A guide to living local in New Hampshire

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Knights – and a Queen – Keep Court

at Moulton’s Market

By Stacy Milbouer / Fiddlehead Contributing Editor

Don’t we all wish we had a Moulton’s Market in our town? It’s everything that you’d want and really need if you’re not a fan of fast-food chains, big-box supermarkets and cookie-cutter coffee cafés. It’s a grocery store, restaurant, bakery, caterer and most importantly – a community gathering spot.

Situated in the story-book historic village of Amherst, surrounded by colonial houses, pristine white churches and lush green space, Moulton’s is kind of the only game in town when it comes to food and friends, but really the only game you need.

Perhaps that’s why for two centuries there has been a store on the site where Moulton’s Market is situated. The original brick building was constructed in the early 19th century and was used as a post office, gas station, apartments and a grocery store, but burned to the ground 70 years ago.

Since it was rebuilt it has remained a corner store through several owners. Steve and Diane Yurish bought the business 16 years ago when it was called the Village Green Market. They renamed it Moulton’s Market, the original name of the business, because it was tradition and because locals never stopped using the name, especially when giving directions to out-of-towners.

Forget Waze. Locals still say, “Take a left at Moulton’s.”

It’s not just a store. It’s an institution as much as the Amherst Town Library has been since 1892 across the street. Moulton’s plays an important role in terms of refreshments during the annual Fourth of July parade, which draws local and national politicians each year, including presidents like Barack Obama when he was running for office.

It has a country store vibe, but it’s also a lot like a bistro with 10 different homemade soups made every day out a total of 50 they make nine months out of the year. There’s even a soup hotline – 673-GOOD (4663) to check on which flavors are on the menu for the day.

The store also makes homemade breakfasts, dozens of fresh deli lunch sandwiches and arguably the best New York-style pizza around with more than 15 creative topping combinations like olive oil, garlic, spinach, roasted red pepper and ricotta cheese.

According to Moulton’s website, the Yurishes “continue to expand the market’s offerings and work to meet the needs of the community’s busy lifestyle.”

The culinary maestro of the store is manager Jennifer Dalton, who makes the pizza and baked goods in the shop, including fan favorites like caramel apple dumplings, eclairs and whoopie pies. Dalton is also the quiche queen – three different types a day including the ham, Swiss and caramelized onion on a recent menu.

“I’m told it’s the best around,” said Dalton. No doubt.

The heart and soul of the store, according to Dalton and owner Steve Yurish, are the regulars – like the group of gentlemen who gather at the front of the store, drinking coffee, eating breakfast like the Yellow Submarine egg sandwich or a Moulton’s Original Breakfast Burrito and hanging out for a couple of hours.

“I call them the Knights of the Round Table,” referring to the round high tops where they gather, Dalton said.

It’s a pretty safe bet that everybody who lives in town has been to Moulton’s – if not once, hundreds of times. They come to eat and shop for a big selection of wines, including local vintages, cheese, prepared meals and gift-worthy New Hampshire-made products like popcorn, granola, maple syrup, candy and greeting cards.

And they come for the company of friends and neighbors.

One visitor to the store said it all in a Yahoo review. “Awesome food and service: A true New England experience. Moulton’s has captured a day in the life of 1940 in this cute boutique market and cafe. If you are looking for good food and friendly service, then you HAVE to try them out.”