A Miss Maple with bacon on a corn jalapeño muffin at Vinal Bakery in Somerville’s Union Square. (Photo: Vinal Bakery via Twitter)
If you love a good, rib-sticking breakfast sandwich with a kick, as I do, there are many solid choices in Camberville. The Montrose Spa, Sarah’s Market and Mike & Patty’s at Bow Market are among ’em; add to that list Vinal Bakery in Union Square, on the tail of Somerville Avenue as it leaves Union proper and heads toward Monsignor O’Brien and McGrath highways. The specialty at Vinal is English muffins by founder Sarah Murphy, who toiled at Flour and Bagelsaurus (both places that make mean breakfast sammies too) and served in pop-up form before taking over the old Pizza Palace locale in 2019.
The bakery, named after a street on the other side of Union Square, is open only until 1 p.m., plenty of time for you to get in a breakfast or lunch order. For breakfast it’s egg sandwiches served on your choice of muffin, including a classic, French toast, multigrain or everything. I can attest to the classic: your basic Thomas’-style muffin with pockets to hold butter and sauce, but moister, spongier and more pleasing to the bite. I’ve tried a few sandwiches, including the American Classic (with cheese and an over-medium egg), the Miss Maple (the Classic, but with maple butter) and the G.O.A.T. (an over-medium egg, goat cheese butter, spicy pesto and arugula). They’re all solid morning eats, but that last one, with the spicy bite and smooth creaminess of the goat cheese, is Brady-esque. For lunch (in honor of the old pizza joint?), you can get pizza muffins as a basic cheese with slow-cooked tomato sauce; with pepperoni; or half-and-half. The other lunch fare that caught my eye on the last sojourn was the Ham Jamboree with griddled ham, brie, arugula, salted butter and red pepper jelly. It’s a great combo, piled high with a touch of sweetness from that jelly that reminded me of the pineapple glazing my mom used to put on holidays hams. Plus there’s brie, and you can’t go wrong with brie – I still rue the closing of the Oxford Spa with its brie, butter and ham on a baguette. The Jamboree is a nice pinch hitter.
One thing about Vinal: There’s no indoor dining currently, and it’s well advised to order online. On the Toast app you can customize freely (adding bacon, turkey sausage or vegan sausage, taking out arugula and so on) and they package the food up perfectly. A Covid-protocol-friendly outside pickup window is especially convenient for bicyclists, as a new separated bike path runs right by the storefront. On one of the past 20-degree days I rode over to pick up a few breakfast sandwiches, biked the 2 miles home and the food was still warm and good to gobble.