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“What happened to the quality?”

Tamarack Restaurant
Ranked #36 of 83 Restaurants in Laconia
Cuisines: American, Seafood
More restaurant details
Restaurant details
Good for: Families with children
Dining options: Dinner, Lunch, Outdoor Seating, Seating, Takeout, Wheelchair Accessible
Nashua, New Hampshire
1 review
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“What happened to the quality?”
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 1, 2010

We visited The Tamarack Saturday July 31, 2010 and left extremely disappointed. The staff was rude and less than professional, wearing tank tops and ripped jeans. What happened to wearing nice polos with the restaurant name??
The small building behind the restaurant which used to be a indoor seating area for diners looking to get inside, cool down and away from the bugs, is now a pizza joint. We walked in to sit and eat with out the bugs, still a nice amenity. The floors were sticky and filthy, the bathrooms were disgusting, and the closing employees just left us alone in there. We could have gone behind the counter and raided their refrigerators. They didn't even acknowledge our existence or notify us they were closing at 9pm.
The food was okay, a good deal for 2 for $20 lobster rolls. My wife asked for a frappe, the girl looked nervous, glanced at the machine and said they were out of milk. What? Out of milk? How? We think they may have cleaned and broke down the machines and didn't want to reassemble the machine and dirty it again.
Overall we were severely disappointed, it seems the restaurant has quickly slid down hill with no regard to maintaining the grounds, food quality, staff appearance, or friendliness. I get the business choice for a pizza joint in the area, a nice tourist attraction, but please clean the place.
Unfortunately, and I am sorry to say, 2010's Tamarack is NOT the Tamarack of years past. We will not be visiting The Tamarack again.

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1 Thank FizzyFuzzy78
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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95 reviews from our community

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  • English first
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English first
Mont Vernon, New Hampshire
2 reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Gone downhill ... but there is hope”
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed July 13, 2010

I agree with one of the previous reviewers that The Tamarack used to be the best place in the Lakes Region and that is no longer the case! We would always plan at least one pilgrimage from the eastern shore of the lake to eat one of their great meals, particularly the lobster rolls. The food had been great and served by clean cut kids and served with a smile. Contrary to the previous reviewer, I always thought that they could have done a bit better in policing the outdoor eating and condiments areas, however I have seen much worse and I was able to overlook the relatively minor cleanliness issues because of the quality of the food.
My first disappointment with the current incarnation of The Tamarack occurred when I attempted to stop mid-week after spending the day on Squam Lake. We arrived around 8:45 PM and were surprised to find that The Tamarack had already closed for the evening. I don't believe that the owners are in touch with the lifestyles of their summer clients. During the summer, it is very common for people to remain on the water or at the beach until sunset and then seek a late meal or ice cream when returning from the local attractions. I called the next day and found that they are only open until 8 PM mid-week. By closing at 8 PM, I believe that they are missing out on a substantial amount of business and would seriously recommend a 10 AM - 10 PM 7-day/week schedule, but only after addressing the other issues in this review … Strike 1.
We were able to adjust our schedule to have a meal at the Tamarack last Friday evening. I wish that we had not. Our first hint of something amiss was the relatively small number of cars in the restaurant’s parking lot ... typically a good indicator of the food/experience. In the past, we have had to occasionally park across the street. We walked directly up to the window (we usually had would have to wait in line) and was greeted by a server dressed in somewhat sloppy attire, wearing more facial jewelry than is found at many jewelry counters. First impressions are very important … strike 2. With so many high school and college teens unable to find employment during the last three summers, The Tamarack should have been able to pick the cream of the crop for staff. Staff should be clean shaven, have minimal jewelry, minimal or covered tattoos, and be dressed cleanly and uniformly (ex. Tamarack polo shirt, logo’ed baseball hat, etc).
While waiting for the meal, I picked up some condiments from the littered condiments area and then sought out a table. All of the outside picnic tables that I surveyed in the back picnic grove were very dirty and sorely in need of a paint job. My recently deceased wife used to work at a McDonalds food franchise during her high school years and the manager had a great motto … “I you have time to lean, you have time to clean!” As far as the picnic tables are concerned. A gallon of paint goes far … choose a table a day, give them a fresh coat of paint, and then keep them clean (i.e. scrub them down throughout the day). When I used the bathroom inside of the enclosed dining building, I found that the light switch had no cover plate … a safety issue. The unclean picnic tables and picnic area severely detracted from the experience … Strike 3.
Finally, there was the food quality. We all ordered jumbo lobster rolls and had no complaints regarding the amount of lobster including in the roll. We actually wished that that the jumbo lobster rolls (actually 2 regular lobster rolls in a single sleeve) had been 25% smaller and that more mayonnaise and perhaps even a small amount of celery had been included in the mixture. Because the jumbo was 25% larger than most jumbo’s that I have had, it was priced higher than the competition and was excessive both in quantity and price. Please note that I weigh 195, exercise regularly, and I am not afraid of food. Unfortunately, given the items listed above, The Tamarack, and its lobster roll are no longer worthy of a going out of one’s way. The bearer of the title My Favorite Lobster Roll is now reserved for the Lobster Boat in Merrimack, NH.

Fortunately, there is hope for The Tamarack in that none of the items which I have listed above are irreparable. I can only hope that the owner takes this review as constructive criticism and sooner rather than later makes the changes required to make The Tamarack the business that it once was and could still be. At the time of this review, The Tamarack did not have an operational website (in the past, it did) and as such feedback could not be provided through such a mechanism. It would also have been nice to have had the owner provide a direct e-mail address in his previous response to a reviewer, as I would have directed these comments to him rather than air them.

