The original The Works Bakery Cafe was founded in Manchester, Vermont in July 1988 by Richard French and some of his friends as the Bagel Works. As the menu expanded beyond bagels, the name changed to reflect the expansion. Today it’s a franchise business with 7 locations---2 in Vermont, 4 in New Hampshire, and one in Maine. The Seacoast Region of New Hampshire is fortunate to have two---one in Portsmouth and one in Durham.
I visited the Durham location at midafternoon to celebrate getting a defective bulky TV packed up, taken down two flights of stairs, and delivered to UPS for shipment off to the repair facility under warranty. It was like getting rid of an albatross around my neck. It was cause for rejoicing.
After looking over the extensive cafe menu that included eggs, yogurt, fruit cup, bagels, croissants, assorted pastries, brownies, cookies, scones, and muffins, plus sandwiches, panini, wraps, soups, and salads, I decided on a toasted Tomato-Basil Bagel at $1.19 and a medium decaf coffee at $1.89.
Service was fast and courteous.
Since everything that The Works Bakery Café serves has no antibiotics, no added hormones, no nitrates, and no nitrites, the bagel had a fresh, natural taste. The tomato-basil flavor was very good for a late lunch. Their bagels are also baked fresh several times a day.
Their coffee is excellent. It is estate-grown at Hacienda Rio Negro near the Panama border. It is the first plantation in Costa Rica too become Rainforest Alliance Certified. This Arabica coffee is grown in shade and hand-picked, then roasted in small batches. So, my coffee had that rich, full-bodied flavor; and, as is the case with high-quality coffee, it had a smooth finish with no bitter aftertaste despite being acidic. It was just the treat I needed after completing my project for the day.
The atmosphere is that of the cafeteria-style coffeehouse it is. It was quiet when I was there with 8 other patrons. The patrons ranged in age from college students and professors from UNH across the street to locals seniors.
I enjoy coffee at several excellent coffee houses in my area. After Port City Coffee Roasters, the two The Works Bakery Cafe locations are tied for second place with Breaking New Grounds in Portsmouth on my Favorite Coffee Houses List.
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