Everybody Knows Your
at City Moose Café
By Stacy Milbouer / Fiddlehead Contributing Editor
The name seems like an oxymoron for an urban bistro – City Moose – but it’s the perfect moniker for this new, downtown Nashua café.
City Moose Café & Catering at 30 Temple St. is hip and urbane but infused with a relaxed, farm vibe and locally sourced food. That was the intent of owners Jason and Stacy Lamountain, who opened the café this spring.
Everything in the café, from the barnboard on the walls (from an old New Hampshire farm) to the food on the table, to the employees and guests, feels cozy and local. Customers sit at long, family-style farm tables.
Soft light filters through large windows. The natural wood and metal décor, with touches of greenery, make this the kind of “clean, well-lighted place,” that Ernest Hemingway wrote about.
That was intentional. The couple wanted whole families, friends, business colleagues and even strangers to feel comfortable eating with one another.
“It’s all about community,” Stacy said.
And they do. On any given day area teachers can be seen eating with each other and greeting former students, like the Lamountains themselves. The nearby county courthouse makes it a popular eat-and-meet spot for attorneys and court staff. The couple also plans to hold farm dinners.
Stacy looks out the huge windows offering a spectacular view of downtown.
“The city part of our name was obvious. The moose is an homage to my grampy,” she said. “Some of the happiest times in my life were visiting him at his camp in Moose Alley in Pittsburgh, New Hampshire. In fact, Jason and I were married there.”
Stacy’s grandfather Charles Kufeldt was also a business inspiration to the couple. He owned Chuck’s Auto Repair on Vine Street.
“Everybody knew him,” said Stacy.
Everybody seems to know each other at City Moose as well. No wonder. Both Stacy and Jason grew up in the area. Barely five minutes goes by in the café without a customer the couple recognizes coming in.
Stacy is from Nashua and graduated from the University of New Hampshire. Jason began his culinary career at Alvirne High School’s culinary program while also working at what’s now MT’s Local Kitchen & Wine Bar on Main Street in Nashua. He furthered his culinary education at the Culinary Institute of America (CIA).
Jason worked doing functions and while at CIA ran a boutique bed and breakfast that specialized in vegetarian cuisine. He later moved to New Orleans to work for the Marriott Corp., but eventually came home to New Hampshire, earned a master’s degree in business administration from Southern New Hampshire University and took a job as a private chef for a Nashua high-tech company.
He and Stacy started their City Moose Catering operation in 2016, which is now operating out of the café. They also started a family. They are the parents of two. In fact, their whole business is a family affair.
“Jason has a hand in all the food,” Stacy said. “I do the accounting, hauling ice, everything else that needs to be done.”
Stacy’s dad does deliveries. Her sister, a teacher, helps part time. Jason’s mom helps in the kitchen. And Stacy’s mother watches their children when the couple are both working.
Even the couple’s toddler son contributes to the City Moose.
“One day I was in his toy bin and saw his plastic moose and some other animals,” Stacy said. “I cleaned them and painted them and now we use them on the table as markers to deliver food to customers as quickly as possible.”
The café prides itself on delivering food no later than 15 minutes after a customer orders, so that they can best serve business people who have limited lunch hours, including, occasionally, catered lunches for juries at the nearby courthouse.
“Even Rapunzel came in here before the Fairy Tale Festival at Greeley Park,” said Stacy.
The café serves breakfast and lunch – salads, sandwiches, flatbreads, soup, pastries and locally roasted coffee. Nearly every offering on the menu includes ingredients from a long list of local purveyors – cheddar from Contoocook Creamery in the Timeless Cheese flatbread; the free-range eggs from Julie’s Happy Hens in the Grazed Burrito; the amber ale in the 603 Mac & Cheese, and the beer cheddar dipping sauce for the Moose Antlers hot pretzels; the hydroponic greens from Oasis Spring Farms in salads and the City Caprese sandwich; and bacon from North Country Smokehouse in the Gate City Club Sandwich.
“We’re about local when it comes to everything,” said Jason while choosing from a colorful box of mushrooms hand-carried into the café by William Dunkerley, owner of Dunk’s Mushrooms in Danville.
The café’s T-shirts were made at Mint Printworks in Nashu;, the creative fixtures are from Just Lights in Nashua; and an art gallery of drone-views of the city are by photographer Seth Dewey.
But local doesn’t just mean the city and state. City Moose is committed to sustainability and green business practices. They use as much compostable materials as possible and are committed to recycling.
“My grampy would be so proud,” said Stacy.
For more information about City Moose, visit citymoosenh.com.