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Flour Bakery

A bakery and cafe in Boston, MA

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An insider's look at the ultimate trifecta: Service, Quality, and Taste!

  • Mar 2, 2010
  • by

Flour Bakery is gourmet, French-inspired bakery and cafe dreamed up by Joanne Chang and located in Boston, MA. I had the pleasure of working for Joanne for about 2 years when I lived in Boston during college. I want to introduce this as a bias for my review....though I think it gives me more insight, if anything :)

Flour Bakery was just your above-average, artisan, neighborhood bakery until 2007 when Bobby Flay challenged Joanne Change to a bake-off for his show "Throwdown". The food picked was her famous Sticky Sticky Buns. Long story short, she won, and things were never the same after such an awesome level of exposure. I was a new employee when the show aired, so I quickly got used to seeing lines out the door daily and depressing out-of-state visitors who just COULDN'T believe we SOLD OUT of THE #1 REASON they vacationed to Boston. You'd never believe how many customer fights I witnessed over a mere blob of dough smothered in maple glaze. Yum.

Sinfully delicious!
FORMER STAFF TIP: Share one with a friend. Or two. They are as big as your head and if you eat one yourself you WILL need a nap after. Or maybe an insulin injection.

But sticky buns are child's play compared to Joanne's other pastry concoctions. Since the bakery is French-inspired, many breakfast-y baked goods are made from brioche (a slightly sweet dough made with eggs and butter), such as:

Craqueline: a brioche dough folded over candied orange peel and topped with almond paste. An acquired taste (the orange peel can be slightly bitter) but grew to be one of my favorites. The almonds give a great sweetness and texture.
FORMER STAFF TIP: Don't be scared - go for it. The craquline is greatly underrated.

Chocolate Brioche: A brioche log baked full of ganache (chocolate and cream mixture). Very rich and heavy.

Raspberry Pop Tart: Exactly what it sounds like! A flaky crust filled with raspberry jam and covered with glaze

Or, if you want to follow the official Flour motto and "Eat Dessert First", you need to check out these cakes!

Lemon Curd Raspberry Cake: Lemon pound cake brushed with lemon syrup, filled with lemon curd, crushed raspberries, and buttercream. Slightly sour and sweet and will win over ANYONE who claims to hate lemon (I did!).
FORMER STAFF TIP:  Pre-order an 8" version of this cake for birthdays. Instant hit.

Tartlettes: Miniature bite-sized versions of larger-sized tarts - from L to R there is lemon curd with blueberry, chocolate ganache, and my PERSONAL favorite, Milky Way - rich & creamy chocolate mousse with chocolate shavings. Goes so nicely with the slightly-salty tart shell!

If sweets aren't your thing, there is also a variety of savory treats to try - in addition to a full pastry staff, Flour has a kitchen team that cooks up daily lunch specials and weekly take out dinners. Part of working the counter at Flour is to not only make coffee drinks and serve baked goods, but to also whip up delicious lunch sandwiches! Everything (and I mean EVERYTHING - desserts too) is made in-house and layered on top of delicious house-made foccacia bread (bread infused with olive oil).

Applewood Smoked Bacon, mayo, tomatoes, arugula, and the secret ingredient - a splash of balsamic vinaigrette. I don't eat bacon so I never had it, but it's certainly won it's fair share of awards in Boston!
FORMER STAFF TIP: Substitute mayo for guacamole spread!

Roasted Chicken with guacamole spread, jicama (seasoned with lime and honey) and greens. I ate the guacamole spread every day for my staff meal. I wish I was exaggerating.
FORMER STAFF TIP: Get cheddar cheese added.

They also have a grilled portobello sandwich with pesto spread, tomatoes, and mozzarella that I used to eat like it was my job (well, I guess it sort of was...). I'm drooling PROFUSELY just thinking about it.
FORMER STAFF TIP: Get 2 portobello melts. You'll want more later.

If you're wondering about drinks, Flour has the generic gamut of coffee and espresso drinks, but tea is their real forte.
FORMER STAFF TIP: All loose teas come from a local distributor and I highly recommend every single one. In the summertime, make sure you get an iced chai latte (soy!) or a raspberry seltzer (like an Italian soda). You'll thank me later. I'm sure they've added even more amazing choices to the menu since I've left Boston!

There are countless other items to try at Flour, you really just have to check it out yourself! Not only is EVERYTHING homemade, but you can't go wrong with any of it. Seriously. When customers asked for recommendations I would tell them to pick a flavor combo they liked (fruity, chocolately, etc) and try ANYTHING based on that. Customers always joked that I just said everything was good because I "had to" but that is such a lie...I legitimately thought everything was to-die-for.

