Fab Find :: JP’s Ula Bakery and Cafe

by Rebecca Hansen
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Saturday Mar 21, 2009

Lots of writers love coffee shops. When you're a writer living with a professional musician who works from home, the coffee shop takes on a whole new significance. It's your refuge, your office, and often your only path to productivity while a lackluster college indie band is tracking their drums in your dining room. These are the moments when you thank your lucky stars for places like Ula Caf? and Bakery in Jamaica Plain.

Located in The Brewery- along with some very cool neighbors, including Bikes not Bombs and Children's Music Center- Ula provides what JP's been missing for so long: a coffee shop for grown-ups.

Although I certainly don't begrudge young mothers a morning out at JP Licks, at Ula there are no play groups meeting; no herds of two-year-olds crawling between your legs and under your table. Rather, an eclectic group of people who all seem pleased to have found such a place; a tableful of construction workers talks quietly during their morning break; a pair of designers meets to pick out tile for a new restaurant; a teacher grades papers; and- of course- lots of people type quietly away on their laptops or read the morning paper.

Better still, all of this happens to a fabulous soundtrack, ranging from vintage Michael Jackson to Feist and Peter Gabriel. Rather than trying to tune-out the pretentious trance mixes that coffee shops so often play, at Ula you find yourself happily tuning in.

A Tasty, Eclectic Menu

The caf? offers an enticing assortment of libations with all the critical espresso-based standards, but also some delicious standouts, including my current beverage of choice, the Rooibos latte. And they do it right; no half-baked steeped teabag lattes here (Starbucks take note). At Ula the red tea is brewed just like espresso, resulting in a rich, creamy latte, which can only be improved upon by a dash of raw sugar or vanilla syrup. They also have classic Italian sodas, a sweet and refreshing treat for the summer.

In terms of breakfast treats, the bakery’s claim to fame is its fabulous popovers- which come out in fresh batches all morning long- but they also offer a host of other treats. Their crumb bars- a buttery shortbread with apricot, date, or raspberry preserves, topped with a lightly sweet crumble- make the perfect snack for teatime.

Their sandwich menu is eclectic and reliably yummy, including everything from roast beef to curried tofu. My personal favorite is the Sweet Potato, which, in addition to some yummy layers of the aforementioned tuber, combines creamy avocado, Monterey jack, sprouts, crunchy red onion, and a tahini-poppy seed spread on semolina, with scrumptious results. The lunch menu is nicely rounded out by salads and fresh soups made daily- the perfect compliment to a half sandwich.

All told, Ula is a gem of a caf?; the menu has something for everyone, and the funky, relaxed atmosphere lends itself to a few hours of whatever your little heart desires, whether it be writing, reading, or just some good old-fashioned conversation with a friend.

If you haven’t been there yet, it’s time you gave it a try. You might just wind up a regular, tucked happily into a sunny corner table, wondering why you didn’t visit sooner.

284 Amory Street
Jamaica Plain

Rebecca Hansen is a freelance writer living in Boston. She can be reached at


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