If you went to Canada as a kid, there are two foods you probably remember eating: those weird-good hamburgers and butter tarts.
Butter tarts haven’t really caught on on this side of the Niagara River, but that doesn’t mean we don’t love them and want them. Thankfully, the new Queen of Tarts cafe in Tonawanda is here to meet all our butter tart needs.
Owner Kim Boyd told us that when her Canada-born dad was craving butter tarts during the pandemic, she looked up a recipe and made a few for him to try.
“He absolutely loved them,” she said. “Then I gave it to a couple other people and they absolutely loved them!”
Apparently she stumbled onto the secret to a good butter tart. So, what is it?
“It requires a very fragile dough that can easily be overworked,” Boyd said. “You gotta take your time with it. There are times when I have to throw away dough because I’ve messed it up and if I try to use it, it’ll produce a tough crust that isn’t flaky and doesn’t taste good.”
She said her first in-the-know customers came in looking for a bit of culinary nostalgia, and these people knew their butter tarts.
“I had a guy come in who was born in Toronto,” she said. “He ate a butter tart right in front of me, so, like no pressure! After eating it, he said he hadn’t had one that good since his aunt made them, and she passed away many years ago. So apparently I’m doing them right.”
Butter tarts come from England. It’s probably why The Queen is still on Canadian money. In keeping with that tradition, the new Queen of Tarts cafe also makes a number of traditional English treats, including scones, “biscuit” cookies and cheese straws.
Of course, if you just eat butter tarts and other baked goods, you’ll turn fat and doughy like a Maple Leafs fan, eh? Fortunately, the cafe menu also includes salads, soups and sandwiches. Beverages options include tea (obviously), coffee, hot chocolate, hot cider, juice and soft drinks.
Boyd may be the new Queen of Tarts, but she spent many years on the local arts and crafts circuit, selling different things she’s made. When Boyd rented her space for the new cafe, she made sure to set aside space for others in the local DIY artisan community.
“I wanted to create a space for people who have products to sell and nowhere to sell them. Because our event season is mostly in the summer. So getting your products in a store is highly sought after.”
Between the tarts and the crafts, the new cafe is already drawing a bit of a following. Living around the corner from her shop, Boyd said she’s simply happy to be meeting the needs of her neighbors and fellow makers.
“I want to make sure I’m providing options for people in the neighborhood that weren’t there before. And whenever I can give back, I will absolutely do that – 100 percent.”
Hours at the time of publishing (Subject to change): Monday to Friday 7:30 a.m – 3:30 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. – 3 p.m
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