Tag Archives: South End Buttery

Boston’s South End cafes

handsome, hunk, man drinking coffee
Current locally-owned & independent coffee houses in the South End

During these cold months, the many small, independent coffee houses in the South End become a great place to meet up with someone or to get out.

I wanted to update my 2015 post, Boston’s many South End coffee houses. For the purpose of this post, I have intentionally omitted the large, national chains (2 Dunkin’, 1 Starbucks, 1 Peets Coffee, and 1 Caffè Nero) in the South End. I want to showcase local coffee houses that brew different coffees and have far more personality. I hope this post encourages you to find a local coffee house and make it your own. Save the chains for when you’re on the road or at an airport.

Below is a map of independent coffee houses in the South End. All of these places have space to sitdown and enjoy your coffee. I’ve also included the price for a small cup of coffee, the coffee they serve and details about the coffee house.

  1. Render Coffee House – Price for a small coffee is $3.00. Render serves their own brand of coffee and is best known for their pour-over brew method. The first coffee house was in the South End but this coffee house now has a location in the Financial District and Seaport.
  2. Café Madeleine – Price for a small coffee is $2.00. The cafe serves La Colombe coffee. This tiny cafe has limited seating (and none during the pandemic). Aside from having good coffee they have the best croissants, according to this blind croissant tasting I hosted.
  3. Jaho Coffee & Tea House – Price for a small coffee is $2.80. They serve their own brand of coffee and in some of their other locations they also serve wine in the evenings. Originally, based in Salem, MA Jaho now has three locations in Boston.
  4. Flour Bakery and Cafe – Price for a small coffee is $3.25. Flour serves Fazenda coffee (a local coffee roaster). This is the first Flour Bakery and Cafe (opening in 2000). Now the popular cafe has nine locations in Boston and Cambridge.
  5. Greystone Café – Price for a small coffee is $3.00. The cafe serves Proud Mary Coffee. This location was formerly the Appleton Bakery but a mother / daughter team opened Greystone in September 2020 with a beautiful walk-up window.
  6. Kohi Café – Price for a small coffee is $3.00. They serve Tandem coffee and are best known for their pour-over brew method. The first cafe opened in Provincetown but there are now three locations in Boston.
  7. Berkeley Perk Café – Price for a small coffee is $2.50. “The Perk” as I call it serves its own brand of coffee and is the longest continually running coffee house in the South End. It first opened its doors in the late 1990s (I believe 1998).
  8. South End Buttery – Price for a small coffee is $2.60. The coffee house serves Equator coffee. Richard first opened this space in 2005 and transformed this corner of the South End. In 2014 I conducted a blind chocolate chip cookie tasting and the Buttery’s cookie took top honors. Maybe I should do this again. The Buttery has a sister location at 37 Clarendon St. that remains unmarked above because its status since the pandemic remains uncertain.
  9. Tatte Bakery & Café – Price for a small coffee is $3.00. Tatte serves Stumptown Coffee. The South End location is teh largest coffee / cafe in the neighborhood yet this giant space does fill up (especially in the morning). In recent years, Tatte has expanded rapidly and now there are approximately 20 locations in Boston, Cambridge, and Brookline.
  10. Cuppacoffee – Price for a small coffee is $2.36. The Australian coffee house serves Abbotsford Road (an Australian roaster now in the US). If you go, I recommend ordering a Long Black (an Australian version of an Americano). This coffee house has one other location in Boston.
  11. Mod Espresso – Price for a small coffee is $4.00. They serve La Colombe coffee. I enjoy the staff at this coffee house inside the high end furniture store Modern Relik.
  12. Blunch – Price for a small coffee is $2.01. They serve karma Coffee. Better known for their delicious sandwiches, cookies and treats, the space is well loved and has a strong loyal customer base.

Blackbird Doughnuts (Not on the map – my bad) – Price for a small (16oz – yikes) coffee is $2.50 and is from Fazenda Coffee (a local coffee roaster). While no indoor seating is available, they do have a popular bench which makes for good people watching if you can snag the space with a friend. The shop is located near Tremont & Berkeley Street.

South End Buttery Market

The South End Buttery Market opened at lunch time today at 312-2 Shawmut Avenue next door to the cafe.

The space was formerly the home to Hudson Furniture and it has been completely redesigned.  The South End Buttery Market has a fully functioning bakery that will make many of the delectable dishes for sale there and yummy treats you can find next door at the cafe and the soon to open second cafe on Clarendon Street.

South End ButteryThe cafe and restaurant next door will continue to sell coffee, tea, baked goods and offer brunch and dinner.  The market will have provisions and tempting plates you can take to-go; giving residents in the South End another excuse not to cook. When you are next in the neighborhood stop by and check out this very welcome addition to the South End.

South End Buttery: Expansion nearly complete

Richard Gordon, owner of The South End Buttery, one of the most popular cafes in Boston and a South End juggernaut serving the neighborhood has been busy remodeling space at 312 Shawmut Ave.

This second location (literally next door to the original shop) will serve two purposes; the back will be additional space for a bakery, and the front is for take out; items available are rumored to be baked goods, food supplies and prepared dishes. All completely delicious – I’m sure.

While Richard has been mum about when work will conclude and he will be ready to open , these photos show the space is nearly ready.

FRONT:SE Buttery Expansion

BACK:South End Buttery Boston

South End chocolate chip cookie tasting

At the risk of expanding my waistline, I enlisted two friends this weekend to help me evaluate where the best chocolate chip cookies are sold in the South End.

The result of this sampling which included a weighted ranking system evaluating taste, appearance and size as key factors from three cookie connoisseurs may surprise you.  None of the locations were tipped off that this sampling was going to take place and cookies were randomly selected by the unsuspecting purveyors of chocolate chip cookies.  The locations included (alphabetically): Appleton Bakery, Flour, Francesca’s, Jaho, South End Buttery, South End Formaggio and Wholy Grain.

Although photos show the cookies labelled, during the tasting the labels were not visible.  Without a doubt the absolute best cookie (unanimously agreed upon by all) was from the bakery at Appleton Cafe with a ranking of 79.5.  This cookie scored high in all three categories: taste, appearance and size, and was soft with plenty of good chocolate chips. I had to fight the urge to dip it in my milk. The cookie from Flour bakery was the runner-up scoring 71 points.  In my opinion the chocolate used in this cookie was superior to all giving it a rich flavoring.

Listed below is the complete ranking of those bakeries and cafes sampled along with the cost of purchase and final score earned by each cookie.

Much thanks to Ben Samson and Ryan Losey two South End residents and chocolate chip cookie aficionados who helped in the blind tasting.

*Amsterdam Cafe, Berkeley Perk, Blunch, Greenlight Cafe, and Stella Cafe were not included either because they were not open or did not have chocolate chip cookies available at the time of purchase.