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New England Dining Reviews>>> Butter Cafe and Bakery, Walpole, MA

Butter Cafe and Bakery in Walpole, Mass., Offers a Chef-Inspired Dimension to the Southwest Suburban Boston Dining Scene (UPDATE: BUTTER CAFE AND BAKERY IS CLOSED)

Baked goods at Butter Cafe and Bakery, Walpole, Mass.
Some delicious baked goods at Butter Cafe and Bakery, Walpole, Mass. (photo by Eric H.)

Article and photo by Eric H.

If Steve Butters continues his culinary excellence at Butter Cafe and Bakery in Walpole, Mass., the phrase "baked goods" might have to be changed to "baked greats."

Having taken over about a year-and-a-half ago the former Fresh Start Bakery in the heart of downtown Walpole, Butters has transformed the look, feel and, ultimately, taste of this small cafe and bakery with a big vision. Butters, 37,  a young veteran of the Boston restaurant scene -- having worked as a chef at Flat Iron Tapas Bar and Lounge at the Bullfinch Hotel in Boston --  has brought his vast, eclectic culinary experience, in a very short amount of time, to Butter Cafe and Bakery. Consequently, locals can be seen visiting this instantly special dining destination in growing numbers as word gets around quickly in a small town like Walpole.

"We present a 'whole' idea for the theme of our bakery and cafe," said Butters. "Some bakeries are just Jewish or, say, Italian, but we are very eclectic. We have some young bakers that went to culinary school and some who didn't go to school -- they are all very talented and come from different backgrounds to share their areas of expertise. We also have a professional baker from Denmark. It's coming together in a cool way."

From "mom's" pastries to red velvet and other higher end cupcakes (including root beer, Andes mint, orange creamisicle, Boston creme and blueberry pie) Butter Cafe not only prides itself on a broad spectrum of baked good concoctions, but also a creative streak. Oversized Whoopie pies with peanut butter or Oreo cookies, and a cupcake based on the legendary Hostess Cupcake model (but with a much richer, natural taste) are just a few examples of the beyond-the-norm presence of Butter Cafe and Bakery. Homemade breads, cookies (you won't find a better chocolate chip cookie, elsewhere) and masterpiece-caliber cakes add another mouthwatering dimension to behind-the-glass and counter displays that create a virtual wonderland that represents everything "sweet" about a bakery.

Butter Cafe goes well beyond just being a bakery, however. Butters and his staff have expanded on an exisiting breakfast and lunch menu with six homemade soups made daily and freshly-made, chef-inspired specials like pan-roasted king salmon with arugala,  hand-rolled gnocchi (potato pasta) with braised radicchio and duck con fit with rosemary jus, and a made-from-scratch chicken pot pie with baby vegetables, light cream sauce and a buttery flaky crust. Butters also recommends the pot roast sandwich, "comfort food at its best," with braised-for-hours prime rib (brisket is the meat source) on country white bread and caraway mayo.

This writer cannot get enough of the homemade chili -- not too heavy (unlike the lead balloon-like concoctions that have recently impeded my search of great chili, elsewhere) but with a full-bodied, slightly spicy taste that epitomizes the word "homemade." The fresh roast turkey cranberry and stuffing, and meatloaf sandwiches are standouts, too.

Butter Cafe and Bakery features a pleasing updated look with soothing red and gold walls, a wide screen television and several handsome, dark wooden dining tables and chairs. The restaurant size, while limited, will soon experience an expansion with an outdoor dining deck. Hours will soon increase, too, into the early evening -- ideal for locals looking for chef-created dinners and a relaxing setting without having to worry about parking or driving too far.

For Butters, opening the Butter Cafe and Bakery is a dream-come-true. He grew up in neighboring Norwood and says "I have always liked Walpole and having my own business so close to where I grew up is just great." The Butters name is "big" in Norwood as his grandfather owned a bar in South Norwood and his grandmother owned the former Southern Theater movie house in the same neighborhood. With Steve's mom as a talented (and currently contributing) baker, he inherited some of her talents (with Julia Child and Chef Emeril as other inspirations) and his grandparent's entrepreneurship as a foundation to start the Buttery Cafe and Bakery.  After starting out as a dishwasher and fry cook, en route to better days as a graduate of the Cambridge School of Culinary Arts and his chef days at the aforementioned Flat Iron Tapas Bar and Lounge, as well as Aquitaine on Tremont St. in Boston, and the Metropolis Cafe in the South End of Boston, Butters culinary career climb has happily brought him to finally own his own business.
Butter, who is engaged to local chef Rebecca Newell, certainly has a busy life but wouldn't have it any other way.

"Lots of people would complain about this lifestyle with all the hours, but they would also complain if they were in another field, too," said Butters. "I really love what I'm doing and was just waiting for an opportunity like this. This has so much potential. We are so glad to be here in Walpole."

Butter Cafe and Bakery
935 East St.
Walpole, MA 02081
t 508.668.2123
f 508.668.0167

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