By Dick and Elaine Winn
Atlantic News, Tuesday, January 18, 1994
[The following article is courtesy of Atlantic News.]
[Atlantic News Photo by Elaine Winn]
HAMPTON -- Yes sir (or madam)!
Handy Dan's at 650 Lafayette Rd. is open again! And the new owner, Brian Hayes, has brought convenience to Hampton in every sense of the word.
It looks like an ordinary convnience store . . . but it's not! as obvious as soon as you open the door and the scrumptious aroma of Tomato Florentine soup or Sicilian-style pizza with fresh, homemade pesto sauce wafts around your nostrils. A bevy of custom deli sandwiches dazzles your wich, the 'Handy Dan', a fajita of marinated grilled chicken and cheddar cheese, folded and cut so it won't make a mess if you eat it while driving.
"These are well-engineered sandwiches," said Jonathan Anderson, the food manager at Handy Dan's. (In a high-priced restaurant, his title would be 'executive chef') "We spent a lot of time thinking about this."
"The palate-pleasing station is in the far left corner of the store, where Jonathan works his culinary magic. He is a graduate of Johnson & Wales cooking college in Providence, RI, and one spoonful of any of his concoctions will tell you he was a Dean's List student.
Jonathan has designed the menu and taken charge of the direction in which Handy Dan's is headed. His culinary experience includes a stretch as chef for the Back Bay Restaurant group, which owns such places as the Atlantic Fish Company, Papparazzi's, and J.C. Hillard's, among others. He has incorporated a lot of his own knowledge in the recipes for Handy Dan's menu.
"I love cooking and I want people to know I love what I'm doing," said Jonathan.
Brian and Jonathan have made a commitment to providing consistent quality by serving the freshest products available. Bakery products are delivered daily and only fresh-chopped vegetables are used.
"If you're willing to pay for quality, we have it at a reasonable price," says Brian.
They back it up with top-named products, known for quality. Handy Dan's is the only place in Hampton serving Boar's Head Meats in deli form. (It's also served restaurant-style at Widow Fletcher's.) Boar's Head Meats, privately-owned in New York, has the freshest products on the market (processed today and served to-morrow). They don't sell to chains, just independently-owned stores.
"By summer, we will have a deli case with any cold cut Boar's Head makes . . . and cheese, too," said Jonathan.
Their fresh-roasted coffee in several flavors comes from the Piscataqua Coffee Roasting Company. And there are bagels. Not just ordinary bagels, but Brooklyn Bagels, made with water from Brooklyn, New York, which enriches the enjoyment 100 percent.
They plan to do catering as a separate business based at Handy Dan's. No extravagant menus will be offered, just great food for the business and meeting market, or for showers and other functions.
Brian and his wife Diane (who helps out quite a bit), live in the building with their two sons, Christopher, 5, and Matthew, 2. This is probably a good idea, since the store is open from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. 7 days a week.
Handy Dan's provides free delivery, which is wonderful news for everyone in the area who has to work through lunch. To order something delicous, phone 926-5316.
The Hampton area welcomes Handy Dan's and extends best wishes to Brian and Jonathan, who are sure to be very busy, very soon.