Today I was joined by my sister-in-law to go get reubens from Roundhouse Deli on Church street for lunch. Surprise! They were closed. I am having really bad luck with this sort of situation lately. They had a sign in the window that read “This deli is closed until further notice.” Great. With so few places on my list these days it’s hard to change plans on the fly. Luckily, however, there was something that was just across the train tracks on Vernon, Rustic Grains Bakery & Cafe (or is it Boundi? More on that later). We headed over.
At about 11:10 we were walking down the sidewalk of Vernon and turning to go through the front door. They had a couple of tables and chairs set up just outside. I mention the tables because once inside I wasn’t entirely sure if they were open. I mean, they were, the sign was on and they had some stuff on display, but it also looked like the place was in the middle of being re-built. There was a younger guy behind the counter helping a customer, and a man, who we soon discovered was the owner/operator, was sitting at one of the several tables that were pushed together towards the back. All three were talking and just a few steps into the bakery we were greeted by both. The owner beckoned us to come in further and try some samples that he had out on the counter. At this point he got up and started talking to us about how he only makes things with good, basic ingredients.
He spoke with a heavy European accent (I’m terrible at identifying accents, but I would take a wild stab at Greek….maybe) and was quite the character. He was both serious and jolly at the same time. Soon we were handed slices of bread to try as he described how it took 36 hours to ferment and that it was only made with simple, quality ingredients and squished a piece of it with his hand on the counter to show us how it bounced back into shape, more of his proof that it was real bread. Honestly, it was pretty damn good bread. The woman that was being helped as we walked in was heading out the door and stopped to come get a sample of the bread and tell us that she loves the place and despite it opening and closing repeatedly, she keeps coming back. Later we learned that he had closed the bakery recently for a couple months for personal reasons and they were starting fresh again with a new menu, which they were still working on. With that we asked if they had sandwiches for lunch, and we all headed down closer to the front of the store to talk about that. The offerings were very limited today, basically just a vegetarian or beef meatball type sandwich.
The vegetarian consisted of a falafel with hummus, eggplant and Sriracha sauce. The younger employee asked the owner if they had chicken today, who then said just beef, and proceeded to slice up one of the meatballs for us to try out. As he handed me the little plate he said that you know meat is good when its good cold. And it was good. We decided to get one of each type of sandwich and split them. He continued on talking about how all his meatballs were hand made with quality ingredients and then went on to say something along the lines of “I make things my way, and if you like it that’s good, because it’s healthier for you.” That’s an interesting stance to take and I suspect some people would be rubbed the wrong way by it, but I had to laugh at the time and thought, sure, that sounds good enough to me. They got to work on those and we picked out Coke from the very limited selection of drinks (a couple sodas, mango Jarritos, coffee and tea), then sat outside in the nice weather while we waited.
Maybe 5-7 minutes later the two baskets with each sandwich were brought out. They were served on buns of what looked like the same type of sourdough we had tried out earlier. Each one seemed to have the same set of toppings consisting of hummus and eggplant (or some sort of eggplant salad perhaps? There was definitely more than just eggplant there). Actually I didn’t realize that eggplant was not purple-colored throughout until I looked it up just now. While we were eating it we weren’t sure that it actually had it in there, but sure enough, that’s what it was. Both sandwiches were great. The bread was fantastic and fresh and the hummus was delicious. Even the falafel, which when you think about what it is made from sounds kinda boring, was pretty tasty. I’ll be recommending this sandwich to my vegetarian brother. The Sriracha was not overpowering as there wan’t a ton of it. It worked alongside everything else nicely and was a nice addition adding just a touch of zippy spice and chili flavor with the mild hummus.
As we got close to finishing up, my sister-in-law asked me if I wanted to split one of the pastries that she had noticed earlier. While she was inside getting these I wondered in to listen in a bit and take a photo inside. Basically these are cronuts (croissant/donuts), or, since that’s a trademarked name by the guy that makes them in NYC, these are Boundis, named by one of the owners grandchildren. He handed me a business card (below) that featured them. This is where I wonder if this place is still called Rustic Grains, because the card had a web address to boundi.com, which if you visit seems to be a full site for the bakery with no mention of Rustic Grains. The original/old Rustic Grains website still exists though, so I have no idea what the deal is. I’m kind of suspecting that we visited right in the middle of a transitional and rebranding period, but I didn’t ask at the time so who knows.
Both of the Boundis were incredible, especially the chocolate covered one. It literally is a cross between a croissant and a donut, tasting like good, fresh versions of each in every bite. I had been skeptical of the cronut craze that went on a while back in NY, but if this is anything like those, then I think I get it now. I recommend checking them out.
This was a strange, strange visit. Mostly due to the state the bakery was in. Disorganized, under construction, limited in choice. It did seem clean though, and the most important part to me was that the food was solid and the owner was very passionate about his food, quite vocally so. He was super nice and thankful for our visit and gave me a cup of coffee to go with the Boundi on the house. I haven’t mentioned any prices in this post because I honestly have no idea how much each thing was. I can say that it was about $20 total for all of it, which seems very reasonable. Due to the state of the cafe in it’s apparent re-opening I would give it 3.5 of 5, but given a little time and more fleshed out menu I could see this being a very nice little option right in the heart of downtown Roseville. At the very least it definitely seems to be a good place to get a loaf of bread or pastry for the moment.
Website(s): (not sure which one is right, maybe both!)
One thought on “#183: Rustic Grains Bakery/Cafe”
Glad that you found it open, been down Vernon Street many times, the place is usually closed. Food sounds good though.