April 29. 2015
Turismo in Hillsborough is located midway between Keene and Concord off Routes 202/9. Owner Alyson Kelly picked this spot intentionally with the vision of creating a music hub for the surrounding neighborhoods. To that end she offers music every weekend, events such as Paint Nite and Murder Mystery Dinner Theatre monthly, and exceptionally prepared food every day from all corners of the world, inspired by her extensive travel experiences.
Alyson is a New Yorker who came to New Hampshire last year on a visit shortly after purchasing a bar on Manhattan’s Lower East Side with her Brother. She found the old IGA store on Henniker Street just outside the center of Hillsborough and opened Turismo Tavern in late August. She has created a welcoming ambience, making use of the open space and warm lighting. There is a large bar, high and low tables, and an 825 square foot dance floor with an elevated stage for weekly live music.
Turismo Tavern’s menu includes pub fare, American classics and dishes with Latin, Asian and European influences. Almost everything on the menu is made from scratch. Alyson, who has visited 26 countries to date, takes traditional dishes and adds a gourmet twist. She rotates the menu and adds specials regularly. For Cinco de Mayo (Tuesday May 5), for instance, she will be serving SoCal-style fish tacos, tamales and paella. “Mexican food has such high fat content, so I try to balance the menu with healthier dishes that are more seafood and vegetable ‘centric’, concentrating on seasonings for flavor. But, everyone loves the fresh nachos and they are fried.” Alyson adds “I will also have sangria and margarita specials. I make one heck of a margarita!” Turismo boasts an extensive craft beer menu, including twelve drafts from around the world as well as locally brewed selections.
Turismo Tavern hosts a wide range of musical genres. “There’s a strong tradition of blues in this town, but I like to mix it up a bit and keep it eclectic with reggae, jazz, R&B, heavy metal, ska, zydeco and funk,” Alyson explained. “I would love to have country music here and am on the lookout for a country band that is affordable for a new venue.” The location of the elevated stage and openness of the Tavern make for an exceptional music experience for both the band and patrons. “Bands love playing here. The stage is ample with an elevated drum platform which creates great acoustics for the room. Yet, you can always find a quiet corner in which you can have a conversation without having to shout – but you really should be out on the dance floor!”
In addition to music, Alyson holds special events. This month, in addition to Cinco de Mayo, there is Paint Nite on May 9 and a Mob Murder Mystery Dinner Theater on May 16. Musical performances for the month include The Boogie Men on May 2 and Otis and the Elevators on May 8.
Looking ahead to the rest of the month:
On May 15, Concord’s Lazy Boy Rockers plays covers ranging from country, jazz, pop and classics from the Great American Songbook. Nashua progressive rockers Ghost Cats play on the 22nd. And Local Sound Development returns on the 23rd, bring their brand of classic rock.
Tursimo Tavern is located on 55 Henniker Street in Hillsborough. There is no cover for music events. The restaurant is open for dinner Thursday – Monday with anticipated extended days/hours during the summer. For more information, visit the website.