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Lunch, Anyone? Blunch

Small in size, big in flavor

4

There may be no better way to dispel late-winter gloom than by stopping by the South End’s Blunch at noontime. From the moment you open the door, with its whimsical spoon handles, to this tiny sandwich shop, you’re bound to feel your mood lifting.

Directly across from Boston Medical Center, Blunch not only serves hungry doctors, nurses, and hospital visitors, but offers a warm welcome to folks of all stripes: it’s an outspokenly gay-friendly establishment, offers discounts to bikers, and is happy to host dogs (with the proviso that they’re attached to owners).

An unpretentious place for diners without a lot of time, Blunch offers counter service only, but employees still treat patrons attentively. We were greeted warmly and allowed to take our time scanning the café’s creative, mouthwatering menu. As its name implies, Blunch specializes in breakfast and lunch options (it does not serve dinner), offering a scrumptious selection of pressed sandwiches, bagelwiches, eggwiches, salads, soups, and baked goods, all made with fresh ingredients.

Careful consideration resulted in ordering the Giving Tree ($7.75). A delicious combination of smoked turkey, cheddar cheese, thinly sliced green apples, honey Dijon dressing, and baby greens on multigrain bread, the sandwich was pressed to perfection (not a corner burnt). The green apples provided juiciness and the honey Dijon a subtle tang. Unable to resist the tempting baked goods in the glass case at the counter, we indulged in a melty triple chip cookie ($2).

Boston University BU, places to eat BU Medical Campus BUMC, Blunch, sandwiches

The Giving Tree is one of Blunch’s delectable sandwich options.

A companion opted for one of Blunch’s popular—and very reasonable—bagelwiches. Topped with smoked salmon, Boursin cheese, and a chopped salad mixed with tomatoes, capers, red onions, and cucumbers ($7), it was a bargain. Served on an open-faced toasted plain bagel the unique mesh of flavors made for a fresh, zesty sandwich, different from bagelwiches found at other local lunch spots.

And that’s the best part about Blunch: you won’t find the same old menu options here. We couldn’t try everything, so we’ve already decided to return. Next time, we plan to order the Meltdown—a triple grilled cheese (Fontina, cheddar, and Swiss) served with tomato on thick-cut sourdough bread ($7.75). Or perhaps we’ll go for the Lower East Side (no shortage of clever names here), another pressed sandwich, made with shop-roasted beef, Swiss cheese, horseradish cream slaw, fried shallots, and dill pickles on marbled European rye ($8.25).

Blunch also features daily specials, or “whims,” written in marker on an antique mirror. A soup, sandwich, and sweet not found on the permanent menu is offered each day. For the diet-conscious, try one of the several delicious salads, among them a tomato-caper-cucumber salad with smoked salmon, baby greens, and boursin cheese ($11); another has feta cheese, cucumbers, olives, and roast peppers in a lemon oregano vinaigrette ($7.50).

Boston University BU, places to eat BU Medical Campus BUMC, Blunch

Add color to your lunch with a smoked salmon bagelwich.

We ate on wooden stools along a tiled bar stretching across the front wall. The large windows look out on the neighborhood’s beautiful brownstones. Because there is limited seating (we had to wait several minutes for a group to leave to get our window spot), you may opt to get your food to go. Blunch encourages patrons to call ahead so their order will be waiting for them. In warm weather months, diners can sit at one of the small tables outside.

What Blunch lacks in square footage, it more than makes up for in lip-smacking lunch options. So the next time your day is looking bleak, brighten it by heading over to this South End sandwich shop for a colorful and tasty meal.

Blunch is at 59 E. Springfield St., in Boston’s South End. Hours: Monday to Friday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. The restaurant takes MasterCard and Visa ($5 credit card minimum), but does not accept American Express. By public transportation, take any MBTA Green Line trolley to Hynes Convention Center, transfer to the number one bus toward Dudley Station via Mass. Ave., and get off at Harrison Avenue. It’s a two-minute walk from there.

This is part of a weekly series featuring Boston lunch spots of interest to the BU community. If you have any suggestions for places we should feature, leave them in the comments section below. Check out our list of lunchtime tips on Foursquare.

