Bottom line: Deli and butcher shop hopes to make the cut in White River Junction

  • John Lippman. Copyright (c) Valley News. May not be reprinted or used online without permission. Send requests to

Valley News Business Writer
Published: 11/21/2020 10:24:12 PM
Modified: 11/21/2020 10:23:56 PM

Signs were evident early that standing in front of a stove or behind a butcher block was Kevin Halligan’s calling.

“My sister told me when I was 6 I was going to be a chef,” Halligan said while giving a tour of his newly opened deli and butcher shop, Funkalicious Market & Deli, in the former Kibby Equipment space across the street from Hartford Town Hall. “I was always in the kitchen helping my mother.”

Halligan, who grew up in Laconia, N.H., attracted a loyal following around the Seacoast and Lakes Region at several restaurants he’s run over the past 20 years. He recently relocated to the Upper Valley, where he has joined culinary ambitions with childhood friend and chef Dee Sonthikoummane to open Funkalicious, the latest addition to White River Junction’s food scene.

Halligan is known for the care he pays in sourcing, butchering, smoking and curing beef, pork and poultry. His meat case last week displayed cuts of Delmonico and New York strip steaks and filet mignon along with pork tenderloin and six different kinds of house-made sausage links stacked like logs on a platter (there’s fresh seafood, too, for pescatarians and the like).

“I’m a meat fanatic,” Halligan acknowledged.

He might make that flavor fanatic, as the descriptions of his sandwich board attest: roast beef (horseradish, pickled red onion, bib lettuce); hot pastrami grinder (mustard caviar, Swiss cheese, French bread); smoked pork cuban (pickled tomatoes, ham, gruyere, yellow mustard); curried chicken salad (candied bacon, greens, pickled onions, house naan) ...

I could go on, but you get the picture. Halligan and Sonthikoummane make sandwiches that don’t apologize — no avocados on toast here (unless it were to come with a slab of sirloin).

When Halligan first scoped out the former Kibby Equipment space — the two adjacent buildings, 101 Maple St. and 87 Maple St. — that had been acquired and repurposed by Upper Valley real estate developer Mike Davidson, he was first looking at taking the single west corner space.

But after juice and shake shack Royal Nutrition closed after barely 10 months, the adjacent storefront became available and the partners have taken it over for a new 16-seat restaurant to be called The Chef & Butcher, targeted for opening this winter.

“We were planning on doing a restaurant down the line but then this space became available so we decided to do it now. There are 14,000 cars that pass by here a day,” Halligan said.

Halligan’s motivation for moving to the Upper Valley was to be closer to his girlfriend, Angel Dubois, who also works at Funkalicious (as does Sonthikoummane’s fiancee, Ashlyn Arcouette). Although Halligan has at different times owned a bakery and breakfast/lunch cafe, a meat and seafood store, and two different high-end restaurants, he’s never before combined elements from all three of those concepts into a single location.

“This was the only thing I hadn’t done yet,” he said, pausing before saying he hasn’t opened Funkalicious simply to realize a previously unmet personal goal. “Plus there’s really a need for something like this here.”

The fine print

■GW Plastics, the Bethel and Royalton injection plastic mold maker that struck a $230 million deal in August to be acquired by Swedish company Nolato, has changed its name to Nolato GW, following completion of the transaction. Nolato reported the Vermont company already has added nearly $17 million to Nolato’s revenue in the third quarter. “Current management will remain with Nolato,” the company said of its Upper Valley leadership, reiterating the point it made at the time the deal was announced last summer.

■Springfield (Vt.) Regional Development Corporation said it received $300,000 in funding from the Vermont Community Foundation to help pay for “ongoing predevelopment work” at the former Park Street School in Springfield. PSS is slated to be the anchor of the Black River Innovation Campus, a multi-partnership effort to elevate the former manufacturing town into a digital economy hub.

The money will be used to complete “architectural and engineering work” on redevelopment of the school building, which will encompass loft apartments for entrepreneurs, offices, coworking spaces and an auditorium.

Bob Flint, executive director of SRDC, which is spearheading the project, declined to say how far along they are in raising the $23 million the redevelopment project is estimated to cost. “Not going to comment on that at this time,” Flint said via email. “Hopefully something to share in the near term.”

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