Tatte, the ubiquitous bakery & cafe with about 20 locations in the Boston/Brookline/Cambridge area, has designs on the ‘burbs. The eatery, known for Israel-born founder Tzurit Or’s artisanal coffees, pastries, breakfast sandwiches, salads, and sandwiches, made its foray into the western territories when it opened in Newton Centre in October. Things are going well in the neighborhood-oriented location, leading to whispers that a Tatte outpost could be headed to Wellesley in the space now occupied by California Pizza Kitchen.
Linden Square property manager Federal Realty’s team described in July at a town meeting a makeover for the CPK space that was expected to get underway over the summer, and that would pave the way for a tenant with “humble, modest” taste. When we checked in recently on the project, a Federal Realty official had no comment.
(Article updated 11/26) However, a building permit has been filed with the town for the space at 165 Linden St., for a”tenant build-out of a new Tatte Bakery Cafe within existing core and shell space. The main space will include cafe dining, pastry counter area, barista bar, restrooms, and auxiliary spaces. The work will consist of new interior partitions, finishes, and new MEP throughout to connect to building services provided.”
One Wellesley government insider told us Tatte is coming to town, though 1 town official says there’s nothing on public record about this happening. That was a few days before the building permit went live. Since then, the Health Department has been contacted by Tatte about its plans.
We reached out directly to Tatte via its contact form, but that inquiry seems to have gone straight into a black hole, not unlike the apple turnover Mr. Swellesley inhaled.
So, unless something falls apart, Tatte’s coming.
All of which necessitated a Beyond Wellesley site visit to Tatte’s Newton Centre location, about 6.5 miles away from the CPK spot.
Visiting Tatte in Newton Centre
We found easy on-street metered parking on our Saturday-morning visit, and joined the queue of about a dozen people waiting to place their orders. The line moved along quickly and we were soon asked if we wanted any baked goods from the gleaming display case. Of course we did, and asked for some chocolate brioches. When we got to the register and it was discovered the wrong number of pastries made it into our to-go bag, the unflappable worker quickly fixed the issue, and we all got on with our lives. The flaky, yeasty brioche was beautifully layered, with a not-too-sweet chocolate filling. Other bakery items available during out visit were brownies, biscotti, a meringue-based pavlova adorned with fresh berries; about a dozen croissant varieties including pistachio and a kouign-amann variety (which looks more like a puff pastry that a classic croissant); an intriguing poached pear and almond muffin; a savory spinach pita made with labneh (strained yogurt); whole cakes, tarts, galettes, and more.
We kept it pretty basic with a breakfast sandwich of an over-easy egg on a croissant with Vermont cheese, sliced tomato, avocado, and baby arugula. All egg dishes, pancakes, French toast, and more are cooked to order. Your breakfast sandwich is not some pre-assembled plastic-wrapped meal that gets pulled out of a refrigerated case and brought over for a spin in the microwave. Just no. This is restaurant-style food that is brought to your table on white plates. Our meal arrived somewhat less than piping hot, and we wished we had skipped the tomato. The days of local, vine-ripened tomatoes are gone until next summer so, reality check. The croissant was buttery and fresh-tasting, and the cheese had a wonderful bite to it. The egg was served as requested, a nice balance of yoke spilling over onto the fresh arugula.
Our apple turnover was just the right sweetness, and surprised us when it started to leak apple sauce onto our plate.
A cup of Muesli (Greek yogurt topped with granola topped and a pile of fresh berries, among other things) made for a nice pairing with the pastry.
If you’re looking for something more innovative, try the very popular shakshukas, a traditional poached-egg North African dish. Tatte has three varieties, and we overheard people in line raving about them. Overall, the menu includes many healthy options, as well as gluten-free offerings.
Drinks are big here, of course, and the house latte served hot or cold with oat milk and notes of cardamom and honey is a hit with fans, as is the the house cappuccino with halva and spices. We were happy with our fresh-squeezed orange juice and mint lemonade. Matcha lattes, pots of tea, cold brew and other specialty drinks are available, as is a basic cup of strong coffee.
Because the space is commodious, we were able to take our time at our table for two, guilt-free. Although Tatte swirls with busy-ness, it’s a very easy place for single diners up to a large group to find seating. During our visit a crowd of about a dozen, wearing matching t-shirts (even the dog) that identified them as walkers or runners for some worthy cause, were hanging out at a large table in the back. There’s room throughout the space for strollers or other wheeled devices, and the bathrooms are large enough to accommodate them.
We were also impressed with the number of staff they had on hand and wonder how Tatte pulled so many people out of the air that is very thin, indeed, with available workers (though make no mistake, they like everyone else is hiring). It seemed there were endless employees at the pastry area, the register, the coffee bar, tidying up the tables, answering questions. There were no signs asking customers to please be patient, or to bus their own tables, or consider working there once they’re done with breakfast. Where did all that staff all come from?
It doesn’t matter. Tatte is a lively space and a good addition to Newton Centre, an area that was hit hard during COVID with storefront closures.
Gee, maybe Wellesley can score a nice place like this someday.