If you can't afford it don't go!.
I must say all the bad reviews mention prices and service but few mention food quality as an issue. Organic, natural food is expensive. Obviously most of the complainers must not buy organic food or they would know these sandwiches are cheap for what you are getting. If you want a $6 sandwich go to a processed food place or better yet how about number 5 with wonton. The Hi-Rise consistently produces high quality organic/natural food which not only tastes incredible but is good for you. Cambridge is lucky to have this place and I am glad it is doing well enough to stick around. At least there is one place I can go and know i am getting something with quality ingredients. I for one am happy to pay these bargain prices.
By the way, I have never had a problem with the service. Last time I checked people are generally nice to you when you are nice to them. For those of you who dislike the service perhaps the arrogance is misplaced. Have a look in the mirror.
Keep going Hi-Rise, Cambridge needs you!
Great place for good sandwiches. Hi-Rise Bread Co is a great place to grab a sandwich. The Harvard Square location offers outdoor seating.
Best European bread in cambridge..
Being Swiss, I love crusty artisanal bread that I can eat with my cheese & meats, and this is the place I buy my fresh bread. If you like delicious bread, I highly recommend this place. Their sandwiches are consequently very tasty, if pricey for some people - but you get what you pay for. Don't complain about a $10 (large) sandwich if you're the type of person to drop $4 on a mediocre latte at Starbucks.
About the staff - I'll admit that the first few times I went there I was disappointed the cashiers weren't as warm as I expected. They've gotten much better about this over the years. Even so, in the end, what matters here is the food, which is simply top-notch.
Their simple "toast and jam" that was assaulted by some previous customer is home-made and absolutely worth it. The ingredients on their jam reads something like this: "Fresh figs, fresh strawberries, cane sugar, lemon juice." I challenge you to find an ingredient list that short in a supermarket! (I think "Bonne Maman" makes good jam, but is soundly beaten by HR).
Finally, they have great coffee, and a good (if marked-up) wine selection. I usually let their wine selection guide my bulk purchases at Trader Joe's/etc. Still, I haven't bought one from them I didn't like.
We went there today thinking it would be fun to have some good salad after a run.
So - the salad seemed to be cut at least a day or two ago, the service was horrible (they kept on forgetting the things we ordered), but worst of all - even thou that we sat at the place they serve everything in plastic - plastic boxes for the salad and plastic utensils - it seems that these people didn't hear that the environment is fighting for it's life.
The prices are high enough for them to afford some dishes and a dishwasher.
The staff is either snobby or unhappy. Plenty of better bakeries with nicer people around.
Hi-Rise should change it's name to Lo Rise. Any positive reviews you read pertaining to great customer service must be written by the owner himself and/or the staff. I've had enough, they have lost my business.
Petsi Pies, Cambridge & Somerville
the best, and pressed for time, so they are not "bonjour, mes ami" all the time..
Hi Rise is the best bakery I have experienced, and they are as friendly as time permits...
The cutting reviewers are overly solipsistic......, and seem to want to always be greeted with "hugs and bouquets...
I would go there daily, if I lived there (Huron/Concord Ave.) year round.
jack barry, san francisco and cambridge
Could be a real gem but the service holds it back.
Just read the reviews and you get the picture. I've been going here for 8 years just to get a decent sandwich (Dan's Havana Heaven - #23). They also have very interesting and inexpensive wines. But that's where pros end. Now onto the cons:
The answer as to why the servers are so rude is simple. The owner is a real ahole. I've come across this guy several times and he should not be in a service industry. He once asked me to step away from the breads as I was too close and was "breathing on them". You can just imagine what I wanted to say back but I got my sandwich and left.
This sums up Cambridge and greater Boston in a nutshell. The area is so densely populated that the owner knows that they can be complete jerks to everyone and they will still be packed every day so why bother being nice? And the girl with the pigtails is still there. She's gotten older and her face is now contorted whereas she used to be cute. Must be due to all the frowing at customers over the last decade. For shame Hi-Rise, you should fire the whole staff and start over. You could be great but for some reason the owner doesn't see it or more likely doesn't care as long as the $$ kjeeps rolling in and you can keep raising prices. I predict the sandwiches will be over $10 in 6 months. Right now they are $9.50, up $2 since 2003.
If excellence in food matters to you.... Count me as one more townie who loves the Hi-Rise. And I know that service can be spotty at times, but I see that as a direct result of the volume of very demanding customers that they cope with because their products are just so fine. The quality and variety of their breads are just amazing. Sandwiches are yummy, creative, oversized (ordering half is fine). Take out dinners are fresh, healthy home cooking. We also enjoy their wine selections, their jams (I go for the Blenheim apricot). Prices run high, and you get what you pay for. They are one of those locally owned joints that make Cambridge a great place to call home.
Wonderful cozy nook in West Cambridge, fabulous food, first-rate service, neighborhood gem. After reading the negative reviews some people have written, I just HAD to say something! I live in the neighborhood (of Hi-Rise on Concord Ave), and go to Hi-Rise two, three times a week. The clientele is generally nice - academics and writers, leftist types, yoginis, lots of families, and a few yuppies. The regulars come in during the week, so that's the nicest time to go. I have also had dealings with EACH member of their staff, and they are all to the one gracious gentle people, very passionate and knowledgeable about the food they serve and extremely polite, even when there is a feeding frenzy, for example, for Sunday brunch. Their quiches are exquisite, also their jam brioches, homemade jams (the ones with plums are to die for), soups (mushroom- YUM!) and cookies. HINT: try their prepared dinners - warm and change every weekday. You can just pick one up for take-out when you are too tired to cook yourself dinner - I can't wait for the lamb and rice one (and I'm a vegetarian!!!) The food is consistently FRESH, which is great; they actually run out of things because they cook them fresh every day; you know you are not getting some pre-processed junk. I love the friendly reviews of wines posted in the store, and they often have good deals on them, too. This is the CLOSEST you can come to a European-style bakery in Cambridge-Boston. Hi-Rise is a neighborhood institution and a very cozy place - the kind of place you go when you're in a bad mood and need some comfort food, or just to hang out in. I wonder if some of the people who have written the negative reviews are just used to assembly-line service, and never-ending supply. Hi-Rise is a real bakery, and the staff are real human beings. Yes the prices are high, but Harvard Square/West Cambridge is a very high-priced area (even Au Bon Pain has become more expensive of late), plus Hi-Rise gives you HUGE portions. Their sandwiches are VERY GENEROUS, and they will do half-sandwiches if you request.
An utterly obnoxious atmopshere.
It's never easy to lambast a place with good food, but I have no choice. I don't know if I can recall a place quite as pretentious and rude as the HiRise. Such a shame. I will give a perfect example. We walk into the Harvard Square location for breakfast in the morning at 9:30am. We order the "toast basket", which consists of, um, toast and jam. And we are told "no, breakfast is not served until 10am". And with the toaster right behind the counter, in plain view, the counter person simply walked away.
I understand restaurants must set limits, and that makes sense. But you have got to be kidding. No TOAST at 9:30am? And it is not simply the absurdity of this fact...it is the WAY it was handled. I have been to the HiRise multiple time, always willing to give it "one last chance". But I am done. I can find food equally good, almost anywhere in Cambridge, without having to put up with this adolescent nonsense.
Perhaps the owners should listen to the multitude of reviews here. There is a way to become friendly and accommodating, I just hope it is without becoming obsequious or ingratiating. I don't know where the defect in this place is, but I suspect it is deeply rooted.
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