Sipping coffee by the sea in Scituate on a summer day
WHO’S IN CHARGE From the day Mary Ellen Stoddard got the idea to buy the Lucky Finn Café to the day she sealed the deal was exactly three months. That was in June 2017 and since then, Stoddard has expanded to year-round service and added a few menu items, but otherwise hasn’t changed much at this beautiful café on Scituate Harbor.
In fact, the Norwell resident is about to open a second Lucky Finn at the brand new Merchants Row in Hanover. The second café will have more space for cooking and storage than the Scituate location, which is housed in the single downstairs room of a building constructed on stilts over the water. Lucky Finn is among the places with the best views on the South Shore, and maybe the only one where you can take a seat on the water for the price of a cup of coffee.
To pay homage to the original café, Stoddard is installing a large screen at the new Hanover outpost, where she’ll stream a live feed from the video camera she has on the Scituate café’s back deck.
“I think that will be really fun,” said Stoddard. “You can be having a hot drink in Norwell in the winter, and see what’s happening on the harbor.”
THE LOCALE Housed in a gorgeous cedar shack perched above a small boat pier, the café’s location is outstanding. The interior is a shabby-chic mix of bleached white wood, distressed wood tables, rattan chairs, and big windows with expansive views of the harbor from every seat. Most summer days, the doors and windows are all open so instead of air conditioning, breezes and sea smells fill the place. Snag a stool on the rear deck and watch summer play out across the harbor.
ON THE MENU I love coffeehouses that serve more than just baked goods, and Lucky Finn does. Of course, it wouldn’t be a café worth mentioning without good coffee, and Stoddard’s got that covered. We’ve had many of Lucky Finn’s espresso drinks and the flavor of the single-origin, mildly roasted beans, from Barrington Coffee Roasting Co. in Lee, Mass., isn’t too dark or too light, but just right. A selection of other drinks is nicely curated, with the freshly squeezed lemonade ($3.75) a standout. (Would that it were served in a glass for sipping by the sea, not plastic!)
The small all-day menu offers a variety of choices, especially for a spot that has no kitchen. There’s something tasty and nourishing for everybody, vegans and the gluten-averse included. Fresh pastries arrive daily from Pain D’Avignon in Hyannis, and there are savory sandwiches, salads, a couple soups, and more.
If you don’t want bread, the power bowl ($8.95) is a deconstructed breakfast sandwich with baked eggs, quinoa, cheddar, and ripe avocado over a bed of greens. Lobster rolls (market rate, $19.50 that day) are a good option for visiting guests who want a piece of New England, and the grilled cheese ($6.95) and the tuna melt ($8.95) both hit the spot.
Each bite of the humble veggie hummus wrap ($6.95) is a surprising burst of fresh goodness in a party of cukes, carrots, spinach, and red onion, but the wraps are small here. Same goes for the BLT and avocado wrap ($7.95) — it’s wonderful but even better if you choose sourdough, as is the very tasty cranberry walnut chicken salad sandwich ($7.95).
Whatever you order, every seat in the house is pure summer.
Lucky Finn Café, 206 Front St., Scituate. 781-378-2932, www.luckyfinncafe.com .