms Live Juice works with. Their menu also boasts homemade juices and smoothies if you need a little extra kick of nutrients at the end of a long day.

Dish worth trying: The Jazzin’ Turkey Club wrap made with roasted turkey, tomatoes, carrots, cheddar cheese, bacon and sundried tomato dressing.

Tilton House of Pizza

298 Main Street, Tilton

Why it’s great: Almost every town boasts their own house of pizza, but in Tilton, their pizza joint’s pies are a little extra special. Each pie is loaded with plenty of cheese and generous toppings that are all miraculously upheld with a thick, nicely chewy crust. Like most neighborhood pizza places, the value here is great for families, too — and the sense of community, thanks to the plethora of kids’ sports team photos adorning the walls, only adds to this hometown pizza place’s appeal.

Dish worth trying: Tilton House of Pizza offers grinders, entrees, and seafood dishes in addition to pizza but it’s hard to beat the simple onion and pepper pie.

Sandwich Master

19 Sonja Drive, Rindge

Why it’s great: From sandwiches and burgers to quesadillas and salads, Sandwich Master has something for everyone. “We cover a large range of choices from those who want to be good…[to] those who say I deserve it and I want it, like our popular Dumpster sandwich,” said Earl Marshall, owner. The Dumpster — found on the Sandwiches Gone Mad menu — is a grilled sub roll loaded with chicken fingers, deep-fried mozzarella cheese sticks, and fried battered onion rings topped with mozzarella cheese and marinara sauce. For the wee ones, there’s a Little Appetites menu, featuring smaller portioned meals.

Dish worth trying: In addition to The Dumpster sandwich, Marshall also recommends their Junkyard Burger and BBQ Western Quesadilla. Not in the mood for something so heavy? Go for the Macaroni Cheese Balls. “The mac and cheese balls are like having a homemade meal in a fun shape that you can dip in a marinara sauce,” Marshall said.

Michelle Lahey is a food writer who has been writing about (and eating) food in New Hampshire for over 10 years.

Categories: Food news