Food News

"It's Not Hipster" — The Team Behind Dallas' First Artisanal Toast Restaurant Defends Toasted Bread

When the Observer posted about the soon-to-be Toasted Coffee + Kitchen restaurant, a number of people commented with exasperation about an eatery specializing in "artisanal toast."

"The clarion call has been sounded. The world is ending. ... Dallas is officially over."

"Sounds like hipster hell."

"But will they toast it over an open fire pit in the middle of the room? I need to actually observe my bread while it toasts."

"White people."

Not all reactions were bad — some fell along the lines of “good toast is like a piece of heaven!” And Toasted co-founder Joel Roldan is in that boat.

“You could label anything you want. I just like bread. I like toast,” Roldan says. ”I think it’s homey. … We’re just trying to be Americana. If anything, toast is the staple of breakfast food. It’s not hipster.”

Roldan plans to open Toasted with business partner Bob Sinnott in Lowest Greenville in July. They’ll serve lighter plates of topped toast, along with heavier options — more like open-faced sandwiches — with local coffee and beer.

“There’s always going to be a few snarky comments,” Sinnott says. “When Starbucks started, people thought that was hipster. We feel toast is the same way. It hasn’t shown any slowing in San Francisco, where it’s been for a few years.”

While you can find ordinary toast at ordinary breakfast places around Dallas, the gourmet, locally sourced, well-made toast trend isn't actually new to Dallas. It already exists at spots like the Rustic, The Wild Detectives, Cultivar and Local Press + Brew, where bread from Empire or Wheat and Sour comes topped in locally produced jams and cream cheese. 
The difference at Toasted, Sinnott said, is that the bread is baked in-house.

“Once they’re in there and see the bakery, they watch it being made, it’s a show, it’s an aroma, it’s an experience," Sinnott says. "They will learn that bread is better when it’s right out of the oven, as opposed to being shipped out."

He relates it to a couple of years ago, when people could drive down Mockingbird Lane near SMU and smell the baking bread from the old Mrs Baird’s factory. The two also see Toasted as more in line with a bagel shop, an example Roldan used, as a restaurant specializing in one item.

So what if people give it that “hipster” label?

“I saw a comment on Facebook in regards to this restaurant, and it said, ‘Oh, my gosh, I guess I’ll have to grow a beard so I can go in there,’” Sinnott says. “You’ll see families there. There’s not a sandwich spot in Lower Greenville. I think it’s something people will crave in that area.”

Roldan was inspired by a concept he saw in San Francisco and says he’s eager to offer it to Dallas residents.

“I just like toast, and I like my menu, and I love coffee, and I like the restaurant business, and I thought it was a neat idea," he says. "We didn’t go into it thinking [how] it is categorized. This is so cool to do something that would make people smile in the morning and at lunch, and [it] would just have a great environment with a great product.”
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Taylor Adams has written about the restaurant industry for the Dallas Observer since 2016. Now the Observer's food editor, she attended Southern Methodist University before covering local news at The Dallas Morning News.