Food & dining

Galit’s Treats Cafe & Bakery is a treat, indeed

A basket of nut-free chocolate rugelach at Galit’s Treats Cafe & Bakery.
Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff
A basket of nut-free chocolate rugelach at Galit’s Treats Cafe & Bakery.

One of the first things you notice when you step into Galit’s Treats Cafe & Bakery is a tall, wooden chest filled with buttery chocolate rugelach and savory burekas (small bundles of flaky pastry filled with potato, cheese, or pesto). Owner Galit Grutman, a talented baker, opened the Israeli-style bakery-cafe in Newton Centre in August. Grutman also creates chocolate babka, her own version of Boston cream pie, and cheesecakes whipped with yogurt, along with both vegan and gluten-free desserts. There are espresso drinks or — for a livelier jolt — try a Turkish coffee. One of Grutman’s specialties is fragrant, yeast-rich challah. The hefty rectangular and round, golden loaves are neither too sweet nor overly eggy, and have an earthiness that comes from being made with olive oil ($10-$20). “I think it’s healthier,” says Grutman, who 18 years ago emigrated from Israel with her husband, Mordechai, and young children in tow. The surroundings in the eight-seat cafe are so homey you feel as if you’ve stepped into Grutman’s dining room: a cushioned window seat lends coziness, pendant lights sparkle, and the shelves behind the counter are lined with her grandmother’s teacups. A hand-painted sign sits high on a shelf and reads, “Change the World with Love” and on many levels, that’s a fitting tribute to the place. Close to four years ago, Grutman’s son Roee died at age 17, and the most joyous room in the house, her kitchen, became fraught with painful memories. “I didn’t bake or cook again for two years,” says Grutman. The family ate out, or their close-knit community of friends brought in meals. But two years ago, her daughters persuaded Grutman to again bake the scrumptious rugelach and challah they remembered so well. “I ended up baking so much we brought everything to friends,” says Grutman. As praise and demand for her baked goods grew, Grutman started an online baking business, and when she needed to hire helpers, opening the shop made sense. In one corner are two upholstered, vintage-style chairs, and a box of Roee’s childhood toys for children to play with when their parents come for coffee and pastry. Grutman says this corner spot is not a memorial, but a remembrance. And a delicious one it is. 749 Beacon St., Newton Centre, 617-244-2411.