It’s the food that makes the New Ipswich Market

  • The New Ipswich Market is well known for its food and opens at 4 a.m. during the week to accommodate its customers. Staff photo by Tim Goodwin

  • Frances Burns, affectionately known at Granny, takes a breakfast sandwich order at the New Ipswich Market. Staff photo by Tim Goodwin—

  • New Ipswich Market owner Heather Mahoney makes a buffalo chicken wrap during a recent lunch rush. Staff photos by Tim Goodwin

  • New Ipswich Market owner Heather Mahoney makes a chicken wrap during lunch. Staff photo by Tim Goodwin—

  • Frances Burns, known by customers as Granny at the New Ipswich Market, gets help from customer Steve Riggs bagging his purchase. Staff photo by Tim Goodwin—

  • Mel Cousino makes a burger during lunch at the New Ipswich Market. Staff photo by Tim Goodwin—

  • An appetizing burger made at the New Ipswich Market.

  • The New Ipswich Market has quite the menu for a small town store. Staff photo by Tim Goodwin—

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 5/29/2019 5:10:51 PM

When Heather Mahoney first bought the New Ipswich Market, just about every morning there would be people waiting in their cars for her to unlock the doors.

So she adjusted the opening time from 6 a.m. to 5 a.m., but even then, customers would be in the parking lot ready for their morning cup of coffee. It soon became apparent that Mahoney had to open even earlier. During the weekdays, Mahoney is there at 4 a.m. to start the coffee and get a head start on breakfast sandwiches.

“And there’s a guy who comes in 10 past 4 every day,” Mahoney said. They officially open at 5 a.m. on Saturdays and 6 a.m. on Sundays and are open until 9 p.m. daily.

Within the first half hour, Mahoney is joined by more of her employees, including Frances Burns, who everyone affectionately knows as Granny. Burns was bored after retiring and the passing of her husband, so she asked Mahoney’s mom if her daughter needed help around the store. She began with cleaning shelves and now she does a little bit of everything.

The market has been around for a long time – at least 60-something years, according to longtime customer Frank Barlow. Since 1996, Mahoney has been in charge. She originally bought the store with her sister, who had worked for a previous owner, but her sister has since moved on.

Every owner has new ideas as how to make a business better and more viable. When Mahoney took over, the New Ipswich Market sold premade sandwiches and had a small deli, but nothing close to what it offers today.

The market still has the deli, where customers can get cold cuts and cheeses, but it’s the made-to-order food and fried chicken that keep the customers coming back.

“We try to do everything as homemade as possible,” Mahoney said.

About five years into her ownership, Mahoney decided to add a flattop grill and then 10 years she decided to install a Roadies Chicken station and a frialator.

“The turning point was when we got the grill,” Mahoney said. “And I always want to do chicken, but I wasn’t quite sure how the best way to do it until I saw it at a food show.”

Every morning, they make 20 to 25 breakfast sandwiches, but they are usually gone quickly, and then they make them to order. There’s plenty of demand to keep them busy.

Lunch is just as crazy with burgers and sandwiches. The most popular is the steak and cheese, while the specials are always a hit among the regulars. The market has dishes like shepherd’s pie and lasagna that are kept in the warmer – along with the chicken – for those who want to grab something quick.

Mahoney recently added a new open cooler across from the deli that will be used this summer for premade sandwiches and salads, for those looking for a quick lunch.

“We try to do different things because people will get bored with the food if you don’t,” Mahoney said.

That’s where Mel Cousino comes in. She’s the specials and sandwich creator, coming up with the Dirty Fat Chicken Sub that includes chicken fingers, onion rings, mozzarella sticks, spicy fries, pepperjack cheese, ranch dressing and BBQ sauce.

The grill is open till 8 p.m. and the market serves breakfast – including things like omelets and scrambled or fried egg meals – all day,

“It’s amazing the amount of food that comes out of here,” said customer Jake Reed.

Every morning, Mahoney drives to Fitchburg, leaving at 5 a.m., to grab four dozen donuts and pastries at Dippin’ Donuts. By 2 p.m, if there are any left, the donuts are given away for free, which has led to a little tradition of Boynton Middle School students sprinting down Route 124 in the hopes of getting one.

Like most small-town stores, the market has soda and beer, chips and candy, as well as those staple items that people will come in to grab when they run out or forgot during their bigger grocery shopping trips. But it’s the food side of the operation is really what makes things go – and the employees.

“We try to accommodate everybody,” Burns said. “If we don’t have it and we can get it, we’ll get it.”

Mohoney relies on her 12 employees to keep the customers happy. Because it’s not just about being a place where people can grab a sandwich or a Mountain Dew slam can. It’s about the experience, and Mahoney wants to make sure it’s one that keeps customers coming back.

“When you have friendly employees, friendly staff, that helps,” Mahoney said.

And it’s not uncommon for folks to grab a cup of coffee and shoot the breeze for a while.

“If you come on a weekend, there will be 10 guys in here talking,” Mahoney said.

Reed moved to Greenville in 2000 and found that the New Ipswich Market was the place for him.

“It’s the social part. Heather’s friendly, the staff is friendly. And they always have fresh coffee,” Reed said.

He’s retired, so it’s not uncommon for him to make the trip over three or four days a week with his own cup.

“I need that little bit of socialization in my life, so this is a good place to come,” Reed said.

Barlow said it’s the homey feel that keeps him coming back. He’s 83 and “I was coming here when I was 21.”

Barlow estimates he’s there for 5 to 15 minutes each day. He uses the same paper cup for his coffee until it gets past the point of no return.

“I come to get my coffee every morning, seven days a week, Barlow said.

That’s the kind of thing Mahoney likes to hear. It’s why she takes the time to get to know her customers by name. Because her employees and customers feel like family.

“Sometimes it gets to the point that you know what they’re going to get or buy,” Mahoney said.

Every nook and cranny of the store is filled and Mahoney is famous for saying they need a bigger store. But then it wouldn’t be the same New Ipswich Market that generations have come accustomed to – and that’s the way it should be.


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