August 29: Bread Alone Cafe in Boiceville, New York


Bread Alone’s mixed-nut tart is rarely found at the bakery’s stalls in the city, but you can get it from its source in the Catskills.

The Bread Alone stand is a fixture in many of the city’s greenmarkets, selling fresh and crusty loaves in two dozen varieties. Yes, they have hippie breads paved with sunflower seeds and incorporating multiple grains, but they also sell slender baguettes, cinnamon rolls, and specialty ethnic breads like ciabattas.

The cafe entrance — the vast bakery sits behind it, climbing up a hill.

The fabled brick ovens are located in Boiceville, New York, in the central Catskill Mountains, southwest of Woodstock on Highway 28, at the tip of the Ashokan Reservoir, which provides drinking water for New York City. The small town was once located where the snaking reservoir now laps, and it had to be moved when the area was flooded between 1912 and 1914.

The unprepossessing storefront sits on a dirt access road parallel to the highway and offers little hint of the great bread-making doings inside — though a hot dog vendor not far away pointedly offers tossed salads in addition to franks, and the front of the bakery is festooned with flowers and other counterculture symbols.

Inside, there’s a bakery store and a café, which makes sandwiches using the fresh bread. This has come to be a popular pit stop for anyone headed up north to such popular vacation spots as Hunter Mountain (skiing), Phoenicia (tubing on Esopus Creek), and Windham (general resorting).


The memorably excellent roast beef sandwich at Bread Alone Cafe.

The sandwiches are luscious, and priced at $7 and $8, including conventional sandwiches and panini hot from the embrace of the sandwich press. Favorites include the tuna melt (on toasted multigrain with provolone, the tuna salad light on the mayo and heavy on the crunchy vegetables), roast beef (with white cheddar, microgreens, and herbed mayo on whole wheat), and garlic hummus (with goat cheese, roasted red peppers, and shredded carrots on mixed grain). Needless to say, there are plenty of vegetarian and vegan options, including a black-bean burger with tomato chutney and a roasted vegetable sandwich.

Tarts, pies, quiches, coffee, and soups are available, and there’s also a breakfast menu featuring frittati. Man, you won’t get food this good on the New York State Thruway, so it’s worth the exit and short drive.

The café attracts tourists and locals alike.