Rise and Shine: A Breakdown of Boston’s Breakfast Pastry Golden Age

Consider this the city’s rebellion against all things Paleo and gluten-free: With new bakeries on the horizon and from-scratch treats increasingly in play at local restaurants, the breakfast-pastry scene in Boston has just entered its golden age. Here, we break it all down, one butter-loaded croissant layer at a time.

Opening Soon

boston pastries

Photographs by Bruce Peterson

After a stint at Cape Cod’s PB Boulangerie, French pastry chef Frederic Robert is setting up shop (as of press time, any day now) at 517 Columbus Avenue with protégé and business partner Hana Quon. Their project, Café Madeleine, will specialize in the namesake seashell-shaped cakes, but also in dangerously rich croissants. Over at 492 Tremont Street, the Gallows team will open Blackbird Doughnuts, with a wide selection of yeast, cake, and filled doughnuts in flavors like vanilla bean (1). The project won’t debut until late fall, but you can sample their creations right now at the restaurant’s Sunday brunch. Over in Somerville, the team behind Bloc 11 and Diesel Café will launch Forge Baking Company by mid-September. The 70-seat space at 626A Somerville Avenue will offer goods like savory zucchini Pop-Tarts (2) and jam-swirled babkas. By early October, Bagelsaurus will open at 1796 Massachusetts Avenue in Porter Square, showcasing hand-shaped, long-fermented bagel masterpieces (options include seeded wheat (3)).


Somerville’s Union Square Donuts is scheduled to move to a larger location at 20 Bow Street. In addition to its signature creations (in flavors like maple-bacon and hibiscus) it will offer an expanded coffee program and new pastries. Meanwhile, Euro-chic Tatte Bakery & Café will continue empire-building with the opening of its fifth location, in the Café Vanille space on Beacon Hill, early this fall.

Stepping Up Brunch

boston pastries

Photographs by Bruce Peterson

At Brookline’s Ribelle, pastry chef Jake Novick-Finder is producing monstrous sticky buns (4) and house-made bagels, crafted with a sourdough starter and rapid-boiled in malt-syrup-laced water in the restaurant’s pasta cooker. Island Creek Oyster Bar pastry chef Lauren Kroesser has revved up the restaurant’s brunch pastry basket, adding items like chocolate babka (5) and kouign-amann, a caramelized relative of the croissant. Brunch at Cambridge’s Puritan & Company brings house-baked treats from pastry chef Erica Wells, including a coconut–dulce de leche Danish and orange-cinnamon monkey bread (6).

Making Guest Appearances


Photographs by Bruce Peterson

Party of Two, a joint project from No. 9 Park alum Stephanie Cmar and baker Justin Burke, is popping up every Friday at State Park, in Kendall Square, offering Cmar’s doughnuts and Burke’s inventive Pop-Tarts (including apricot-raspberry (7)). In Cambridge, Jessica Porto has scrapped plans to turn her company, Brown Butter Bakery, into a brick-and-mortar shop, but she’ll continue to supply Toscanini’s with pastries and cookies (like her Nutella-filled croissant twist (8) ). Breakfast sandwiches and eggs Benedict have vastly improved at places like Moody’s Delicatessen and Commonwealth, thanks to Stone & Skillet, whose crumpetlike muffins (9) are made in Medford (and conveniently sold in Commonwealth’s market).

Leah Mennies
Leah Mennies Leah Mennies, Senior Food Editor at Boston Magazine lmennies@bostonmagazine.com