21 Congress St, Portsmouth, NH | Directions 0380143.076800 -70.758586
Woefully Bad Experience – Myself and my wife had our first date here years ago (thankfully under different ownership) and wanted to hold our post-wedding party here. We agreed with one of the owners on the details, paid the deposit and returned for the contract a week later. During that week, the second partner had rewrote our agreement, increased the fees and changed the minimums. We protested that her partner had assured us of the original agreement but she refused to accept that and he then played dumb and said he couldn't recall the exact details. Ultimately she was so obscenely obnoxious to us and my in-laws we decided to take our business elsewhere. Disgustingly, she then refused to return our deposit, despite the fact that we hadn't broken any formal agreement, she had no signed contract giving her permission to hold our money, we had done absolutely nothing wrong. We had a huge back-and-forth in the ensuing months with the ever increasingly unprofessional, despicable fraudulent owners. After legal counsel we were advised to have the credit card company refund our money and let them go after the restaurant, which they did. Ultimately we got our deposit back but I couldn't have been more saddened by our experience at a restaurant that once held such a special place in our hearts. Never will I return under these current owners. Never!!!
Amazingly Horrible – Myself my girlfriend and her sister went here on March 10th 2009 hoping to enjoy some good BBQ, as my girlfriend and I live in the area, we're always looking forward to finding the next great restaurant in Portsmouth. I'll start by saying i've had GREAT BBQ in the numerous parts of the country as i do travel quite a bit and had heard through people that have been here (a year earler), that this was some of the best BBQ you can get. This was FAR FROM IT! I ordered the pulled pork and brisket combo while my girlfriend and her sister ordered pulled pork, baby back ribs and st louis style ribs. The pulled pork was tough, chewy and not very "pulled" just in big chucks. The brisket was tough and tasted like it was boiled in BBQ sauce. The ribs were tough and far from falling off the bone. Precooked out of the package from the grocery store would be better then these! Corn bread was OK and the baked beans were most likely just Bush's outta the can with a few extras added in. The BBQ sauce was good but i wasn't looking to pay 15-20 bucks a plate just to taste BBQ sauce. On top of that, today (3/11/09) both my girlfriend and her sister have food poisioning. The waitstaff were amazing, curtious, professional, and on top of everything that we needed. The beer selection, 23+ microbrew beers is about the only thing that would draw me back for another visit. If your looking for a great place to drink some good beer look no farther, If your looking for GOOD FOOD, ABSOLUTELY LOOK SOMEWHERE ELSE!
i work there and my customers love it – Let me just state at the outset that I am a server at The Muddy River Smokehouse in Portsmouth, have been since August of 2007, and probably will be for at least another year while I finish school. I am an honest, ethical, moral person and would not state anything here that I did not believe. If I could not say anything positive, I wouldn't say anything. That being said, I am tired of anonymous reviews that come from suspicious sources, especially when one can slander anyone or anything anonymously , with or without cause, on the internet. I find that many of the reviews miss the mark. Some may be legitimate, and there are some legitimate issues being addressed, but some simply seem disingenuous. It is not meant to be a 5-star restaurant, but a fun, casual, open-room BBQ joint, and it is excellent at filling that role. I almost never get complaints about the food or the portions. I also know that any complaints about the food are taken care of promptly and professionally most of the time. We do make mistakes, but the only time i have really heard a customer complain is if they have been shut off from drinking too much, or have engaged in behavior that is inappropriate for the environment, in which case they are always angry and resentful that someone else says "No" to them. Most of the tables I have had have been awesome, fun, good tippers who are nice to myself and the other waitstaff, and, as I have said, I have rarely heard anyone say anything other than "the food and portions are great". Also, remember that on a busy night in any restaurant, sometimes mistakes are made by new and old staff, so give it a second try. And if you have a legitimate complaint, make it in person at the time so that we can try to fix the problem. When suggestions are made in a polite, constructive way, i.e. a way that can be heard and listened to, then we can make sure you leave still happy with the experience. Also, the one in Eliot has different owners than ours.
Sad but true – See the reviews below this one. I'm just here to confirm that the Muddy River is no more. It was sold to someone who just doesn't get it. Some change is good, but this just reeks of someone who thinks people are too stupid to notice the difference. The menu, a generous multi-page offering in the past, is not a single page, and confusing to boot. The food defiantly has less flavor than in the past - ribs were tougher, the puller pork dry, the fries limp, the beans hotter with the added virtue of flavor. The wait staff is still efficient and friendly, but they seem to know that something has been lost. Too bad. This was such a great place, but its not really worth a visit anymore.
Muddy River Smoke House: Where Art Thou? – On Sunday, my family and I planned to be in New Hampshire. Having lived near Portsmouth several years ago, I said that we MUST go to the Muddy River Smoke House for BBQ, it having been our all-time favorite restaurant. What a disappointment! My husband and I both got the St. Louis ribs and brisket combo. The 4 (looked like spare) ribs were incredibly dry. I couldn't even bring myself to eat the last one. The brisket seemed like those frozen Steak 'Ums sliced thinly and smothered in BBQ sauce. Really Nasty! And trust me, I am a huge brisket fan. This was NOT brisket. My teenage daughter got the smoked chicken on the bone. Again smothered in sauce and only partially cooked. My 10 year old went with her personal favorite, the pulled pork sandwich. I agree with other reviewers that this used to be one of their best items. Sad to say, no more. She took one bite and wouldn't finish it. We were so incredibly disappointed. Now, having read the reviews here, I understand that this is not our once beloved Muddy River, but a shoddy impersonator. If real down home BBQ is what you're looking for, keep looking. This is not the place for you.
