Downtown spotlight: Chef Dave Manganello

Livin’ high on the hog

Riverside Barbeque Company’s Dave Manganello is the go-to for ‘cue

If you capture an alluring scent of meat wafting across the Main Street bridge in Downtown Nashua, you are enjoying the result of Dave Manganello’s 11 years in the food industry, and are close enough to his Riverside Barbeque Company that you should stop in.

Yes, Manganello attended Nashua Community College as well as Les Roches International School of Hotel Management in Bluche, Switzerland (earning a joint Associates Degree in Hospitality with a concentration in Restaurant Management), but his “lifelong obsession with barbecue” began decades earlier.

“I started cooking over an open fire circa 1979, in Poquoson, Virginia,” he explains. “That’s where I first put mammal flesh over fire. That began a lifelong obsession with barbecue, preserving and canning, along with other Scout Skills.”

He also names his father and a middle school instructor as important influences and inspirations. “Around 1986, my junior high school Shop teacher ‘Clyde Seymour’ at Afcent International School in The Netherlands first introduced to me to the ‘slow and low’ barbecue cooking technique (long time, low temperature). I was soon a backyard enthusiast.”

Dave Manganello, owner and chef at Riverside Barbeque Company.

53 Main Street
Downtown Nashua

“My father Rick Manganello was kind enough to bankroll our purchase of The Sausage King of Nashua,” he continued. Manganello’s beloved sausage-and-peppers cart was seen – and smelled – all around Nashua, from Home Depot to downtown. It soon became an irresistible enticer, and eventually, a restaurant on Main Street.

Now at that location for 8 years, Riverside Barbeque Company has expanded to twice its size and features live music on weekends. In addition to his signature meats, sauces and sides, Manganello cops to a new obsession. “I have been super into curing and pickling everything I can get my hands on; I think I have a problem,” he jokes.

Like many of our downtown restaurants, Riverside Barbeque is committed to sourcing ingredients as locally and seasonally as possible – whether it’s for the business or for home. “I had been fortunate enough to grab some duck at the Nashua Farmers Market a couple weeks ago,” he shares. “Smoked it for about three hours and hit it with some rub … A simple lunch. But nothing like the day-to-day ‘standard’ [commitment we have at work to local sourcing] all day, every day!”

Manganello says he enjoys being part of Dinner on Main Street: A Harvest Celebration. At this year’s event on Sept. 22, Riverside will be responsible for the fifth course: pulled pork on blueberry hoecakes – hickory-smoked pulled pork, blueberry cornbread pancakes, house coleslaw topped with sweet raspberry wine coulis.

“We’re always thrilled to help bring this uniquely Nashua meal together and relish the opportunity to work with the level-best culinary minds in town,” he states. “Typically, events like these are more competitive than collaborative, so it’s nice to band together for a fantastic event like this!”

Manganello sums up his passion for food as the satisfaction he derives from sharing new things with customers. “While the business of food service is often nothing to write home about, there is nothing like introducing someone to things that they might not ever think to seek out,” he explains.

“That look on someone’s face after having tasted something you put your soul into … priceless!”

“No one cooks to get rich in anything other than pride,” he jokes, “which make me wealthy beyond belief! Awards are nice, but we try to never get complacent, since the Nashua area has lots of great food outlets. We all appreciate your support, and I look forward to serving y’all at the Dinner on Main Street!”

Dave Manganello lives in Nashua’s Ward 5 with his wife of 25 years, Jen. They have three sons – Bobby, Andy and Jon – and a daughter, Maddy.

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