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This New Hampshire Restaurant Claims It Invented Chicken Tenders

This New Hampshire Restaurant Claims It Invented Chicken Tenders

The Puritan Backroom has been around for nearly 100 years and claims it was the first to think of battered chicken strips

Tender is the night when it’s filled with fried chicken strips.

Chicken strips, chicken fingers, or chicken tenders. No matter how you slice it, fry it, or dip it (ketchup or honey mustard, usually), this children’s menu mainstay is a staple of American casual cuisine. The Puritan Backroom, a family restaurant that has been serving Manchester, New Hampshire, residents since 1917, claims to have invented the tasty chicken tender.​Although claims of restaurants being the “inventors” of certain popular food items have often been disputed (Lombardi’s has had to defend its “first-ever pizzeria” title many times), Puritan Backroom may be the real deal, according to USA Today.

Chris Pappas, part of the family generation that is currently operating the restaurant, says that the restaurant began serving boneless breasts and cutting them into strips. In 1974, the team had the bright idea to marinate and deep-fry these strips, pile them high, and put them on the menu. They became a runaway success. The restaurant does indeed seem to have the first-ever mention of chicken tenders, although variants like chicken nuggets were already in circulation. One can argue though that nuggets and tenders are two very different foods since nuggets usually contain ground and processed chicken, whereas tenders are whole chicken strips.

Today at Puritan Backroom, you can get your tender fix in original, spicy, Buffalo, and coconut flavors. The secret, the owners claim, is in the marinade so that the flavor does not just sit on top of the breading, but goes deeper into the juicy chicken itself.


New Hampshire politics revolve around these famous chicken tenders

Chris Pappas doesn’t want to politicize his restaurant’s chicken tenders.

In campaign-saturated New Hampshire, the Puritan Backroom’s oil-drenched fried chicken may be one of the few things the state’s most steadfast partisans can agree on. The 98-year-old Manchester institution is a political hotbed and routine campaign stop for both Democratic and Republican presidential candidates.

“The Puritan has been around almost as long as the New Hampshire primary itself,’’ Pappas says, referring to the Granite State’s first-in-the-nation presidential primary, a tradition that turns 100 in 2016.

Patrons are constantly lining up against the wood-paneled walls for the next table inside the restaurant’s back door entrance.

Mike Vlacich, the state director for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, recalls when the former secretary of state went table-to-table at the Backroom with Sen. Jeanne Shaheen and Gov. Maggie Hassan the weekend before the 2014 election, asking patrons for their support while diners munched on the “world-famous chicken tenders.’’

“Hillary is such a fan that she’s been back two times this year and is looking forward to more visits,’’ Vlacich adds.

Reporter John DiStaso, who has covered New Hampshire politics for 35 years for various news outlets, says the restaurant’s consistent draw of “regular’’ Manchester and New Hampshire people makes it a good stop.

“It’s not like some white tablecloth sort of place,’’ DiStaso says. “They have really good food, and the place is always crowded.’’

Pappas’ great-grandfather, Charlie Pappas, opened the business with his cousin as an ice cream and candy shop in downtown Manchester in 1917, a decade after the two had immigrated from Greece. For about 40 years, the family business had several iterations and locations in the area before consolidating operations in 1969 to the current location on Route 3 in Manchester’s North End.


New Hampshire politics revolve around these famous chicken tenders

Chris Pappas doesn’t want to politicize his restaurant’s chicken tenders.

In campaign-saturated New Hampshire, the Puritan Backroom’s oil-drenched fried chicken may be one of the few things the state’s most steadfast partisans can agree on. The 98-year-old Manchester institution is a political hotbed and routine campaign stop for both Democratic and Republican presidential candidates.

“The Puritan has been around almost as long as the New Hampshire primary itself,’’ Pappas says, referring to the Granite State’s first-in-the-nation presidential primary, a tradition that turns 100 in 2016.

Patrons are constantly lining up against the wood-paneled walls for the next table inside the restaurant’s back door entrance.

Mike Vlacich, the state director for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, recalls when the former secretary of state went table-to-table at the Backroom with Sen. Jeanne Shaheen and Gov. Maggie Hassan the weekend before the 2014 election, asking patrons for their support while diners munched on the “world-famous chicken tenders.’’

“Hillary is such a fan that she’s been back two times this year and is looking forward to more visits,’’ Vlacich adds.

Reporter John DiStaso, who has covered New Hampshire politics for 35 years for various news outlets, says the restaurant’s consistent draw of “regular’’ Manchester and New Hampshire people makes it a good stop.

“It’s not like some white tablecloth sort of place,’’ DiStaso says. “They have really good food, and the place is always crowded.’’