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Thank Arrgghh84
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Laconia, New Hampshire
1 review
“Tamarack Went Downhill Because They've Changed Owners 2x (?)”
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 23, 2010

This used to be the best place in the Lakes Region! Great food, service, cleanliness etc. Then the people that had owned it for probably 20 years sold it to people from Ma. Who got REAL expensive and ran a VERY DIRTY place. Then he got fined by the state, could not make a go of it, sold it AGAIN and it may have been sold AGAIN! When the cheesecloth used to squeeze the water out of the lobster meat is hanging and the flies are clinging to it and then its re-used again without washing WELL------- you can figure it out. Went by there today and they weren't open. Didn't think it was a holiday! The originals kept this place running 7 days a week from 11:00 - 10:00 pm come rain, hail , sleet or snow! Yup and I mean snow. They tried opening in March one year. But they always closed at Columbus Day and then finally Labor Day.

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Thank lilwinni
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
JimClay, Owner at Tamarack Restaurant, responded to this review, June 30, 2010
My name is Jim Clayton and I am the owner of Tamarack & I feel like I should clear up some incorrect or misleading statements made by Lilwinni.

I have been the owner since January 2007 Before me there were 4 other owners. The 1st 2 seasons I ran Tamarack along with my 2 brothers. Last season & this & future seasons I'm running it solo.

Prior owners may have used cheescloth to strain their Langostinos. Langostinos are a tiny lobster and they're used as fillers in lobster rolls or lobster salad.
Since I purchased Tamarack I have used nothing but 100% north atlantic Dry Pack lobster. There is VERY little water and no need to drain it and no need for cheesecloth.
There hasn't been a piece of cheesecloth, clean or dirty, in here in the 3 plus years I've owned it. You may have seen it 5 seasons ago, but you have not seen it since I've been the owner.

Now, the prior owner was not fined for a dirty restaurant. I believe he was fined for some sort of employment violation he had but he was NOT fined for a dirty restaurant.
In the 3 plus years I have owned it we have consistently scored in the low to mid 90's on our health inspections with a low of 89 and a high of 98. My manager and I INSIST on a VERY clean restaurant.

As I'm sure you all know, seafood can be very expensive. In the 3+ years I've been here I've seen lobster meat at $16+ lb and fresh clams upto $120 a gallon near the end of the season. In the past 2 years I have LOWERED prices and many times I've even offered a 2 for $20 lobster roll special. I don't think anyone else in the lakes region has done that.

As far as our season goes, well, the weather tells me when I can open. We are a seasonal place and the building is not winterized. I will (and have) opened in March when I feel comfortable that our pipes won't freeze. But weatherwise, we usually can't open until April. We close at the end of Columbus day weekend. Always have since I've owned it. Right now, until the summer season 'pops' our hours are Thursday - Saturday, open 11am - 9 and Sunday - Wednesday open 11- 7. Starting July 1st It's 11 - 9 Mon - Sat and Sunday till 7.

If ANY one has ANY problem with our food or service, PLEASE, PLEASE let me or my manager Tracy know ! As an employer I want the best from my cooks and my service people and as a business owner I never want an unhappy or unsatisfied customer ! Please bring any issues to us & I promise we'll do all we can to satisfy you !
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New Hampshire
Level Contributor
37 reviews
28 restaurant reviews
common_n_restaurant_reviews_1bd8 47 helpful votes
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 14, 2009

I used to love Tamarack's but will never go there again. It used to be a favorite stop of mine on the way home from camping. They used to have the best lobster rolls and fried seafood. I'm not sure what happened.

We stopped there this past weekend. The last few times I got the lobster rolls, I was disappointed. Mayo seemed gluey and the lobster was tasteless. So this time, I wanted to play it safe and ordered a "two way combo" of fried seafood for $17.99. Whole claims and scallops. Girlfriend got the fried haddock sandwich. Both meals came with fries.

I thought it was a joke when I was presented with my $17.99 plate. There were about 5 scallops on there....very obviously cut in half, so in reality I had maybe three whole scallops all diced up. There was about the same number of clams, the tasteless bellies dripping hot oil. The fries were Ore Ida crinkle cuts, previously frozen and then not cooked very well...still pale yellow and limp. Girlfriend's haddock had a very fishy flavor and was dwarfed by the oldest, dryest bun we've seen in a while.

We tried to make the best of it and sat outside at one of the dirty picnic tables, surrounded by an incredible amount of trash. Obviously no one picks up or takes any pride in providing customers a clean place to eat.

Almost immediately upon leaving, I felt queasy. All I could taste was "old oil" in my mouth and for the remainder of the ride home, had to concentrate on other things to keep my mind off the sick feeling in my stomach.

I noticed that other than us, the parking lot was empty...very telling. It used to be that it was hard to find a parking space and one would spend at least 15 minutes just to place an order. What the heck happened here? Once thing is for certain, we will NEVER be going back. RIP, Tamarack's.

Thank SheElf
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Freedom NH
1 review
“Gee, this place has gone downhill over the past 2 years”
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed June 3, 2009

My husband and I have been going to Tamarack for over 10 years. Last year (2008) we went when it first opened for the season. Our clam strips dinners were expensive and a big disappointment. The kids that worked there kept forgetting items that should have come with our meals. We didn't go again that year. Today my husband thought he'd give it a second chance. Unfortunately his experience was worse than last year. The batter fell off his way-too-few clam strips and, although he got a ton of french fries, they were cold and fairly uncooked. The pricing was outrageous! This time, we'll stay away for good.

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Thank FreedomNH
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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