A recent New York Times article outlined how some café owners, tired of laptop-banging customers who linger for free Wi-Fi, are pulling the plug on Internet access. That's a shame: while not an all-day camper, I occasionally crave some human company outside of my home office, and find it useful to work online while I enjoy a coffee and pastry. So I'm grateful that Mohr & McPherson, a swank home-furnishings purveyor, has added a downstairs café to its South End location. No surprise it's furnished with big tables and comfy armchairs (by Mohr & McPherson, natch). Better yet, it has free Wi-Fi and very pleasant breakfast and lunch fare, much of it from local purveyors.
The foundation of any café is stimulants in beverage form, and this one serves up solid espresso drinks ($1.60–$3.10), filter coffee ($1.50–$2.25), teas ($2.40), and iced versions of the same ($1.80–$4.25). Soft-drink options include Nantucket Nectars ($2.25) and Polar Classic sodas ($1.95). A broad baked-goods selection accompanies these, mostly from reliable, ubiquitous Cambridge bakery Iggy's, including scones ($2.25), croissants ($2.25–$3), muffins ($2.25), and bagels ($1.75). Lark Fine Foods of Gloucester contributes gourmet toasted-coconut cookies ($5.79/12-oz. bag), while Amesbury bakery Dough Raise Me provides raspberry streusel bars ($3.79) and whoopee pies ($3.75). Other sweet options include the delicious lemon "thing" ($1.95), a frosted lemon cake laced with lemon mousse, and an individual-size dulce de leche cheesecake ($1.95). Lighter alternatives include parfaits of strawberries and blueberries layered with excellent Fage yogurt ($4.99), and Heart Thrive vegan energy bars ($2.75).
At lunch, the focus shifts to fresh-tasting salads and sandwiches. The fine meal-size salads include one with grilled vegetables and fresh mozzarella ($7.29) and another of greens ($7.29) with walnuts, tomatoes, cucumbers, and feta in a raspberry vinaigrette. A smaller, premade pasta salad ($4.25) features crisp-poached vegetables. The hefty sandwiches include a pastrami panino ($7.60) pressed on robust ciabatta and topped with red onions, Swiss cheese, and grain mustard, and an overstuffed wrap of chicken salad ($7.90) with grapes and greens; all include a small side salad. Customers can also take away bags of house-blended lemon/herb tisane ($9.50/3 oz.) and products from wonderful Somerville chocolatier Taza, including its fruity, slightly grainy Mexican-style chocolate ($4.99/2.7-oz. disk). In its sunny, airy space, Mohr & McPherson Café allows South Enders to get some human interaction, a productivity-enhancing caffeine jolt, and a healthy nosh. Here's hoping they keep the Internet.
Mohr & McPherson Café, located at 460 Harrison Avenue, in Boston, is open Monday–Friday, 7 am–5 pm, Saturday and Sunday, 9 am–6 pm (7 am–6 pm weekends through October). Call 617.210.7926.