WHO’S IN CHARGE People are drawn to the restaurant business from all different backgrounds and succeed in as many ways. Talk to Mary Ellen Stoddard, owner of the new, second Lucky Finn Café at the equally new Merchants Row in Hanover and you learn her secret: She has her hand in absolutely every part of her cafés’ operations, from food prep procedures and purchasing to building operations, technology, and staffing. “I was the youngest of 10 and have always been a pitch-right-in person,” said Stoddard, who jumped into the restaurant business in 2017 when she bought the existing Lucky Finn on Scituate Harbor. The original location doesn’t have a kitchen so Stoddard was forced to use a remote commercial kitchen for some menu items, but, now, she’s got her own.
“This location is so different for us — it’s three times the size and has a full kitchen,” said Stoddard. The café also houses five beautifully designed remote work spaces for rent which must have the best amenities on site of any other work spaces for miles around.
“I love Lucky Finn — I go there three or four times a week,” said Frank Giglio II of FP Giglio Properties, site developers. “They do a really good job connecting with the community.”
THE LOCALE Lucky Finn opened on Oct. 25, at the new, still-launching Merchants Row on Route 53 in Hanover. The 16-business retail complex consists of three buildings connected with open-space walkways. It’s a good-looking development built on the ruins of the quaint old Merchants Row, which was demolished in 2018. The beautiful new cafe was designed to pay homage to the original with heavy raw wood beams, white shiplap, and walls of windows. Three chandeliers sparkle prettily over window and bar seats (with recharging outlets), a banquet with throw pillows, marble-top tables, and even a nook with two comfy chairs, hidden away. But the big fun reason the café looks and feels especially good is a spectacular 16-by-9-foot screen on one wall streaming a live video feed of Scituate Harbor from a camera on the back deck of the Scituate café.
ON THE MENU Bottom line for a place like this: The espresso drinks and drip house coffees are very well done and so are many of the teas and other hot and cold drinks. I so appreciate that the café filters its water: Check out the black canisters and copper piping construction on the wall near the espresso machine. I like that the chai latte ($3.75/$4) is a house-brewed chai tea with steamed milk and no sweetener, so you can add you own. The fresh-squeezed lemonade ($3.75) is still a standout and now there’s a lovely, mild hibiscus ginger kombucha ($4/$4.75) on tap (ask for it without ice). Favored eats include various baked goods, sandwiches, salads, soups, acai bowls, desserts, and more. With the new kitchen, Stoddard is refining the menu as she goes. Among my go-to lunches are the delicious cranberry walnut chicken salad ($8), ordered on the terrific sourdough, and the tomato pesto mozzarella panini ($8). The garden salad ($8) is a good lunch ordered with a scoop of tuna fish or chicken salad (add $3.50). For something small and savory, the clam chowder ($6) still works its classic magic. And, for sweets, the macaroons ($2.50/3 for $7) from Weymouth’s Farmhouse Baking Co. are a standout: so good with a coffee at tea time.
Lucky Finn Café, 2053 Washington St., Hanover, 781-347-3100, www.luckyfinncafe.com.Joan Wilder can be reached at email@example.com.