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Cafe de Boston: A Marketplace Eatery

by Julia Loschiavo | May 16th, 2013 | Chef Interviews
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Hot Food Bar 2Located in Boston’s Financial District, Cafe de Boston provides customers with a customizable and delicious breakfast and lunch experience. The unique marketplace concept provides customers with complete control over their meal, giving them the option of self-serve or made-to-order stations. From the salad bar packed with fresh, high-quality produce to the crepe station, this varied menu is sure to make your order a difficult choice. Regardless of your
selection, you’re sure to have a fresh and healthy meal. Hungry yet?

I was able to speak with Cafe de Boston’s owner, Levent Berksan, to find out more about what this restaurant has to offer.

JL: How is your marketplace concept unique?

LB: The marketplace eatery concept is a new type of fast-casual dining. We combine made-to-order, self-serve and take-out fare by providing several stations of global cuisine at breakfast and lunch. This is a popular dining concept that I’ve seen across Europe and New York City, and I wanted to introduce it to Boston. The marketplace layout allows for guests to customize their dining experience – they can select exactly what they want at the self-serve bars, or request modifications in the made-to-order stations; and they can dine-in or grab their meal to go. Stations include breakfast, create-your-own salads, hot/cold entrees, sandwiches, pizza, pasta, dessert, retail, and more. We focus on providing scratch-made food that’s ready fast and tastes great.

JL: What inspires your menu choices?

LB: Our menu is built on variety, value and fresh and flavorful ingredients for over 100 items made from scratch daily. We use all-natural, seasonal, and wherever possible, organic ingredients. We are also mindful of seasonality to make sure everything is fresh and without chemicals or preservatives. From listening to customer feedback, it’s also important that we accommodate their dietary needs, such as gluten-free, low-fat, or vegetarian/vegan.

JL: Which areas of the world influence your food?

LB: We offer an array of menu items with influence from countries around the world! We have made-to-order crepes stemming from Paris, pizza and pasta for an Italian flair, and Mediterranean items such as baba ghanoush, kebabs, and falafel. We want to give our customers the opportunity and the convenience of trying a bunch of different global cuisines under one roof.

JL: What atmosphere do you aim to create in your restaurant?

LB: We use bright colors in our restaurant d├ęcor to reflect the fresh, quality
ingredients and the lively atmosphere of the bustling Financial District. We aim to provide an environment that allows guests to sit down and enjoy a long leisurely lunch, or grab their meal to-go with ease. The many stations of self-serve and made-to-order food allow for efficiency and a tailored approach to each customer’s needs.

JL: How often do you change your menu?

LB: We don’t change our menu too frequently since it already provides so much variety. It’s important that we listen to and incorporate customer feedback, so sometimes we’ll add things to the menu based on customers’ requests. For example, we added kale to the salad bar options when we received comments about it in our suggestion boxes. We’re focused on providing variety and “something for everyone,” and I think our wide range in menu items reflects that goal.

JL: Which station is your biggest crowd pleaser?

LB: Our create-your-own salad bar is our most popular station! We offer unlimited toppings and two proteins, along with a side of our signature pita bread — always at a flat rate price of $7.94 plus tax. We also just started to offer our Summer Salad Days combinations — its three warm-weather inspired salad combos to help our customers order outside of the box and try something other than their “usual.” Below are some of the options, available through the summer:

Hawaiian Peach Salad — Baby spinach, sliced smoked chicken, orange, cranberry, tomato, corn, jicama, peach, alfalfa sprouts, avocado, candied walnuts and low fat honey Dijon dressing.

Thai Kale Salad — Kale, sesame-fried chicken, lo mein noodles, strawberry, grapes, edamame, red cabbage, mushrooms, gorgonzola cheese, alfalfa sprouts, low fat Oriental honey ginger dressing.

(Courtesy photo)

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