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Cheap Eats

A breakfast (and more!) to remember

Isabella Medina, 4, of West Roxbury picks out a cupcake at Sugar Baking Co. & Restaurant in Roslindale. Isabella Medina, 4, of West Roxbury picks out a cupcake at Sugar Baking Co. & Restaurant in Roslindale. (Wendy Maeda/Globe Staff)
By Bella English
Globe Staff / June 15, 2011

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Any restaurant with the words “sugar’’ and “baking’’ in its name has to be worth a visit. In this case, Sugar Baking Co. & Restaurant is worth several visits. In the few months it’s been open, the cheerful 45-seat cafe has already gained a well-earned reputation for its wonderful breakfast and weekend brunch. People wait up to an hour and a half for Sugar’s manchego grits ($9 with ham and sunny-side up eggs) and lemon ricotta pancakes ($9), not to mention the best stuffed French toast known to mankind.

See for yourself. Go in an off-hour — early or late — and you’ll get a table; we walked right in at 1 p.m. on a Sunday. In good weather, the large accordion-type windows are open to the street; there is no room for outdoor seating on a busy sidewalk.

About that French toast ($11): Picture two thick slices of homemade challah, dipped in milk and egg with a sprinkle of cinnamon. Stuffed between the warm slices is a slab of brie and some fig confiture. The brie melts into a delicious ooze and offsets the natural sweetness of the dish, and the figs add a nice fruity note, as do the blueberries and strawberries that garnish the plate.

On a recent weekend special, surf & turf sliders ($14) are a different and fun combination: One is a lobster roll, the other braised short rib, each served on a dinner-size eggy roll, accompanied by french fries.

Our dining companion orders “a breakfast sandwich to remember’’ ($8) — and it lives up to its name. Part bakery, part restaurant, Sugar has the advantage of making all its own bread, from biscuits to baguettes, on the premises. This sandwich comes on a big, fluffy buttermilk biscuit and includes an egg (any way you want), a chunk of English farmhouse cheddar, lots of high-quality seared pancetta and a schmear of fig preserves, similar to that on the French toast, to bind it all. It’s an interesting melange of flavors and textures, the sharpness of the cheddar playing nicely off the sweetness of the preserves.

Speaking of which, owner Eric Battite makes his own strawberry, raspberry, and blueberry preserves several times a week. Battite also owns the Real Deal restaurant in Jamaica Plain, and another in West Roxbury, next door to his Sugar Bakery.

His newest place is on the site of a Roslindale landmark, Boschetto Bakery, which closed in 2009. But the Boschetto sign has been saved and hangs over Battite’s bakery, which is adjacent to the dining area, in the back. Try the ethereal almond macaroons, among the best I’ve tasted, and the fudge caramel brownies, worth every decadent calorie. Cupcake lovers, there are at least a dozen and a half flavors at any given time, from strawberry milkshake to an “Elvis,’’ with peanut butter and banana.

Executive chef Johnny Fortin, who owns a diner in West Roxbury, is also a local and the man behind the menu.

Sugar recently started serving dinner, but you can tell its heart isn’t in it yet. While he awaits a beer and wine license, Battite is putting his energy into breakfast, brunch, and lunch. A “serious’’ dinner menu, he says, will be introduced when license is in hand.

If dinner has the quality of the rest of the menu, it will, indeed, be serious.

Bella English can be reached at english@globe.com.

SUGAR BAKING CO. & RESTAURANT

4174 Washington St., Roslindale, 617-327-4174, www.sugarbakingcompany.com. All major credit cards. Wheelchair accessible.

Prices Breakfast and brunch $5-$14; lunch $5-$11; dinner entrees $7-$12.

Hours Mon-Sat 7 a.m.-3 p.m. and 5-9 p.m.; Sun 7 a.m.-3 p.m.

Liquor None.

May we suggest Stuffed French toast, a breakfast sandwich to remember, surf & turf sliders, lemon ricotta pancakes, grits, almond macaroons, fudge caramel brownies.

Ratings

  • 4 Stars Extraordinary
  • 3 Stars Excellent
  • 2 Stars Good
  • 1 Star Fair
  • No Stars Poor