GILFORD — Among the 20 restaurants taking part in the 24th annual Taste of the Lakes Region at Church Landing in Meredith on Sunday, March 30, will be the Ellacoya Barn & Grill, which has developed a reputation for an eclectic, wide-ranging menu and has in recent years been adding space for its loyal customers.
''We've added an upstairs function room and a downstairs addition made with beams and wood from a barn from the 1700s, as well as a new entrance,'' says Ken Choice, who has managed the Route 11 restaurant for the last nine years.
Choice, who was born in New Mexico and started cooking when he moved to Texas at the age of 14, has also worked in Virginia, Maryland and New Jersey before he moved to New Hampshire and worked for the Common Man in Meredith before becoming manager of Ellacoya.
''It's less corporate and more creativity is involved. We want to make our menu unique, just like the building, and we always have lots of fun,'' says Choice.
''We have a lot of steaks and seafood and our all-American burgers and pizza and more than 90 percent of our food is made from scratch. We create our own dishes and sauces and have weeknight specials to keep our customers coming back. The idea is that you can eat here seven nights a week and never have the same dish,'' says Choice.
Monday features $5 burgers, Tuesday at a $10 pizza and wine specials, Wednesday is half off Mexican items and Thursday features a $14.95 prime rib dinner.
He said that aside from the burgers the most popular item on Ellacoya's menu are its fish tacos.
''I didn't realize they were that popular until the kitchen staff told me and I checked out the total and I was amazed,'' says Choice, who adds that the menu is full of other items such filets, strip steaks and sirloins, as well as chicken, pork and shrimp scampi.
The Laconia Altrusa Club's Taste of the Lakes Region has raised nearly $300,000 for the club's charitable activities since it started 24 years ago.
This year it will be held from 4-7 p.m. Tickets cost $25 per person and can be purchased at Hart's Turkey Farm in Meredith or in Laconia at Hector's Fine Food &Spirits or at the Coldwell-Banker Residential Brokerage. Because there is a cash bar at the event, no one younger than 21 will be admitted.