Customer Service
In addition to having AMAZING food and drinks, customer service is top priority. The management really cares about what they do and ensures the highest quality of interaction, period. When I worked there I was trained to ensure that I could rattle off every ingredient in every item (and I still remember, hence this review! ;D) as well as politely accommodate customer requests and issues (remember when I mentioned the sticky bun saga?) Joanne really runs a solid business..she cares about all the things other businesses so easily let fall by the wayside.
FORMER STAFF TIP:   Ignore the line and smile! We have fun if you have fun.

I worked at the original Flour Bakery at 1595 Washington Street in Boston's South End. This location is smallest and can get a little crowded if you go at the wrong time, but the vibe is decidedly cozy. It very much is a neighborhood bakery - I can probably still tell you the names of all the regulars, where they live, and what they do.
Avoid visiting in the early morning or around lunchtime - that's when area workers/citizens are getting their coffee/lunch and lines can be insane. Additionally, weekends are always insane, so either call ahead to order or deal with it. :)

The second Flour (where they filmed "Throwdown") is located at 12 Farnsworth Street in Boston's Fort Point Channel, right by the Children's Museum and the Institute of Contemporary Art. It is a much bigger store, perfect for the more tourist-y crowds that tend to roll through that area. The only time I wished I worked there instead of the original is when Conan O'Brien reportedly came in!

There is a Flour 3 on the way (Joanne is an entrepreneurial machine!), apparently to be located in Boston's MIT/Central Square/Kendall Square area in Cambridge.

Take my advice and visit...you won't be disappointed in any way. And don't forget to order an extra vegan chocolate cake for me! :)

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March 03, 2010
Just peeped this on the Lunch FB fan page!  Thaks for the insider tips!  Now I have a real reason to visit Boston.  For sticky b--I mean... my BFF out there ;P
March 03, 2010
Book me on a plane to Boston please!!! ;)
March 03, 2010
whoa! more food reviews to make my stomach growl...LOL! Nice one, Melissa!
March 03, 2010
That raspberry pop tart is making me want to cry. I might have to have my Boston friends send me a little care package soon. ;) Great review, as always, Melissa!
March 02, 2010
Oooh, thanks! I will certainly have to make a trip here considering I am so close, it would be sinful not to! Especially since my husband would die for those sticky buns! :) 
March 02, 2010
awesome, I'll be sure to find a good excuse to get to Boston
March 02, 2010
Make sure you order some sticky buns ahead of time on the phone! They WILL be sold out when you get there! ;)
March 02, 2010
I am about to attack the screen on my computer......
March 02, 2010
Awesome review!!!! As a sugar addict.. you're killing me right now : )
March 02, 2010
You're going to need to mail order some sticky buns or brioche...
March 02, 2010
We can do it, seriously! We just have to pay for overnight shipping, lol. $$$$$
More Flour Bakery reviews
Quick Tip by . February 27, 2010
I worked here in college and have nothing but good things to say! I can't wait to give Flour the full review it deserves!
About the reviewer
Melissa Aquino ()
Ranked #62
Born and raised in NJ, relocated to Boston, MA to study at Emerson College, transplanted to Hollywood, CA to get my career started on the fairer coast.      I love hiking, eating new … more
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About this restaurant


Via Flour Bakery.com:

Crusty, crackling baguettes warm from the steaming oven ... buttery, raisin-filled brioche shaped in a swirl and drizzled with sweet icing ... silky-smooth double chocolate truffle tarts ... lemon curd cakes filled with raspberry preserves ... fresh, made-to-order salads and sandwiches.

Flour's concept was borne out of a passionate desire to share the simple pleasures that mouth-watering pastries and foods can bring.

Imagine enjoying a muffin still warm from the oven, made with real butter and fresh fruit, alongside an oversized mug of café au lait. For lunch, choose among daily specials such as cheesy polenta with spicy tomato sauce or an oven-baked asparagus and potato torte. Bring home a beautifully decorated birthday cake made with flourless chocolate cake layers, rich chocolate mousse, and crushed raspberries. We offer buttery breakfast pastries, grand homemade cookies, luscious tarts, gorgeous cakes, and sandwiches, soups, and salads.

Everything is prepared in-house by our professional kitchen staff. Our business includes morning commuters stopping in for breakfast, area employees and neighbors enjoying lunch, friends meeting for coffee and talk, office workers seeking to satisfy their 4pm sugar craving, people picking up bread, salad, or dessert for their evening meal.

Along with our quality product, our success depends on a well-trained, professional service staff. We strive to be constantly and consistently friendly, attentive, and ...

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Address: 1595 Washington Street OR 12 Farnsworth Street
Phone: 617.267.4300
Hours: M-F: 7-9, Sat: 8-6, Sunday: 9-5
Cuisine: Baked goods, Pastries, American Bakery, French Bakery
Attire: Casual
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