Pappas’ great-grandfather, Charlie Pappas, opened the business with his cousin as an ice cream and candy shop in downtown Manchester in 1917, a decade after the two had immigrated from Greece. For about 40 years, the family business had several iterations and locations in the area before consolidating operations in 1969 to the current location on Route 3 in Manchester’s North End.


New Hampshire politics revolve around these famous chicken tenders

Chris Pappas doesn’t want to politicize his restaurant’s chicken tenders.

In campaign-saturated New Hampshire, the Puritan Backroom’s oil-drenched fried chicken may be one of the few things the state’s most steadfast partisans can agree on. The 98-year-old Manchester institution is a political hotbed and routine campaign stop for both Democratic and Republican presidential candidates.

“The Puritan has been around almost as long as the New Hampshire primary itself,’’ Pappas says, referring to the Granite State’s first-in-the-nation presidential primary, a tradition that turns 100 in 2016.

Patrons are constantly lining up against the wood-paneled walls for the next table inside the restaurant’s back door entrance.

Mike Vlacich, the state director for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, recalls when the former secretary of state went table-to-table at the Backroom with Sen. Jeanne Shaheen and Gov. Maggie Hassan the weekend before the 2014 election, asking patrons for their support while diners munched on the “world-famous chicken tenders.’’

“Hillary is such a fan that she’s been back two times this year and is looking forward to more visits,’’ Vlacich adds.

Reporter John DiStaso, who has covered New Hampshire politics for 35 years for various news outlets, says the restaurant’s consistent draw of “regular’’ Manchester and New Hampshire people makes it a good stop.

“It’s not like some white tablecloth sort of place,’’ DiStaso says. “They have really good food, and the place is always crowded.’’

Pappas’ great-grandfather, Charlie Pappas, opened the business with his cousin as an ice cream and candy shop in downtown Manchester in 1917, a decade after the two had immigrated from Greece. For about 40 years, the family business had several iterations and locations in the area before consolidating operations in 1969 to the current location on Route 3 in Manchester’s North End.


New Hampshire politics revolve around these famous chicken tenders

Chris Pappas doesn’t want to politicize his restaurant’s chicken tenders.

In campaign-saturated New Hampshire, the Puritan Backroom’s oil-drenched fried chicken may be one of the few things the state’s most steadfast partisans can agree on. The 98-year-old Manchester institution is a political hotbed and routine campaign stop for both Democratic and Republican presidential candidates.

“The Puritan has been around almost as long as the New Hampshire primary itself,’’ Pappas says, referring to the Granite State’s first-in-the-nation presidential primary, a tradition that turns 100 in 2016.

Patrons are constantly lining up against the wood-paneled walls for the next table inside the restaurant’s back door entrance.

Mike Vlacich, the state director for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, recalls when the former secretary of state went table-to-table at the Backroom with Sen. Jeanne Shaheen and Gov. Maggie Hassan the weekend before the 2014 election, asking patrons for their support while diners munched on the “world-famous chicken tenders.’’

“Hillary is such a fan that she’s been back two times this year and is looking forward to more visits,’’ Vlacich adds.

Reporter John DiStaso, who has covered New Hampshire politics for 35 years for various news outlets, says the restaurant’s consistent draw of “regular’’ Manchester and New Hampshire people makes it a good stop.

“It’s not like some white tablecloth sort of place,’’ DiStaso says. “They have really good food, and the place is always crowded.’’

Pappas’ great-grandfather, Charlie Pappas, opened the business with his cousin as an ice cream and candy shop in downtown Manchester in 1917, a decade after the two had immigrated from Greece. For about 40 years, the family business had several iterations and locations in the area before consolidating operations in 1969 to the current location on Route 3 in Manchester’s North End.


New Hampshire politics revolve around these famous chicken tenders

Chris Pappas doesn’t want to politicize his restaurant’s chicken tenders.

In campaign-saturated New Hampshire, the Puritan Backroom’s oil-drenched fried chicken may be one of the few things the state’s most steadfast partisans can agree on. The 98-year-old Manchester institution is a political hotbed and routine campaign stop for both Democratic and Republican presidential candidates.

“The Puritan has been around almost as long as the New Hampshire primary itself,’’ Pappas says, referring to the Granite State’s first-in-the-nation presidential primary, a tradition that turns 100 in 2016.

Patrons are constantly lining up against the wood-paneled walls for the next table inside the restaurant’s back door entrance.

Mike Vlacich, the state director for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, recalls when the former secretary of state went table-to-table at the Backroom with Sen. Jeanne Shaheen and Gov. Maggie Hassan the weekend before the 2014 election, asking patrons for their support while diners munched on the “world-famous chicken tenders.’’