Bad business practices! – What a disapointment! Last night (2/23/2008) we visited our old haunt after having been away for about 2 years, with some friends, introducing them to Muddy River for their first time. We asked to wait in the bar until our table was avaiable in the dinning room. We were given a hand "point" in the direction of the bar area where we seated ourselves at some empty tables. Within seconds the "manager" showed up telling us to MOVE...thoes were not bar tables, but dining talbles. We stood up embarassed. Moments later we were lead down a LONG hall to the main dinning area, where we were seated and attened to by a very pleasent and attentive waitress. The food was hot, tasty, but seemed to lack the flavors we remembered. Now came the time to pay the bill. We paid the tab for the 4 of us with a girft certificate and a credit card. Moments later the waitress shows up with the TOTAL charge on the credit card, stating the gift certificate were NO LONGER ACCEPTED! What! Some crazy story about the business having been sold and these gift certificates were from the previous ownership....HERE IS MY POINT. Bad business practice! The NAME and LOGO were the same! There was not sign or notice stating that "these" particular gift certificates were no longer accepted. The manager was rude and argumentitive. He even identified himself as the owner...NOT! To our horror we were informed that this pactice of REJECTING gift certificates goes on all the time. What kind of business is this anyway? Robbing people by selling them gift certifiates and then REFUSING to accept them. How dispicable and criminal! We left there for the last time NEVER TO RETURN!!! Would you want to patronize an establishment that deceives the piblic? I think this little scam is called "double dipping"! Who monitors this illegal practice? I wouldn't go there and sugguest you don't either.
Change isn't always good! – For years, the Muddy River Smokehouse (MRS) was a very good restaurant, offering the only BBQ in town. Their pulled pork was fantastic, ribs were ok, impressive portions, service was good, great appetizers. Then, the restaurant was sold and things went downhill quickly. The new management changed, of all things the pulled pork. I learned to cook BBQ in Memphis and to me, it tasted like they didn't leave it on the smoker long enough and the characteristic hickory flavor was gone. This was their signature dish, and on three consecutive visits (post sale) it got tougher and less flavorful. How stupid can you be? The ribs at Ruby Tuesday are better than the ribs at MRS...do yourself a favor, don't eat at this restaurant.
Are these people insane? – I am not sure who is writing these reviews (staff?). When I think back on my visit to this restaurant I remember an overall sense of disappointment and urgency to leave. Slow service, doodie food, mmmm.... yummy. Ribs were cold and the salad was wilted. Does that paint a pretty picture?
All you really need to know is not to go. Thank me now and thank me later. Many better options in P-town.
Don't go - this place is a disaster.
POORLY RAN ESTABLISHMENT! (from a server's viewpoint) – As a former employee of the Muddy River, I am writing this review to give the public a look into the behind-the-scenes of the Muddy River Smokehouse. The establishment was taken over by new owners in December of 2005 and they have run the business down into the ground over the last year. Their attitude towards guests and employees is "they're a dime a dozen". As a waitress, if you have an issue with an unhappy guest, the server is made to deal with that on her own. It is unheard of a manager going and speaking with the unsatisfied guest, which to an experienced waitress and those who often dine out, might seem a bit odd. Wouldn't management want to speak to unhappy guests, help resolve the problem, and then encourage them to return. Not the current management, they have an unhappy guest who wants to voice their unsatisifaction, "too bad, don't come back here then" (I have had this said to my guests). The same goes for employees. If an employee approaches management with a conflict or concern (personal or work-related) their best answer is to send that employee either home for the night, or terminate that employee (two days before Christmas, if need be). They feel they can run their establishment treating their college girls, just trying to make some quick money, with no respect or consistancy because in Portsmouth, NH a waitress IS a dime-a-dozen. However, high turnover rates in the service industry is never a positive aspect to add to an establishment's characteristics. The training they provide is very poor, leaving new girls with many questions to ask other unsure waitresses who don't know the answers themselves. Coming from an experienced waitress, this is not the kind of establishment you want to support with your hard-earned money. While the staff are very friendly and SOME of the food is ok, the chance of something going wrong and you leaving unsatisfied with the establishment is high. Not your typical review, but a glance at how management views guests!
Best corn bread – Agree with previous comments regarding the corn bread. It was delicious. we even asked for more. The restaurant also serves excellent fried pickles! Our server was very friendly. For a person that loves BBQ, pork, fried food, and large portions then this is probably the place to go.
I went for the experience and the other people in my party were very hungry. In addition, it was Sunday, 3:30 pm and most of the other restaurants were closed. I would have prefered to go to Sakura-Bana.
As for the "lots of food for your dollar" comment, don't forget to factor in the cost of cholesterol and diabetes medications!
On my next visit to Portsmouth, I will definitely go to another restaurant.
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