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Is Au Bon Pain a "local" Bakery?

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We are discussing what it means to be a "Locavore" in Boston. We live in the South End, and are looking for a local bakery ( other than at whole foods or Shaws). It appears that there are a a few -but that they mostly cater to the sweet end of the spectrum ( muffins, cakes, etc.). We are thinking about daily bread. There is an Au Bon Pain nearby- where we can purchase bread, but wonder if this chain really constitutes a local bakery.

Any thoughts or suggestions?

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  1. Clear Flour in Brookline is a boulangerie: they have a few sweet things, but they focus primarily on bread. It's not only local (extremely local for me, as in a five-minute walk), it's outstanding: their baguettes have won international awards.

      1. I don't think so, because shopping locally is somewhat different that being a locavore. I take locavore to mean that as much of your food (the original source) comes from local providers, but it's easier to be locavorish with produce and even meat than bakery foods, I think. All the flour, sugar, nuts, and baking chemicals generally come from far away. Coffee is like that too-- sure, your local independent coffee shop seems "local" and small scale, but the coffee itself is pretty far-flung. Part of locavore eating is about reducing carbon footprint, and so when it comes to bakeries, it may make less of a difference than with other types of food. All that said, you can probably find better tasting bread than Au Bon Pain's.

        1. ABP started in Boston but was destined for international chaindom from the start. It was never meant to be 1 or 2 outpost bakery. Financially a true success story with outlets as far as Asia.Iggy's is local and sells at WF and the Copley Farmers market in season. Nashoba Brook, etc. In other hoods, Fornax, B and R and at Sel de la Terre.

          1. I don't know if ABP is "local" or not but I don't find it to be very good.

            1. the soup at ABP is alright and the cookies are grea (chewy but super sweet) but everything else is soooo overpriced ($6.50 pre-made hot sandwiches that dont taste that good at all). At every job I had, there was an ABP in the lobby so I've tried everything there. Although the name suggests that its a "bread" place and its French, their pastries and breads are horrible. I am a huge fan of croissants and their's looks like the plastic ones you can buy at Pier1. Anyway, here are a few suggestions for great local bakeries:

              1. Clear Flour, Brookline (i love love thatp place, i just had 2 croissants from there for breakfast)
              2. Flour, South End (great lemon tart)
              3. Canto6, Jamaica Plains
              4. Blue Frog Cafe, Jamaica Plains
              5. Japonaise, Brookline

              1. I think that, with the exception of the Quinzani factory, a bakery in the South End would be very difficult to open. There just isn't the space. But there are places to get locally made bread.

                Nashoba Brook Valley Bakery on Columbus Ave., near Clarendon St., brings in bread fresh every day from their bakery that I assume is somewhere in the Nashoba Brook Valley.

                Foodie's Urban Market (Washington St. and Plympton St.) sells bread from a number of local bakeries, also brought in fresh daily.

                There are also two specialty stores with good bread.
                I don't know where Lionette's bread comes from, but I really like it.
                Formaggio has Iggy's, but they seem to sell out early.

                And if you really need something baked in the South End, pizza dough bought at Bertucci's can be turned into an excellent focaccia in your oven at home.

                1 Reply
                1. re: patiofixture

                  Replying to myself...

                  Just saw in another thread that Nashoba Brook Valley Bakery has closed, and may not reopen anywhere in the South End. I'll miss their bread and their scones (definitely the scones). Maybe not their "quirky" service.

                2. how about the Buttery in the South End?

                  Cheers :)