Thyme & Tide in Hampton Falls Expands Offerings with “Grap and Go”
HAMPTON FALLS – For Ben Reed, there is no doubt: his experience with the egg led him to his Thyme & Tide.
Reed and his wife, Cory, have been operating the Thyme and Tide Kitchen restaurant at 97 Lafayette Road in Hampton Falls for four years.
Reed traces his restaurant career back to his youth. It was then that he found himself enjoying his experiences riding with his mother, Robin Wiggin Reed, as she delivered eggs for the family business.
âSo I grew up in Exeter and Stratham,â said Reed, 38. âAnd my family has worked in the restaurant business for three generations at Stratham: Wiggin’s Egg Service.
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Reed met her mother’s customers at local restaurants and markets and became friends with them. Plus, he grew up knowing the joys of a well-prepared meal.
âBoth of my parents (Robin and Father Barry) cooked a lot,â Reed said. âAnd one of my grandfathers was a chef. “
With that kind of lineage, it’s not hard to imagine that Reed’s first post-school job was at a former restaurant in Greenland, where he started out as a dishwasher and, within weeks, was a cook in chain. He loved it so much that after graduating from Exeter High School, he went to study at the New England Culinary Institute in Vermont, where many of the region’s best chefs come from.
After graduating as an associate from NECI, Reed landed a job at the White Elephant restaurant in one of the country’s elite tourist destinations: Nantucket Island.
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But after eight years living on an island, the Granite State beckoned. Reed returned to his native New Hampshire, working at Dover’s White Apron restaurant and also at Phillips Exeter Academy.
Thyme & Tide Opening at Hampton Falls
âOver the years, a lot of people have approached me to open a restaurant (with them),â Reed said. âI told them not to open a restaurant. It’s a really tough business.
Then, while working for others, Reed was asked to organize three or four weddings in his spare time.
âWe made them in my kitchen at home and we made some money,â he said. âI said to my wife, ‘Let’s try it’. “
About four years ago, the Reeds rented to own the commercial kitchen condo at the Highway 1 Linear Mall in Hampton Falls. Even with the pandemic, he’s been working ever since. And when it came to choosing a name for their new business, Ben and Cory Reed were inspired by one of his grandparents.
âMy grandmother would dry up all the herbs she left in late summer and put them all together in a spice blend,â Reed said. “She called it thyme and tide.”
With Cory in charge of planning and marketing, and Reed’s culinary skills, word of the company spread. It covers catering for small and large events, such as weddings and corporate receptions, from two to 200 people.
âI made one for 1,000 people,â he said, âand last week we had a seven course dinner for 14 people in North Conway for a small wedding.â
‘My passion is to cook with fresh and local products’
Rather than discussing his signature dish, Reed said, he prefers to discuss the ingredients rather than the recipes.
âMy passion is to cook with fresh and local products, vegetables and meat,â he said. âWe do a lot with local pork from local farms. We make excellent pork with marinated local mushrooms.
The COVID-19 lockdown that has been so brutal for local restaurants has not resulted in the closure of Thyme & Tide Kitchen. What was most important to Reed during the pandemic, he said, was keeping his staff at work.
Depending on the event, Reed may employ between 30 and 40 people, providing back and front-of-the-house services. Its core staff, however, includes Todd Davis, Ethan Chase, Sam Cahoon and Briley Valentino, and of course, his wife and partner, Cory.
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Although her scheduled marriages ended up being called off or postponed during the pandemic for another time, Reed was creative. For example, Thyme & Tide prepared lunch boxes for the employees of some of its client companies.
âAnd I have some great private clients who have helped us a lot,â Reed said.
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The Reeds have also implemented a âwin and goâ serve, he said.
âIt’s called Thyme at Home,â Reed said. âPeople can order on the website and pick up here. “
As well as finding treats like vegetable salads with local produce, there are marinated meats – like marinated Korean beef ribs – and fish taco kits to take home, to cook on the grill. and to delight the family.
Oh, and yes, Thyme & Tide gets its eggs from Wiggin’s.
For more information, visit www.thymeandtidekitchen.com.