Hamburger What? – A Review

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November 16, 2013 by gossiportsmouth2

Cemita Shack

2454 Lafayette Rd, Portsmouth, NH 03801
603-294-0261 | Open Tues-Wed 11 AM – 3 PM; Thur-Sat 11 AM – 8 PM

There was that mexican food buzz this past summer when it seemed a new burrito shop was opening once a week. Truth be told, there was one burrito shop that opened up that one week. But enough about that because we went to the Cemita Shack, and we’re in love.

Hopefully our love will be long-lasting like our courtship with STREET, the purveyors of said Cemita Shack, and not like STREET’s other former outposts: The Station and Fresh Local. We’ve fallen in love; we’ve fallen hard. Don’t disappear. Please?

There’s a vibe to this place which is completely different from its most recent past: a Taco Bell. And thank you for this. To the artist(s) who made Cemita Shack appear as an explosion of baja hoodies: thank you. And that may sound sarcastic, which is normally our m.o., but we mean it. Cemita Shack has got style.


What else does this foodie outpost have? Food. Hello?! We filled up on the classic cemitas. Which is what exactly? We’ll let the Shack’s website explain: “a sandwich, or more accurately, a torta, harkening from Puebla, Mexico. And oddly, is still spottily represented across this great land. Our version goes like this: choice of meat, veggie burger or seafood patty; a slab of pan seared queso blanco (crisp browned outside, cheesy gooey good inside), pickled onions, cilantro, avocado, and chipotle mayo for just pico spiciness, piled on a grilled sesame studded bun.” You can accurately translate this to: effing delicious burger which will kick other burgers in the ‘nads (and laugh).


So, if you’re asking yourself: can an entire restaurant survive on the sale of just burgers? The answer is yes. But this place goes beyond and delivers with other delicious bits to nosh on. There’s your choice of french fries, tater tots, or corn chips in a smattering of flavor/topping choices. There’s a cemita salad (you don’t need us to explain this one, do you?). And tacos! We are wholly satisfied.


Wait. We can’t just write tater tots without expounding on the extreme brilliance of quality tots. We definitely do not have a love of tater tots at the Napoleon Dynamite level, but we’ll swoon over anything starchy and fried for a good while. We had ours tossed with some mexican spices, which then coated our fingers towards the end of our meal. Which then allowed us to proclaim: “Finger-licking good.” There’s something about this place which wants us to have all of our parties here forever and ever. So maybe it’s a bit distant for a walk from town, but it’s worth the drive. It’s worth getting full on. It’s worth your patronage. Totally.


Of note: Cemita Shack is BYOB. And we strongly suggest you do. They even have suggestions on how they can use your ‘OB to make something great. For example, bring some tequila and the Cemita Amigas will mix it with grapefruit seltzer to make a paloma. There’s so much we are thankful for about this place.

Overall rankings:

  • Car with burger on roof parked outside: CHECK
  • Yum in between sesame seed buns: YES
  • Fried potato variety: ABUNDANT
  • Mad style: HOLLER
  • Your Mom: CHECK, PLEASE
  • We’re hungry like wolves again.


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