“Hillary is such a fan that she’s been back two times this year and is looking forward to more visits,’’ Vlacich adds.

Reporter John DiStaso, who has covered New Hampshire politics for 35 years for various news outlets, says the restaurant’s consistent draw of “regular’’ Manchester and New Hampshire people makes it a good stop.

“It’s not like some white tablecloth sort of place,’’ DiStaso says. “They have really good food, and the place is always crowded.’’

Pappas’ great-grandfather, Charlie Pappas, opened the business with his cousin as an ice cream and candy shop in downtown Manchester in 1917, a decade after the two had immigrated from Greece. For about 40 years, the family business had several iterations and locations in the area before consolidating operations in 1969 to the current location on Route 3 in Manchester’s North End.


New Hampshire politics revolve around these famous chicken tenders

Chris Pappas doesn’t want to politicize his restaurant’s chicken tenders.

In campaign-saturated New Hampshire, the Puritan Backroom’s oil-drenched fried chicken may be one of the few things the state’s most steadfast partisans can agree on. The 98-year-old Manchester institution is a political hotbed and routine campaign stop for both Democratic and Republican presidential candidates.

“The Puritan has been around almost as long as the New Hampshire primary itself,’’ Pappas says, referring to the Granite State’s first-in-the-nation presidential primary, a tradition that turns 100 in 2016.

Patrons are constantly lining up against the wood-paneled walls for the next table inside the restaurant’s back door entrance.

Mike Vlacich, the state director for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, recalls when the former secretary of state went table-to-table at the Backroom with Sen. Jeanne Shaheen and Gov. Maggie Hassan the weekend before the 2014 election, asking patrons for their support while diners munched on the “world-famous chicken tenders.’’

“Hillary is such a fan that she’s been back two times this year and is looking forward to more visits,’’ Vlacich adds.

Reporter John DiStaso, who has covered New Hampshire politics for 35 years for various news outlets, says the restaurant’s consistent draw of “regular’’ Manchester and New Hampshire people makes it a good stop.

“It’s not like some white tablecloth sort of place,’’ DiStaso says. “They have really good food, and the place is always crowded.’’

Pappas’ great-grandfather, Charlie Pappas, opened the business with his cousin as an ice cream and candy shop in downtown Manchester in 1917, a decade after the two had immigrated from Greece. For about 40 years, the family business had several iterations and locations in the area before consolidating operations in 1969 to the current location on Route 3 in Manchester’s North End.


New Hampshire politics revolve around these famous chicken tenders

Chris Pappas doesn’t want to politicize his restaurant’s chicken tenders.

In campaign-saturated New Hampshire, the Puritan Backroom’s oil-drenched fried chicken may be one of the few things the state’s most steadfast partisans can agree on. The 98-year-old Manchester institution is a political hotbed and routine campaign stop for both Democratic and Republican presidential candidates.

“The Puritan has been around almost as long as the New Hampshire primary itself,’’ Pappas says, referring to the Granite State’s first-in-the-nation presidential primary, a tradition that turns 100 in 2016.

Patrons are constantly lining up against the wood-paneled walls for the next table inside the restaurant’s back door entrance.

Mike Vlacich, the state director for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, recalls when the former secretary of state went table-to-table at the Backroom with Sen. Jeanne Shaheen and Gov. Maggie Hassan the weekend before the 2014 election, asking patrons for their support while diners munched on the “world-famous chicken tenders.’’

“Hillary is such a fan that she’s been back two times this year and is looking forward to more visits,’’ Vlacich adds.

Reporter John DiStaso, who has covered New Hampshire politics for 35 years for various news outlets, says the restaurant’s consistent draw of “regular’’ Manchester and New Hampshire people makes it a good stop.

“It’s not like some white tablecloth sort of place,’’ DiStaso says. “They have really good food, and the place is always crowded.’’

Pappas’ great-grandfather, Charlie Pappas, opened the business with his cousin as an ice cream and candy shop in downtown Manchester in 1917, a decade after the two had immigrated from Greece. For about 40 years, the family business had several iterations and locations in the area before consolidating operations in 1969 to the current location on Route 3 in Manchester’s North End.


New Hampshire politics revolve around these famous chicken tenders

Chris Pappas doesn’t want to politicize his restaurant’s chicken tenders.

In campaign-saturated New Hampshire, the Puritan Backroom’s oil-drenched fried chicken may be one of the few things the state’s most steadfast partisans can agree on. The 98-year-old Manchester institution is a political hotbed and routine campaign stop for both Democratic and Republican presidential candidates.

