When you name a place Toast, you can bet you’ll get some breakfast food all day long.

I’ve heard about Toast Eatery for a bit, but I have to say I’m confused about how the various restaurants around the Bay Area are related. There are the Toast restaurants in the North Bay (in Mill Valley and Novato), and then a Toast on Polk Street in San Francisco and two in Noe Valley (one on Church and the other on 24th Street). And don’t get me started on the Toast in Oakland (which actually is a wine bar, so I’m pretty sure that one is not related to any of the above).

None of the Toasts look similar (although the two Noe Valley locations share a website and similar menus). But the one thing they all have in common is the crowd waiting to get in.

Huge toast mural is one of the distinctive decor at Toast Noe Valley

I’m focusing today at the Church Street location, because that’s the one I visited on a recent Sunday with my friend Craig. This Toast looks like the smallest of all the Toasts (again, if they’re all related) and the most simple, not as upscale as the Polk Street Toast and more of a neighborhood diner.

After a brief wait, Craig and I ended up sitting at the counter. The menu offered up typical breakfast fare of omelettes, scrambles and pancakes. I got the corned beef hash (($10.95), which I don’t eat often (except around St. Patrick’s Day) but wanted to try Toast’s version. Our server told me that they cure their own corned beef.

Served with two eggs any style and hash brown, the corned beef itself tasted fresh and definitely home-made, but it lacked the salty flavor that I generally associate with corned beef. It was fresh and good, but nothing spectacular.

Corned beef with two poached eggs, hash, and, of course, two slices of toast

Craig got a good breakfast all-around plate with the toast combo ($10.95), which was two eggs any style, two pancakes or French toast (Craig got the whole wheat pancakes), and choice of bacon, chicken apple sausage, pork sausage or ham. It looked like a nice hearty platter and Craig enjoyed it, but again, nothing really looked special.

While everything was fine, I don’t really understand why these Toast locations are always crowded. In fact, I did feel like we were a bit rushed after we got our food so that they could make room for the people waiting. Maybe this is why so many breakfast joints want to call themselves Toast. It’s apparently the magic name to guarantee yourself a weekend brunch following.

Rating: 2.5 out of 4 camera snaps



Toast Eatery, 1748 Church St., San Francisco. PH: 415.282.4328. Open Mon.–Fri., 7 a.m.–4 p.m.; weekends, 7 a.m.–5 p.m. No reservations. www.toasteatery.com

Toast Eatery on Urbanspoon

Coffee cup on the counter at Toast

Prep station has a quiet break for a brief moment

Toast combo plate with choice of meat, choice of pancakes or French toast, and choices of any two eggs

Toast in Noe Valley on Church has a modest look compared to others around town

5 Responses to Diner-style Breakfast Beyond Toast

  1. arlene says:

    I don’t really like eating out for breakfast so don’t get the draw, $10.95 for breakfast is way too much! I buy a tub of quick oats & eat that at home in under 2 minutes no wait, cheap, healthy, & tasty.

    • Ben Ben says:

      On most days I’m like you and just make quick oatmeal for breakfast. But on the weekends, it’s nice to go out for brunch, especially if you sleep in. On a nice day, San Francisco is perfect for brunch, especially at places with windows, patios or garden seating.

  2. Carolyn Jung says:

    That combo plate is huge! I’ve never been to Toast, either. But I think the lure is that spoil-me-rotten wake-up breakfast that we all want to treat ourselves to now and again.

  3. hungry dog says:

    I’ve eaten at the one on Church street and was mystified as to its popularity…I found it very average. I used to live about two blocks from there and I guess it that were still the case I could imagine going once in awhile. But it is definitely not worth driving for!