.by Anura Guruge
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Mame’s was #3 in my November 2012 “Ten In New Hampshire: Restaurants (Non-Buffet) In Central NH, Worth The Drive”.
I raved about their Pumpkin Ravioli at the 2012 Meredith “Trick or Eat” (Got Lunch) on Sunday, October 28. In that post I said this about John Cook, who used to own and operate Mame’s: “Very good. Did themselves proud. Bravo. Owner John Cook (which is a great name other than the fact that he is also a commercial pilot) did ALL of the serving and clearing up. Nice touch. Many would not know that this was the legendary John Cook. I just asked him whether he was still flying. He was. He didn’t recognize me. I am 10 years older and haven’t weathered well. Very nice guy.”
Not much I need to or can add beyond that. That is very much a part of why I am so upset when I saw the auction notice in the local paper yesterday evening. Things like this should not happen to nice people like John Cook — unless, of course, he wanted it this way. I don’t know the story — at all. He was a commercial, private jet pilot — i.e., he would fly private jets, on contract. I assume the money was good. I remember talking to him in the evenings and hearing that he had done a ‘gig’ that day: flown a jet from Laconia or Portsmouth to Detroit earlier in the day and how he would hit a local gym while his client went to whatever meeting and then flying back.
I lived in Meredith, on the water, on what was the old, just 5 houses, Mile Point, from March 1997 to December 1999. Used to frequent Mame’s quite a bit those days. It was my late night eating place. Hence conversations such as above with John. More often than not I was the last patron to leave and John was fine with that. We would chat. 1997 to 1999 was still at the height of dot.com. I was travelling and working like a ‘brown’ — if not a black. I was in the air at least 3 – 4 days a week and that would typically explain the late night dining at Mame’s. If I was back from a trip and fancied somewhere nice to eat and have some good red wine (and I always had somebody who would drive me home) I would end up at Mame’s. It was cozy.
It is a shame. I will have to ask Julie of Giuseppe’s what the story is. I know that she too will be sad. From what I know the successful Meredith restaurant owners like Julie and John (at least till now) never viewed each other as competition. More like partners since they each addressed a different demand.
I wish John Cook nothing but the very best. I hope this all works out for him.