by Alice Levitt
Sue Bette has a serious claim. The new Bluebird Coffee Stop at the Innovation Center begins its soft opening at 128 Lakeside Avenue next week, and Bette says its chocolate-chip cookies are good enough to fill the void left when the South End's Fresh Market closed. Chocolate-chip-cookie lovers have been pining ever since.
With Bluebird Tavern, Bluebird Barbecue and the original Bluebird Coffee Stop downtown, this will be Bette's fourth eatery opened in as many years. Why add another?
"We’re taking the Bluebird Coffee Stop concept and expanding it a little bit," says Bette. "We absolutely love the Church Street location, but we're limited in what we can do because of the space constraints. This allows us to be a little more of a café."
The LEED-certified Innovation Center was a natural fit with a recently redone café space and a built-in population of hundreds of workers. But the 30-seat resto is also open to the public. To begin, hours will be from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Friday. Bette says she'll also use the space for private parties and special events, such as her popular oyster nights and beer and wine events.
What about the food? The menu showcases a wide range of breakfast and lunch dishes, aimed at everyone from the hungry worker to the gourmet looking for a palate tickling.
Homemade breakfast sandwiches and bagels from Myer's Bagel Bakery (with Bluebird-made cream cheeses) are available for breakfast, along with muffins in flavors including candied-bacon-and-peanut-butter and chocolate-espresso.
Lunch focuses on sandwiches and salads. Pressed sandwiches come in flavors such as chicken liver with grilled onion and lady apple or Maine crab with artichoke and lemon-cured tomato. Salads include field greens with red-wine-prunes, goat cheese and a pine nut vinaigrette, as well as a classic chopped iceberg version with ranch dressing, smoked ham and boiled egg.
Along with espresso and coffee, Bette says she and chef Michael Clauss also designed a number of new desserts. They'll serve slices of whole cakes, including red velvet and cheesecake. Milk chocolate or honey-vanilla puddings will also be a sweet way to end a workday meal.
But no creemees. Bette says she'll leave those for Church Street. And they, too, roll out for the season next week.