First Look

I Paid $7 for a Single Slice of 'Artisanal Toast,' And You Can, Too

Back in May, we shared the big news: that Dallas would soon have its very own "artisanal toast" restaurant, Toasted Coffee + Kitchen. Feedback was swift — and harsh. "Fucking hipsters," seemed to be a common refrain. Despite the, uh, feedback, Toasted co-founder Joel Roldan insisted that his toast-centric concept was "not hipster."

“You could label anything you want," he told the Observer back in June. "I just like bread. I like toast. I think it’s homey. … We’re just trying to be Americana."

Now, Dallasites can judge Toasted for themselves, because the eatery opened quietly this week in the same plaza that houses Milk + Honey, the recently resurrected Ships Lounge and a barbershop with a motorcycle parked inside.

That's right: A barbershop, trendy dessert spot, an artisanal toast restaurant and beloved dive bar all in one quiet little strip mall. All this block needs is a Fernet bar and it'll become a living caricature of itself.

The interior at Toasted is what you'd expect: wide open and modern with industrial touches, which puts it on par with just about every restaurant and coffee joint that's opened in Dallas in the last 18 months. The vibe is nice, though — it feels like a good spot to post up with a laptop and get some work done on a rainy day.

Since Toasted just opened this week, the menu is limited but a good indicator of what to expect. Single slices of toast — made with bread fresh-baked in-house — will set you back $4 to $7, and toppings range from avocado-chocolate ganache to Sriracha and whatever sunflower sauce is. On my first visit, I went with the Toast Ma Goats, fresh bread topped with sweet goat cheese, pear slices, pecans and a drizzle of honey. It cost $7, and only when the toast was delivered to my table — on a trendy metal tray, of course, in lieu of just a regular goddamned plate — did it really sink in: I just paid $7 for a single piece of toast.

Despite the sticker shock, it was, in fact, a damn fine piece of toast. The bread was fluffy and fresh, the sweet goat cheese pleasantly rich, the pear and honey and pecans working in tandem to create a flavor profile that oscillated between sweet and earthy. It was a nice breakfast — but it was also a $7 single slice of toast. Potato, potato.

A $3.50 cortado — ordered from the extensive coffee and espresso menu — tasted burnt and bitter, leaving a bad taste in my mouth that lingered so long, I stopped at Method on the way to work just to wash the taste from my mouth with an expertly prepared Flat White. I'll certainly forgive the lackluster coffee; after all, Toasted has only been open a couple days, so they likely have some kinks to work out. If they play their cards right, this spot could become a popular coffee shop for the neighborhood.

So is Toasted Coffee + Kitchen The Next Great Dallas Thing™? It's not likely, but it could at least become A Next Great Dallas Thing™ for people who want a quick bite to eat and cup of coffee before heading into work. The toast is good and the coffee shows promise, and it's currently open daily from 6 a.m. to 9 p.m., which is mighty convenient.

Now it's up to consumers to decide whether they can stomach paying $7 for a slice of toast — but then again, this is Dallas. If a lower middle class consumer like me will pay $7 for a tiny blob of freshly-grated wasabi at Tei Tei Robata, a little high-end toast doesn't seem quite so far-fetched.
Toasted Coffee + Kitchen, 5420 Ross Ave.
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Beth Rankin is an Ohio native and Cicerone-certified beer server who specializes in social media, food and drink, travel and news reporting. Her belief system revolves around the significance of Topo Chico, the refusal to eat crawfish out of season and the importance of local and regional foodways.
Contact: Beth Rankin