It's weekend brunch at Bread & Chocolate in Newton, and there's no shortage of freshly baked pastry — or people to eat it, for that matter. The usually fast-casual bakery offers brunch table service on the weekends, and the menu has all the classics, like eggs Benedict, croque madame, waffles, and breakfast sandwiches. There are a couple of specials as well, and on this visit, cheesy grits, sweet and spicy sweet potatoes, sautéed spinach, and poached eggs are the most popular.
The bakery is busy, and the owner, Eunice Feller, is in the dining room. She seems to know everyone as she exchanges big hugs with some arriving guests. She works her way from table to table and chats with people, ensuring that everyone is enjoying themselves. This adds to the already cheery vibe, making it feel like a party that she is hosting and to which everyone's invited.
A trio of women have made themselves at home, laughing loudly as they catch up. One woman asks for another cup of coffee, and for good measure, a cookie to accompany. What's a cup of coffee without a good cookie, she reasons aloud as the table erupts in laughter. She is asked what type of cookie she'd like, and upon hearing the list, she orders one of each, declaring that her fellow table mates will share.
A couple of tables over, a boy buries himself in a game while his parents catch up. They are deep in conversation. He looks up from his game only to take bites of his bagel and cream cheese. A woman sits in front of them by herself. She has no magazine, phone, or book to read; she simply seems to be taking it all in and enjoying the food.
While the dining room is happily chaotic, the bakery counter at the front sees a constant flow of traffic as well with lots of coffee and pastry orders to go. The zucchini bread is a standout, lightly spiced and dusted with a sugary oat crumble topping.
Even though some folks linger, the busiest wave of diners has gone by now, and the staff hurriedly clears tables and resets them for the next rush. Just as the room is put back in order, a family of three walks in and sits down to order. Another group of five comes in, followed by another two-top who can't decide what to order. They politely interrupt the table next to them to inquire what they have.
"It's the breakfast special, and it's delicious" the woman responds. They place an order for that as well as a breakfast sandwich. The coffee and cookie women have decided to get on with their day, but not before taking a couple of leftover cookies home with them. They cheerily leave, looking forward to their next weekend brunch.