“The Puritan has been around almost as long as the New Hampshire primary itself,’’ Pappas says, referring to the Granite State’s first-in-the-nation presidential primary, a tradition that turns 100 in 2016.

Patrons are constantly lining up against the wood-paneled walls for the next table inside the restaurant’s back door entrance.

Mike Vlacich, the state director for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, recalls when the former secretary of state went table-to-table at the Backroom with Sen. Jeanne Shaheen and Gov. Maggie Hassan the weekend before the 2014 election, asking patrons for their support while diners munched on the “world-famous chicken tenders.’’

“Hillary is such a fan that she’s been back two times this year and is looking forward to more visits,’’ Vlacich adds.

Reporter John DiStaso, who has covered New Hampshire politics for 35 years for various news outlets, says the restaurant’s consistent draw of “regular’’ Manchester and New Hampshire people makes it a good stop.

“It’s not like some white tablecloth sort of place,’’ DiStaso says. “They have really good food, and the place is always crowded.’’

Pappas’ great-grandfather, Charlie Pappas, opened the business with his cousin as an ice cream and candy shop in downtown Manchester in 1917, a decade after the two had immigrated from Greece. For about 40 years, the family business had several iterations and locations in the area before consolidating operations in 1969 to the current location on Route 3 in Manchester’s North End.


New Hampshire politics revolve around these famous chicken tenders

Chris Pappas doesn’t want to politicize his restaurant’s chicken tenders.

In campaign-saturated New Hampshire, the Puritan Backroom’s oil-drenched fried chicken may be one of the few things the state’s most steadfast partisans can agree on. The 98-year-old Manchester institution is a political hotbed and routine campaign stop for both Democratic and Republican presidential candidates.

“The Puritan has been around almost as long as the New Hampshire primary itself,’’ Pappas says, referring to the Granite State’s first-in-the-nation presidential primary, a tradition that turns 100 in 2016.

Patrons are constantly lining up against the wood-paneled walls for the next table inside the restaurant’s back door entrance.

Mike Vlacich, the state director for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, recalls when the former secretary of state went table-to-table at the Backroom with Sen. Jeanne Shaheen and Gov. Maggie Hassan the weekend before the 2014 election, asking patrons for their support while diners munched on the “world-famous chicken tenders.’’

“Hillary is such a fan that she’s been back two times this year and is looking forward to more visits,’’ Vlacich adds.

Reporter John DiStaso, who has covered New Hampshire politics for 35 years for various news outlets, says the restaurant’s consistent draw of “regular’’ Manchester and New Hampshire people makes it a good stop.

“It’s not like some white tablecloth sort of place,’’ DiStaso says. “They have really good food, and the place is always crowded.’’

Pappas’ great-grandfather, Charlie Pappas, opened the business with his cousin as an ice cream and candy shop in downtown Manchester in 1917, a decade after the two had immigrated from Greece. For about 40 years, the family business had several iterations and locations in the area before consolidating operations in 1969 to the current location on Route 3 in Manchester’s North End.


New Hampshire politics revolve around these famous chicken tenders

Chris Pappas doesn’t want to politicize his restaurant’s chicken tenders.

In campaign-saturated New Hampshire, the Puritan Backroom’s oil-drenched fried chicken may be one of the few things the state’s most steadfast partisans can agree on. The 98-year-old Manchester institution is a political hotbed and routine campaign stop for both Democratic and Republican presidential candidates.

“The Puritan has been around almost as long as the New Hampshire primary itself,’’ Pappas says, referring to the Granite State’s first-in-the-nation presidential primary, a tradition that turns 100 in 2016.

Patrons are constantly lining up against the wood-paneled walls for the next table inside the restaurant’s back door entrance.

Mike Vlacich, the state director for Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign, recalls when the former secretary of state went table-to-table at the Backroom with Sen. Jeanne Shaheen and Gov. Maggie Hassan the weekend before the 2014 election, asking patrons for their support while diners munched on the “world-famous chicken tenders.’’

“Hillary is such a fan that she’s been back two times this year and is looking forward to more visits,’’ Vlacich adds.

Reporter John DiStaso, who has covered New Hampshire politics for 35 years for various news outlets, says the restaurant’s consistent draw of “regular’’ Manchester and New Hampshire people makes it a good stop.

“It’s not like some white tablecloth sort of place,’’ DiStaso says. “They have really good food, and the place is always crowded.’’

Pappas’ great-grandfather, Charlie Pappas, opened the business with his cousin as an ice cream and candy shop in downtown Manchester in 1917, a decade after the two had immigrated from Greece. For about 40 years, the family business had several iterations and locations in the area before consolidating operations in 1969 to the current location on Route 3 in Manchester’s North End.


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