After spending 31 years as an engineer with IBM, Roger Larson opened Cranberry’s in 2003, which he says “is a little like engineering with organic chemistry thrown in for seasoning.” Located in an 1884 building, the casual cafe with Victorian elegance fosters a friendly atmosphere: staffers ask who you are when you place an order. “We call your name out when we bring your food,” says Larson. “This way everyone knows each other’s names — kind of like Cheers.” But there the Boston references end; the rest of the cafe is thoroughly Valley-centric, including its popular Turkey with Cranberry Chutney sandwich. The idea for this Thanksgiving-like lunch came from Hyde Park’s most famous resident, FDR. “At his famous ‘hot dog lunch’ with King George VI, he served turkey with cranberry jelly,” explains Larson. “I thought to myself, ‘That sounds like a good sandwich,’ and put it on my menu.”
Served on either bread, a roll, or in a wrap, the sandwich includes slices of gluten-free turkey breast, which share the stage with romaine lettuce and housemade chutney. In that original blend are a multitude of Larson’s “secret spices” (he did confess to cinnamon, cloves, and ginger) as well as apples, orange juice, honey, dried apricots, and — naturally — cranberries.
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Another popular lunch dish is the Alex: grilled salmon on rye bread with melted Swiss cheese, mustard, and baby arugula. If this combination tempts your palate, be sure to thank Alex, the eccentric employee who invented it. “He was just goofing around one day and made up a sandwich,” Larson says. “And we actually sell a ton of them!”