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Vinal Bakery (Union Square)

Vinal Bakery was highly recommended to me by friends, co-workers, and family members, and it did not disappoint. They first began as a weekly pop-up shop specializing in selling English muffins while the owner, Sarah Murphy, spent some time gaining experience at restaurants in the Boston area like Sarma and Bagelsaurus. Now, Vinal Bakery operates in Union Square (conveniently located right off the Green Line extension) and has an expansive menu that includes breakfast sandwiches, pastries, and doggo treats.

During my visit, I decided to opt for simplicity and chose a menu item that would truly allow me to assess whether the foundational flavors of the restaurant are worth exploring further. The American Classic caught my attention - a breakfast sandwich comprising of an over medium egg, American cheese, and a touch of salted butter. I usually like having some protein on my plate, and so I couldn't resist adding bacon to my "sammy" for an additional $3. In order to fully immerse myself in the bakery experience, I also indulged in slices of their Banana Bread and Chocolate Espresso cake. To top it all off, I made sure to order some Dog Biscuits to bring home for my son.

Extraordinary, Tasty Food (for 2 and 4 legged friends)

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Here's my take. I thought this was one of the best sandwiches I've had in recent memory. The English muffin had a nice, salty taste; the over medium egg was cooked perfectly, and the bacon was flavorful and crispy. The combination of a toasted bun and bacon gave me the nice, satisfying crunch you'd want from a sandwich, all while being offset by the softness of the egg/cheese combo. However, I must admit that the bacon was a bit overpowering for my palate. While I appreciated its smoky flavor, I would have preferred a slightly milder taste in meat to allow the other ingredients to shine even more. Further, I think that this sandwich would have benefited from some more butter on the outside of the buns to make the overall meal more juicy and flavorful. Still, would absolutely recommend this sandwich, or any other sandwich on the menu.  

I have absolutely no reservations about the pastries here. If you're looking for a delightful snack to satisfy your sweet tooth, look no than the banana bread and espresso chocolate cake. The banana bread is a balanced, moist and flavorful treat, with just the right amount of sweetness coming from the bananas. As for the espresso chocolate cake, it is a rich, velvety chocolate cake topped with an espresso glaze sure to leave you coffee lovers happy. 10/10 would go again just for these two

In the future, here's what I might recommend. 1) Try the Turkey Sausage. It is made in house and would likely be a milder flavor than the bacon. 2) Order a more ambitious sandwich like the G.O.A.T (Goat Cheese Butter!) or the Sausage McVinal, both of which were recommended to me by the delightful employee I chatted with. 3) Don't forget to bring home some dog treats for the furry friends at home! Albert approved and gave his stamp of approval and these tasty snacks. 

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Thoughtful and Inviting Ambiance
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Everywhere I looked, I felt a strong sense of care in this place. The staff are delightful to engage with, all of them willing to offer up their recommendations to me. The space itself is small, but cozy, providing a few places to sit and gather with friends. Perhaps my favorite detail was the community NY Times Crossword, which was sitting out on the counter for people to fill out as they felt comfortable. All in all, the vibes here were chill and I really enjoyed my time talking to the people I interacted with. 

Easy to get to, even easier on the wallet

Vinal is located about a 5 minute walk (2 minutes for you fast walkers out there) from the Union Square stop on the Green Line. While they don't have a ton of indoor seating, they have a dedicated pick-up window and encourage people to order ahead for a seamless experience. 

I was pleasantly surprised by how budget-friendly the menu is. Whether you're coming in for a sandwich ($6.75-$9) or a pastry ($2.50-$4), I think your purchase is worth every penny considering the quality that is evident in the final product. I thought the size of my items were more than enough to keep me filled up for the day, while also not feeling like I ate too much in the process. 

Final Verdict: 9/10

There is a lot to love about Vinal. The English muffin is exquisite; the pastries are wonderfully crafted and easy on the tummy; the over medium egg was cooked to perfection. Further, and perhaps most importantly, a delicious sandwich available for $6.75 is a steal in my books. Many of ingredients here are made from scratch, leading me to recommend this as a "must try" place for when you're in town. The knock on their rating came down to two simple reasons: I thought their bacon was a bit too smoked, and that the sandwich would have benefitted from a buttery crisp on the muffins. If you prefer a smoky taste to your food, or if you would prefer some of their house-made Turkey Sausage, then this just might be the best breakfast sandwich in town.