It seems like the ultimate homey, eat-in-your-pjs type of food. And while it was once the province of home kitchens only, toast—just like other childhood favorites such as cereal with milk, peanut butter & jelly or mac ‘n’ cheese—has gained attention from creative chefs who have explored ways to make it a menu superstar.
Seven dollars a slice? Sign us up
The opportunities to turn lightly cooked bread and minimal toppings into a highly crafted artisanal darling are plentiful—from using authentically stone-milled flour in the bread to topping those slices with house-made jams or locally sourced honeys. And at prices that are currently running as high as $7 a slice, the labor-to-profit advantage is significant.
The fancy-pants toast trend is widely acknowledged to have begun at San Francisco’s Trouble Coffee and Coconut Club. Many others have followed in its path, including another San Francisco institution, The Mill. Josey Baker, head baker, has said that on a busy Saturday or Sunday the Mill will serve as many as 400 pieces of toast. Options for that slice include cream cheese toast, served with black pepper and sea salt on dark mountain rye ($6), almond butter with sea salt on “adventure bread” ($7) and pumpkin butter with sea salt on whole wheat sesame bread ($7).
Flight of toast
With restaurants firing up their toasters all over the country, diners are toast-snapping and toast-posting with wild abandon. Beginning with avocado toast and moving on to spirulina-infused Mermaid Toast and unicorn toast, this is a menu choice that’s begging for every crumb to be chronicled on Instagram.
Would toast be a fit for your operation? A recent survey of professional chefs on breakfast trends showed 45 percent of the respondents said avocado toast would be a “hot trend” for restaurant menus in 2018. If you want to try it for yourself, remember to provide offerings that cover a range of dining preferences, from healthy to indulgent. Or consider a weekend DIY “toast bar.” At Scratch Baking. Co. in Portland, Maine, there are dozens of build-your-own toast bar options, as well as the opportunity to order a “flight of toast,” described as a sampling of three toasts paired with spreads.