The Works Bakery Café has it all


Paul Bagnall, Writer

Coffee makers with beans imported from Costa Rica stand proudly in front of the food counter at The Works Bakery Café with all kinds of breads, pastries and other various fresh ingredients just waiting for the staff to prepare.

“I like the natural look of the cafe with all the wood and leather,” said Nate Dunnican, sitting with his husky, Brittany, on the shaded deck outside the café that faces North Pleasant Street.

The new café, which is part of a New England chain, is heading into its second week of business but feels as if it’s been there for years. An atmospheric buzz can be felt upon entrance through the double wooden doors, as patrons and employees feed off a friendly and welcoming energy.

“It’s a very friendly culture,” said Adam Lee, who studies food science at the UMass. “I was sitting over there in the corner and a couple sat next to me, then another couple and then a student. It’s a very diverse setting.”

“When you really put it pen to paper, we have everything you could look for,” said General Manager, Jamie Cocco.

The café’s focus is providing their customers with fresh food that uses no pesticides, growth hormones, additives or preservatives. All of The Works food is made fresh that morning. The menu includes multiple breakfast items, sandwiches, a smoothie bar and of course freshly brewed java.

The café’s mission to provide “green” food options is evident in nearly every menu item. For example, the fresh mozzarella sandwich has a cool and refreshing taste of baby spinach and red pepper between toasted French bread. The pesto is only a bonus, adding to the green flavor and wrapping the sandwich up.

Customers can also expect new experimental items that they might not find at other bakeries, like the breakfast and lunch pizzas, along with new flavors of smoothies for their smoothie bar.

The green machine smoothie only emphasized how dedicated the cafe is to their products. The smoothie has a subtle nutty sweetness that compliments the spinach.

“It’s a super green company with a ton of different values,” Cocco said.

The bakery hasn’t advertised much since opening on March 26, but in the meantime, owner Richard French wants his staff to find their groove in serving customers. The smiles on the staff are as fresh as the food being served, bringing a humble energy to the café.

Cocco has worked for The Works for about a year and knows that the store will thrive in Amherst. Even with the Starbucks across the street, Cocco feels that the café’s commitment to being environmentally friendly will appeal to the community.

“Small businesses like this really put an edge on Amherst and other towns,” she said.

French founded the cafe in 1988 in Manchester, VT, and wanted to promote a sustainable economy with fresh baking goods and great respect for the customers. Since then, his franchise has grown to eight stores in Massachusetts, Maine and New Hampshire. The Amherst location is the newest café.

French coordinated with the Amherst Chamber of Commerce to have a grand opening next month and plans to announce details about the event soon.

For café lovers looking for a break from the routine Panera Bread or Starbucks, or students looking for a fresh place to study for upcoming finals, The Works is happy to serve. The Works is located at 48 North Pleasant Street and is open daily from 6 a.m. – 8 p.m. For more information, visit their website or call (413)-835-0561.

Paul Bagnall can be reached at [email protected]

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