A New Campus Hot Spot: Tamper
Many Tufts students were (rightly) horrified when the Boloco on Boston Avenue closed last spring. We lamented the loss of our beloved burritos and smoothies, and when word spread that a coffee café/breakfast/lunch/brunch spot would be taking its place, some thought it would never survive since the Tufts-treasured Danish Pastry House is just a few doors down. There was a general apathy was generated about the location as a result, but the newly opened addition to Boston Ave, Tamper, is indeed worthy of Tufts’ loyalty.
First of all, the space is just plain cool. White walls and large windows keep the café seating bright with natural light, but there’s also an industrial vibe to the space expressed in the exposed vintage light bulbs, dark wood, and smattering of bare pipes. Even the menu looks modern: it is sparsely worded and its text evokes a stenciled chalkboard. Tamper holds onto its hipster reputation by selling artisanal goodies, such as Askinosie chocolates, coffee beans, fancy bags of chips, and local maple syrup.
When it comes to food and drink, the possibilities are limitless: you can just grab a coffee and a pastry, you can order breakfast, you can eat lunch, or you can have a brunch date. There is a large variety of coffee drinks, as well as impressive tea options, hot chocolate, and homemade sodas. I’ve only had the drip coffee, which is not super strong but is definitely a tasty alternative to many of the other choices around Tufts. It’s also served in a glass mug, so it’s simply more hip than other cups of coffee.
As for food, I was able to try the lunch menu on my first visit. I ordered the hummus sandwich, which contains hummus and pickled vegetables, both made in-house, and served on freshly toasted bread. The vegetables had a great crispness and tanginess to them that accented the creamy and bright hummus. The bread had a subtle crunch from being toasted, yet still maintained its fluffiness. Overall, it was very satisfying.
Although I enjoyed this sandwich immensely, I will surely return to try the other options, such as the chicken pesto sandwich, the grilled cheese (served with fresh tomato soup!), and the salad with maple/balsamic dressing. Friends who have had the pot roast and grilled cheese sandwiches have had nothing but good things to say. I was able to try out one of Tamper’s few pastries – a slice of olive oil bread that I loved for its orangey flavor and moistness. It would not be my usual pick, but there were just very few options to choose from. That being said, I was not the least bit disappointed.
Breakfast options, although I have yet to try anything on the menu, include oatmeal that a friend reports is creamy and filling and is served with bananas and maple syrup. What I really appreciate is that they have the usual breakfast options alongside a toast menu that includes simple additions like butter and jam but also allows for a sophisticated alternative – toast with ricotta and jam. The brunch menu, which is served only on the weekends, includes Swedish pancakes and brioche French toast, so I am sure I will go soon.
Rumor has it that the menu will be expanded soon and that there will be a true grand opening event sometime in next few weeks, so keep your eyes peeled. In the meantime, make sure to check out the new kid on the block. Although it is only be open until 3 in the afternoon, it is sure to become Tufts’ new it café, so get ahead of the curve and check out this spot ASAP.
Food (taste): A-
Food (presentation): B
Price: Breakfast/drink/pastry options: $2-$5, lunch/brunch options: $6-$12
340 Boston Avenue, Medford, MA, 02155
– Izzy Levenson