CAFÉ REVIEW: All-day Newbury bookstore and café

A busy but otherwise good place to relax and get brunch

Trident Booksellers and Café

338 Newbury St, Boston

Monday – Sunday 8 a.m. – 12 a.m.

To the casual tourist strolling down the street, Trident Booksellers and Cafe may not appear to be a place to grab a coffee or a sandwich. However, for those of us who enjoy Sunday brunches or who are tired of studying at Starbucks, Trident may be the best Newbury has to offer.

Because of Trident’s popularity as a brunch hotspot, it may be difficult to get a table immediately during lunch hours on the weekend. On my visit, I ended up waiting for about 20 minutes. However, Trident also has a counter-top area where seating is first-come-first serve, and customers can find a seat there on their own. Furthermore, customers can take advantage of the most unique aspect of the café by browsing books stocked on both floors of the store.

During busy hours, service may also not be the best. In particular, I was served by a host who was frankly quite rude and a waitress who could not read her own handwriting. Therefore, since Trident offers all-day breakfast, I would avoid going there during peak times if you do not mind eating at odd hours. The café is also now taking reservations for weekdays, so I recommend stopping by on a weekday afternoon after classes.

I had the luxury of being seated in the dining area on the second floor. My table was close to the windows, and I enjoyed a nice view of Newbury Street. The atmosphere upstairs was also more relaxing, as I was far from the noisy crowd at the front door. Looking around, the other customers were generally young, and conversations were lively. It was not difficult to spot a few different college sweatshirts.

As a café, Trident possesses quite an extensive menu. There are many types of sandwiches, salads, and even a crêpe of the day. Drinks range from fruit juices to freshly brewed tea and many types of coffee. I ordered the Deluxe Grilled Cheese with grapefruit seltzer. The drink was very refreshing although it lacked the signature bitter aftertaste of grapefruit. As for the grilled cheese, it was made with provolone, tomatoes, bacon, and avocado. Although I enjoyed the softness of the challah bread, it was the range of tastes and textures that truly made for a great dish. The prominent ingredient was the avocado, whose creamy feel and unique flavor served as the defining feature of the grilled cheese. I particularly enjoyed the combination of bacon and avocado, two ingredients that may not always come to mind as a pair. If only the grilled cheese had been served fresh and hot, the dish would have been perfect.

All in all, the food at Trident was enjoyable, and I barely scratched the surface of its extensive menu. However, if you are flexible at all with time, I would strongly recommend that you pay Trident a visit during off-peak hours. Otherwise, you are likely to run into large crowds and may find yourself frustrated with spotty service.