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Robert Fecteau of BirchTree Bread Co. offers rustic bread, baked goods, and grilled sandwiches.
Robert Fecteau of BirchTree Bread Co. offers rustic bread, baked goods, and grilled sandwiches. (Josh Reynolds for The Boston Globe)

Corned beef and red cabbage.
Corned beef and red cabbage. (Josh Reynolds for The Boston Globe)

BirchTree Bread Co. opened in a restored mill building in Worcester’s Canal District, called Crompton Place. The bakery-cafe seats 50, but feels cozy. Owner and baker Robert Fecteau filled the space with upholstered booths, train station benches, and a cushy old sofa. An upright piano sits in one corner, his grandmother’s dining table in another. “The marble counter was steps from a building on Main Street,” says Fecteau, who was a chef at Four Seasons Hotel Boston and Ames Boston Hotel. Later, he learned to make bread in San Francisco bakeries, including Tartine Bakery & Cafe with renowned bread baker Chad Robertson. Fecteau’s naturally leavened, deeply flavored, mahogany loaves are crafted from freshly milled, organic grains from Upinngil Farm in Gill. A rustic herb loaf is studded with Kalamata olives; golden raisins add a sweet contrast to a coriander-spiced round; a country bread’s crust is crackly with an interior soft as velvet ($6 to $6.50). The cafe also sells buttery croissants, scones, and muffins ($3.50 to $5). Coffee comes from Worcester roaster Acoustic Java. For lunch,there are seasonal salads ($4.50 to $7) and the grilled sandwiches ($8 to $9.50) layer meats with New England cheeses. You could live on this bread alone. BirchTree Bread Co., 138 Green St., Worcester, 774-243-6944, or at farmers’ markets. For a schedule go to www.birchtreebreadcompany.com .

ANN TRIEGER KURLAND