Jitto's Super Steak in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, looks more like a sprawling home than it does a proper restaurant. This feeling carries through to the inside, too, which has low ceilings and exposed wooden beams and an echo of familiar conversation between the bartender and the band of regulars seated around her. The neon glow of beer lights on the walls guides you through the dining room to a line of customers placing orders at a long take-out counter. And a glimpse into the open kitchen offers up the smells and sounds of a bustling restaurant, where the clang of metal spatulas on the flat-top griddle seems to keep time with the songs on the radio.
Jerry and Linda Nadeau opened Jitto's Super Steak in 1979. Kathy Nadeau and her late husband, Danny, took over the business from her in-laws in the mid-1980s. Kathy tells me that the name Jitto stems from the French pronunciation of “Jerry.”