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A kitchen of her own, in her hometown


Photo Joan Wilder for Boston Globe


Two black-and-white photographs of chef-owner Jennifer Daley hang on the wall in the back of The Epicurean Kitchen in Hanover. One is of Daley and Julia Child, and one of Daley and Martha Stewart. Child, known for her generosity with young Boston chefs, periodically taught at Boston University’s culinary school when Daley studied there in the 1990s. The photo with Stewart was taken when Daley was a chef in the Westport, Conn., kitchen of Martha Stewart Living Television. Since opening her business in December 2015, Daley has been hanging her hat in her own kitchen, in her hometown, cooking the stocks, meats, sauces, and sweets she uses to make her sandwiches, salads, soups, and “grab and go” dinners.

Photo Joan Wilder for Boston Globe

Photo Joan Wilder for Boston Globe


The Epicurean Kitchen is hidden in plain sight in the Village Square strip mall on Route 53, about a mile south of the Hanover Mall. It’s directly across the street from the old Starland amusement park, now a sprawling sports complex with a big sign that reads The U at Starland. Daley and her brother renovated the former Flavors of Italy deli, creating a pleasingly pretty space. Orange metal tables, taboret-style chairs, recycled barn-wood siding, big windows, and a couple of upholstered chairs give the place a welcoming, industrial-farmhouse feel. Large blackboard menus cover the walls behind the counter and list the local purveyors where Daley buys her foods.


You have to love a terrifically made grilled cheese (think of the intense care Jon Favreau took making one in the 2014 comedy “Chef”), and we do. Daley offers a great house version ($8.75) with cheddar, caramelized onions, and applewood smoked bacon as well as grilled cheese-of-the-week specials. She even serves a kid’s grilled cheese sided with her homemade potato chips ($5.50). All the soups are made with homemade stock, and we were happy with the chicken and rice ($4.25/5.25) one cold March day. On another visit, the chili was perfect — not too thick, not too thin, but just right. We love any sandwich with a (locally sourced) fried egg on top that sauces itself with spilled yoke, like the Jen ($9): a French roll with cheddar, romaine, bacon, avocado, and sriracha mayo. The Greek salad ($8.25) is fresh and good with sunflower seeds, roasted tomatoes, cucumbers, olives, and feta. Other salads, for future visits, include a quinoa with butternut squash, spinach, and cranberries ($8.50); a beet ($8.50) with mesclun, goat cheese, roasted garlic, and homemade croutons ($8.50); and a spinach with pear, bacon, pepitas, and blue cheese ($8.50).

Chicken grilled cheese Photo Adam Souza for Boston Globe

Chicken grilled cheese
Photo Adam Souza for Boston Globe

Daley’s grab-and-go dishes are main courses with sides in metal to-go containers, ready to put in the oven for 20 or so minutes. (Their covers have simple instructions.) They come in small and large sizes, and the kitchen offers four selections a day that change weekly. The small meatloaf ($21) with mashed potatoes was big (enough for four regular eaters, not teenagers), and came with a large side of fresh corn stripped from the cob. Same with the chicken Marsala ($23), which was sided with a box of very good fresh fettuccini. At home, I boiled water for the pasta while baking the chicken for 20 minutes.

The delicious homemade potato chips ($1.50) are packaged in small, sealed paper bags and various baked goods in cellophane: Daley isn’t using much, if any, plastic. Very, very nice.

The Epicurean Kitchen, 644 Washington St., Hanover, 781-826-2101,

Joan Wilder can be reached at