Bibi Cafe and Bakery Offers Delicious Baked Goods, Old World Charm
in Westwood, Massachusetts
Cake pops from Bibi Cafe and Bakery.
Article and photos by
Eric Hurwitz. Page created on 9/7/17.
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I sometimes wonder what happened to good old fashioned
bakeries in the neighborhood.
Today, many places might have the skill to come up with great baked
goods, but the attitude and high prices have an off taste. The there
are the bakeries that use the cheapest ingredients possible and while
their sweets might taste good on first bite, stomach upset and a bad
taste in the mouth follow within 20 minutes. Other places the hard, but
just don't have the talent to deliver on potential.
In other words, no balance exists in too many modern day bakeries.
Everything seems forgettable and unforgettable in a bad sense, instead
Growing up in the 1970s, we had this amazing place called Helen's
Bakery in Arlington, Mass. I remember going there with my mom and dad
and getting excited upon first sight of the blue-colored storefront.
Once opening the screen door and entering what was the welcoming
equivalent of a grandmother who loved to cook in her kitchen, the magic
of this place was always constant. The aromas that came out of Helen's
Bakery are forever remembered. Nice, old ladies selling comfort food
that made us happy -- before we knew it was bad for you. We're still
wondering who Helen was, though. I think they were all Helens -- that
being a nice, friendly name. The group of Helen's always gave us free
samples, fresh out of the kitchen. They were like our unofficial second
family, and the childhood memories never went away. Those memories also
set high standards in finding other great bakeries after Helen's closed
many years ago.
Moving forward to today, I never quite found that bakery magic of
Helen's until recently visiting Bibi Cafe and Bakery in Westwood, Mass.
Bibi Owner Fataneh Dowlatshahi, one of the nicest people you will ever
meet, has brought a true artistry to her beautiful bakery in Westwood,
drawing upon years of baking experience and culinary inspiration from
her native land of Persia. Her grace, goodness, care for others, strong
work ethic and culinary talent make one who comes to Bibi glad that she
chose America as her homeland.
Focusing on natural and organic sourcing and believing in the magical
powers of cooking from scratch and creativity, Fataneh and staff
clearly have one of the best bakeries in eastern Massachusetts. While
the organic carrot jam and gaata -- an Armenian-based sweet bread
stuffed with butter and sugar -- serve as nexuses to the past,
Dowlatshahi’s menu features traditional bakery and cafe favorites done
with craft and flair Some of the standouts: homemade breads,
muffins, scones, carrot cake, cake pops, pies, doughnuts cakes,
cookies, mini cheesecakes, salads, soups sourced locally, veggie
burgers, organic teas and juices, and smoothies, as well as
locally-roasted coffee that permeates the quaint 500 square ft. dining
room. The chocolate chip Nutella rugelach, in particular, is to die for
-- rich in flavor and satisfying in texture but not too heavy-tasting
as fresh, natural ingredients take the center stage over unhealthy oils
and artificial flavors that otherwise dominate the baked goods
industry, in general.
Rugelach from Bibi Cafe in Westwood.
The spotlessly clean upstairs kitchen validates Dowlatshahi’s
statement of baking and cooking in small batches while revealing the
culinary magic behind the final products seen by customers at the main
floor dining room.
Fataneh has drawn upon warm childhood memories from what she refers to
as Persia -- known today as Iran -- to creating BiBi Cafe and
Bakery since its opening about three years ago. Named after her
great-grandmother and further inspired by a Tehran neighborhood bakery
that virtually seemed like a second home, the meaningful foundation and
story behind BiBi Cafe and Bakery creates a homey, welcoming vibe
offering food clearly made from love and an homage to timeless memories.
Dowlatshahi with daily, homemade fresh soups.
“Starting at about seven-years-old, I used to go to this small
neighborhood bakery (in Tehran) owned by a couple,” said the
“fifty-something” Dowlatshahi. “It was such a nice, special place and I
also remember they had this little garden with herbs and they would
take me back there. Those were such, sweet happy memories.”
While Bibi Cafe and Bakery differs from Helen's in that they serve
breakfast, lunch and 21st century offerings like smoothies, the
connection is undeniable as the magic begins once entering the cozy
dining room. The yellow exterior replaces Helen's blue storefront and
the cozy dining room with seating and a sleek, clean look and feel
different than the Arlington bakery's louder, more dusty appearance
where the ordering counter and kitchen were virtually on top of each
other -- and with beautiful music masters like Bert Kaempfert playing
on the radio in the background
on WJIB FM. I also like Fataneh's welcoming touches like welcoming
words in several languages painted on the steps leading to the second
Dining room with welcoming steps at Bibi Cafe and Bakery.
Bibi Cafe and Bakery in Westwood.
Bibi Cafe and Bakery certainly brings back the old world charm of a
place like Helen's and the freshly made baked goods that can only be
made with love and nothing else (well, quality ingredients in the right
combinations, also!). I never thought I'd see Helen's Bakery again, but
Fataneh offers this type of old world bakery with her own tremendous
substance and style. I can't say enough good things about her bakery,
and having my faith restored in knowing a good, old-fashioned bakery
exists just like the legendary Helen's Bakery did, for me, back in the
day. It's, by far, the best bakery I have been to in the Boston suburbs!
Bibi Cafe and Bakery is located at 1 Church St., Westwood. Tel.
781-320-9900. Bibi Cafe and Bakery web site: http://www.bibicafebakery.com.
Bibi Cafe and Bakery Facebook fan page: https://www.facebook.com/bibicafeandbakery/
Homemade cookies from Bibi Cafe and Bakery.
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