Flour Bakery

After two people told me I had to check out Flour Bakery on my most recent trip to Boston, I made sure to leave room for a stop on the way to the train. With 8 locations, it’s not hard to find one in your area. Normally, a chain worries me a bit. How can they maintain their originality? Will they be consistently good? In the case of Flour Bakery, you will totally forget there are multiple locations (and cookbooks).

Lending to the local feel is the dedication to social responsibility and area-specific items. When you buy a cookie jar, you get eight cookies and the warm fuzzies that come with knowing you’ve just helped donate to charity. And near the door you can find a mini lending library and a list of neighborhood happenings.

I’m not really a sweets person, but when you hear a place is MOST famous for their sticky buns, you get one. It was, in fact, quite good. Glazed rather than frosted it’s super sweet but won’t kill ya. It’s got more if the caramelized flavor that pure sugar. They were also nice and fresh – none of that dry on the sides business because they were sitting out too long. If I had more time I would have actually ordered the sticky bun bread pudding because that’s way more my jam, but it should be eaten warm and we needed to catch a train.

While they’re famous for the sweets, they’re pretty amazing when it comes to the savory. I couldn’t decide which sandwich to get, but thankfully they offer half sandwiches (for only $5.50) so I got two of those. Really, the half is the size of a full so that’s quite the deal.

The two sandwiches I ordered were completely different, right down to the type if bread. Different but both great. The first was mortadella + mozzarella (housemade mozz, pistachio and arugula pesto, tomato, and cherry pepper crema on sesame focaccia). Sounds like a lot going on with both the pesto and crema, but they played off each other really well. The other sandwich was the roasted lamb (lamb, cucumber raita, shaved fennel, herbed tahini, and ras al hanout on a sliced bread – can’t remember what type but it was soft in the middle with a nice crust). It’s rare to get the full flavors of a meal, in these cases an Italian and a Mediterranean meal, respectively, condensed into sandwiches, but they nailed it. I couldn’t choose a favorite.

It’s rare that I would think of a chain cafe as someplace I’d like to return to, but Flour will remain on my radar for all future Boston trips.