Saturday, May 5, 2012

Daily Harvest, Danvers

Coffee Maven Review
On the way in, I noticed this antique coffee grinder, similar to some
I have seen in the coffee museum in 
Photo: Dr. Vernon Domingo
I was lucky enough to have my birthday lunch with friends -- and fellow geographers -- at the Daily Harvest in Danvers, north of Boston. We were bringing our EarthView program to nearby Middleton, and since the day was ending early, we decided to have lunch afterwards (often our Friday lunches are school cafeteria fare, which is usually decent but sometimes odd).

Checking late the night before, I found a pub nearby whose online reviews were so negative that they seemed like a series of parodies -- exaggerated complaints about food and service, mixed with a few die-hard loyal customers. I found these so amusing that I posted them on Facebook, and immediately received advice from a former student not to eat in Middleton at all, but rather to enjoy fresh, local food at the Daily Harvest Cafe in Danvers.

This turned out to be a fantastic recommendation! The five of us selected five very different sandwiches from the eclectic menu, and we were all impressed by the quality of the ingredients and the care taken in their preparation. One member of our party exclaimed that hers was the best sandwich she had ever had. Of course, I had mine with a large, fair-trade iced coffee. It was as delicious as the meal itself.

Even better than the food is the service. Unlike many cafes I have visited, the management of the Daily Harvest clearly values its employees, who in turn value the customers. Since it was a busy lunch time, five or six people were busy taking orders, preparing the food, and bringing food to the tables. They were knowledgeable about the products and gracious. When they saw that my friends had brought a birthday cake (not knowing that we were headed to such a nice bakery), the staff started clearing our plates and brought out small plates for our cake, and invited me back for a birthday treat on the house. Since we frequently bring EarthView to this region, I'm planning to take them up on it.

This independent cafe, incidentally, thrives next door to a Dunkin' Donuts and within a half mile of no fewer than ten of the hellish franchises. The location of this cafe is quite convenient, though coming from the north we had our doubts. Where Maple Street becomes High Street, the signage and numbering are distinctly New England, meaning that it is difficult to align what the GPS is telling us with what we are seeing on the ground. Putting more faith in the voice from the dash than in our observations of street signs, however, we made it in tact. Leaving was a bit more of an adventure, as the cloverleaf leading to I-95/128/Route 1 is under construction, so that we had to thread our way among construction vehicles and pop out onto the interstate at full speed through a gap in one of those sound-proofing walls!

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We are done with EarthView visits to the North Shore for this year, but I think we will find our way back to the Daily Harvest Cafe in the autumn, if not before.

-- James Hayes-Bohanan


  1. I had the California Rubin, which was the best sandwich I have ever had. I would love to go back and plan to soon.

  2. I'm glad you took my recommendation and liked Daily Harvest Cafe. I kind of thought you would. :-D