IN THE KITCHEN Co-owner Amelia Childs, 27, has been a vegan since she was 14 years old. “I always had this fantasy of opening a vegetarian café,” she said. She studied photography in college, but found herself constantly in the kitchen experimenting with food. After graduation, she took a marketing position but also a part-time job at a Newton Highlands coffee spot, and she then managed a juice company and taught juicing classes at the Cambridge Center for Adult Education. “My friends always made fun of me because I would get so involved in my juices,’’ she said, “but it’s like being a good bartender — it’s an art.”
THE LOCALE Childs lives in Roslindale but was familiar with the cafe space, located on the corner of Walnut and Floral streets, as the site of the coffee spot she once worked at. When that cafe closed two years ago, several former customers reached out to Childs, encouraging her to pursue her own vegetarian concept in the space, “which was very flattering and nice,” she said.
The Broken Grounds Café opened in October 2015. The space is petite, housing only seven seats. There’s an open kitchen, where you can watch your orders being individually made. (The only downside: Don’t try to hold a conversation when the blender is in use.) “It’s nice to have a really tiny store and a dream, and to be in a community that’s really open and receptive to what we do here,” Childs said.
ON THE MENU “There has been such a shift recently in people eating healthy and pursuing a healthy lifestyle. I wanted the menu to be based on food that’s light, easy, quick, and nourishing that anybody can enjoy,” Childs said. She sources her fruits and vegetables fresh each day and employs organic and low-environmental-impact ingredients. Many of the café’s recipes stem from Childs’s own home cooking.
Frozen acai bowls are a real standout. “Acai bowls are popular in other parts of the country,’’ said Childs. “We have so many people come in and say, ‘We tried this on vacation and this is the first place we found it here.’ ” We tried the Strawberry Fields variety ($8.50), which blends acai berries, bananas, strawberries, apple juice, and almond butter to a thick smoothie texture. The mixture is poured into a bowl and topped with slices of fresh strawberries and bananas and a layer of organic granola for some crunch.
Given Childs’s background, there’s a full lineup of juices ($6.25 to $7.75) and smoothies ($6 to $7.25). The Summer Love juice contains beets, carrots, ginger, apples, and lemons, while the Green Dream smoothie marries spinach, romaine lettuce, bananas, strawberries, and soy milk.
The café recently added new items to its breakfast menu, including the savory quinoa wrap ($8.50), with organic cage-free eggs, black beans, tomato, basil, kale, and mushrooms. We ordered the similar quinoa burrita ($8.95), served on a whole wheat wrap with corn, onions, diced peppers, black beans, and lettuce. It was tasty, but might have benefited from some added avocado or other flavorful spread. There’s also a spicy tofu scramble ($9.50) popular among vegans and nonvegans alike, Childs said.
The café’s coffee is sourced from local roaster Jim’s Organic, and is used in specialty drinks such as the Banana Split Latte ($4 to $5). Tea drinks are just as creative: The Iced Purple Haze ($4.50 to $5.50) features white tea infused with lavender syrup that imparts a royal hue.
The Broken Grounds Café is at 1182 Walnut St. in Newton Highlands; 617-969-3535, www.brokengrounds.com. Monday through Friday, 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday and Sunday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.Rachel Lebeaux can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @rachjournalist.