Tom Vellner can be reached at tvellner@bu.edu; follow him on Twitter @tomgvellner.

4 Comments

4 Comments on Lunch, Anyone? Blunch

  • XYZ on 03.14.2013 at 8:43 am

    I passed by this place the 1st two years I was here. I was thinking “Blunch? We already have Brunch and Lunch, if the name is that lazy I suppose the food will be too.” I was very, very wrong. Not only do they have an excellent list of specialty sandwiches, they have specials, soups, bakery items, and I’ll say the BEST COOKIES IN BOSTON. Above all of this, their staff are extremely friendly. Nikki, the owner, is a wonder person, remembers many people’s names even after one visit, and is great to talk to while your order is being fulfilled. The rest of the staff are very friendly, and take their job seriously. Even the decor and music is just what you would want from a small establishment catering to the breakfast and lunch crowd. I find myself wishing I could own a place like this! Go, go, go!!!

  • BLD on 03.14.2013 at 10:32 am

    BLUNCH??
    If that supposed to mean breakfast and lunch then the owners should know that this street wakes up at 430am!
    How about a place where overnighters can get a quick bite to keep awake while putting in 1 more hour . After the residents ,nurses ,lab technicians, OR cleaners and radiology staff get in for the day, they are not getting out again until 3:45pm . Pretty tough to go out when you only have 20 minutes for lunch. At the end of the day all we want to do is go HOME!
    You might get staff catching an egg sandwich on their way in.
    8am opening? I do not understand.
    If you went to all that trouble to do this beautiful renovation , then why not put in a 12 hour day?
    Do you pay rent by the month or by the hour?

    I see this throughout our new society.
    No one wants to work hard anymore.
    Someone is always crying that their places went out of business.
    Of course you will go out of business if you are only open for 5 hours on a Saturday!
    If you look around the city of Boston , The places that have stood the test of time are the places that are OPEN.
    If you want to STAY. Then you have to be OPEN. Even if it is slow, even if it is boring ,even if you have to sit there and polish silverware.
    We want to know that if we have a cancellation or a break from a case, we can run out and grab a bite at that place with the name no one gets-BLUNCH.

    • WorkSmarter on 03.14.2013 at 12:34 pm

      GET A GRIP

    • Blunch is YUM!!! on 03.18.2013 at 11:31 am

      Thank you to WorkSmarter for telling the above BLD to “GET A GRIP!” First of all…if you would entertain a scenario other than YOURE OWN… does it make sense for a business to open at 4am, pay employees, the employee’s meals tax, turn on the electricity (business NSTAR bills are x3 personal bills just b/c they can), and sit there polishing silverware until the real breakfast traffic comes 4 more hours later just so they can serve you and 2 other people a $2 coffee at 4:30 in the morning? I think not…sounds a little entitled to me.

      Now to switch to a positive note…Blunch is an awesome breakfast and lunch spot. That is what it is billed as and that is exactly what it does for the hospital staff and the neighborhood. Always fresh ingredients, well over a dozen different sandwiches and a rotating daily whim…plus, great specialty roasted coffee, house made pastries, and an amazing cappuccino! What more could you want from a place? Of course we would love Blunch to be open longer hours b/c we love it so much! However, I’d suggest you put some years of restaurant ownership or an MBA behind your degree before you talk about when the restaurant should be open. I’m sure the restaurant owner has run the numbers and is open the hours that make the most sense for her business.

      And “NO ONE WORKS HARD ANYMORE?” Really? Are you crazy? Although I know little about the inner workings of the restaurant world…it takes more hours than just those that you’re open to make a restaurant run…especially when you’re a single owner. I’m sure the owner, Nikki, is putting in 12+ hours a day behind the scenes, M-Sat (6 days a week… thats 72+ hours). That’s pushing the 80 hour rule if my math is correct…and I dont see her complaining.

      So next time you have a “few minutes between cases,” how about you call over to Blunch (they welcome call-ins for your convenience) and order up a tasty sandwich. I promise you wont be disappointed. I think you’ll even be able to walk across the street, eat it up, and get back in 20 minutes! Actually I know you can b/c I do it almost every day.

      Cheers!

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