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The Dartmouth
April 18, 2024 | Latest Issue
The Dartmouth

The Works Cafe opens downtown Hanover location

The restaurant chain, which emphasizes sustainability and community service, will provide another casual dining option for students and Hanover residents.


The Works Cafe, a chain of 11 fast-casual, sustainability-oriented restaurants around New England, opened a new location in Hanover on Jan. 8. The cafe is located next to the Dartmouth Co-Op on 25 South Main Street and is open daily from 6 a.m. to 8 p.m.

The cafe offers a variety of beverages, breakfast items and sandwiches, including several gluten-free, vegan and vegetarian options, according to its menu. The chain also maintains a focus on employee welfare, organic ingredients and sustainability, according to The Works Cafe brand ambassador Caitlin Staffanson.

According to Staffanson, who has worked for The Works Cafe since 2017, the restaurant “thoughtfully sources all of [its] food whenever possible.” She added that the chain utilizes “very few items that are technically trash,” with “essentially everything” used by the store being compostable or recyclable. Staffanson also noted that the business, which has been operating for 35 years, has consistently worked to increase its level of sustainability.

“We’ve just continued to improve on our model, improve on our food and improve on our customer service,” she said. 

Staffanson said that the most popular items on the cafe’s menu are bagels, breakfast sandwiches, sandwiches and smoothies. She noted that the super chicken melt and bacon avocado quinoa bowl are two of the most widely purchased items at the store.

Tulio Huggins ’23, who ordered a turkey avocado bacon sandwich and a cappuccino at The Works Cafe, said that he enjoyed the food, and that the store had great service.

“It’s cool having a new space to be in around campus and to not go to just the same spaces,” Huggins said.

Richard French, CEO and founder of The Works Cafe, expressed enthusiasm about the Hanover location’s grand opening and noted that they had a “packed house” only 15 to 20 minutes after the doors were unlocked.

“There’s a lot of people,” French said. “There’s a lot of excitement here.”

French founded The Works Cafe in 1988 in Manchester, Vermont, according to the cafe’s website. French said that his motive “was to start a company that from the beginning was a good corporate citizen,” inspired by companies such as Ben & Jerry’s. 

“The future plans for The Works Cafe are to continue to do more good,” French said.

The company operates on three primary principles: “people, profit and planet” and wants to both “minimize [its] impact in the environment” and take care of its workers, he added.

French noted that while the company hopes to “grow out more in Northern New England,” it will “be really selective about growth” due to the business’s core values. 

However, The Works Cafe is not completely new to the Dartmouth community, as it also operates a location at the Dartmouth Hitchcock Medical Center, Staffanson said. She explained that there are several differences between The Works Cafe in Hanover and the DHMC location, mainly that the DHMC cafe “has a slightly reduced menu,” and a more communal atmosphere, rather than a traditional cafe feel. 

French noted that it is important for a business to be adaptable to be able to experience continued growth.

“We see that things are adapting daily,” French said. “And so [the new generation is] going to have to continue to adapt and evolve at a quicker speed than their parents or the older generation have and embrace that.”