I paid a visit to Franklin Square and Boulangerie Café at the end of March, and the tree blossoms in full bloom in that lovely corner of Syracuse nearly blew me away. I thought, grab a sandwich, hit the beautiful park located adjacent to the café, have a seat and enjoy two of life’s greatest pleasures: eating food and eating it outside.
Boulangerie Café is a gourmet sandwich café opened in 1991 by Jim Paglia, back before we really knew what a gourmet sandwich was. Boluangerie is located at 526 Plum St., in the center of Franklin Square, on the first floor of one of the many red brick former factories converted to loft and business space. Down the street from the café is Franklin Square Park, a lovely expanse in the center of the city, adorned with trellised gardens, an elegant fountain and etched quotes from the park’s namesake, Benjamin Franklin. The interior of the café is simple and functional, with a counter and seating for small groups.
A sandwich rises or falls on the bread. Boulangerie gets their bread fresh every day from Vie de France in New York City. Delivered as parbaked batards of French, sourdough and multigrain, these lovelies are then baked on premises, throughout the day, so you are always going to get fresh, primo bread. Jim says they go through 200 loaves a day, easy. Pumpernickel and a variety of wraps are also offered.
Once you choose your platform, peruse the 26 gourmet sandwiches they offer. All sandwiches are made to order. Jim says one of the most popular is turkey with cranberry mayonnaise, sliced apple and Swiss cheese. The chicken salad sandwich, made with all-breast meat, apples, raisins, cheddar and nuts, is another fan-favorite. How about ham with pineapple mayonnaise, spinach and Swiss cheese? Take note that all these special mayos are made fresh in-house each day, as are all the soup offerings and salads.
Classic deli sandwiches like egg and tuna salad are also available on those days when all you are craving is a simple pleasure. Burritos, panini, bagels and other selections are served for breakfast. For the sweet finish, brownies and cookies are baked in-house each day as well.
Coming soon is Boulangerie’s new website, with a name to come as well; look for it in a few weeks. Local offices will be able to get on his email list and receive notices of specials and other offerings.
A real plus at lunchtime, Boulangerie delivers throughout Syracuse. For now, just call or fax your order in. While it’s best if you place your order the day before, they will try to accommodate all comers. Boulangerie caters, too, with platters you can create yourself. With a week’s notice they have happily satisfied groups of 200 with a variety of sandwiches and sides. They deliver to all area hospitals, which just might be the nicest thing you could do for someone who is feeling under the weather.