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Oct 25, 2009 08:45 PM

Friendly Toast Revisited

I know many of you are asking whether we need another thread about the Friendly Toast. The answer is yes, we do. Like other places before it (All Star Sandwich Bar comes to mind), the Toast opened to unrealistically high expections. Not only did the Toast fail to meet those lofty expectations, but it also experienced service and other blunders that were well reported on this board.

But now that it's been open for several months, I think it's time to wipe the slate clean. It's been open long enough that it should have resolved those early kinks. Has it? Should those with early bad experiences give it another chance? Should those who stayed away because of what they read give it a shot?

I had only been to the Friendly Toast twice before, both times with a group of six (three adults and three kids) at 6pm on Sunday evenings. Both times it -- both the food and the service -- was good, not great.

This (Sunday) morning, my daughter and I decided to wander over at around 9am. This was to be the first time I would try it for a weekend breakfast. This time it was better than good; perhaps not great, but it certainly was a satisfactory experience, worthy of a return visit.

We arrived at around 9:20am, late enough that the dining room was nearly full, but early enough that we were seated without a wait. (By the time we left nearly an hour later, there was a wait, and I could see a waiting list that had quite a few names on it of people who already had been seated -- it appeared that they were moving through the waitlist fairly quickly.)

My daughter and I decided we would share a couple of pancakes and one egg dish -- we opted for a simple cheddar and red onion omelet. The pancakes were delicious -- some of the best pancakes I recall having in the Boston area -- a real highlight. The omelet was good, but not extraordinary. As some may recall from one of my threads a couple of years ago, I find that most restaurants overcook omelets, and the Toast was no exception. The potatoes also were good, but I didn't see why people rave about them. The coffee was hot (unlike an earlier visit, when I was served ice cold coffee), but not particularly good -- not bad, but not good.

Importantly, the service was very good. In addition to being promptly seated, our order was taken promptly and our food arrived promptly (not fast, but not slow -- I think perhaps 20 minutes after we had ordered). As I mentioned, it appeared that they were moving people through the waitlist pretty quickly, which they only could do if they were serving tables quickly. We were in and out in less than an hour.

This was not the best breakfast I've ever had, but in a city with a terrible shortage of quality breakfast spots, hopefully this one positive experience is indicative of what we can expect from the Friendly Toast.

The Friendly Toast
1 Kendall Square, Cambridge, MA

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  1. I guess I'm in the contrarian, mostly-been-enjoying the Friendly Toast Cambridge camp here. I didn't have high expectations, which I think helped, but neither did I experience the liturgy of issues commonly enumerated here: terrible service, bad food, long waits. Haven't been back recently, but even early on I liked it, felt well-treated, liked the breakfasts.

    1. My two cents. After hearing raves from a couple of people, Auntie Yabai and I went to the Friendly Toast for a late "breakfast" (4:00 PM or so). I thought it was pretty decent, worthy of a repeat. Their French Toast was quite nice. Service was friendly and efficient, and I got a kick out of the decor. OJ was not fresh-squeezed, which tells you the limits of this place.

      Auntie Yabai and her friend went by themselves at a later date, and the friend decided to order the falafel, which apparently was atrocious. On the other hand, who in their right mind orders falafel at a uber-goyish restaurant? Leave falafel to the experts at Rami's and other places.

      1. Our experience a few weeks ago was similar. Good food, decent service, fun menu. Not amazing, but worth another visit.

        1. I've always had good food and service for breakfast. But, I'm there right when they open. I like how they have tofu scrambles and I do really enjoy their toast.

          I think their coffee is a disgrace. Weak and flavorless. To add insult to injury, the coffee is served in those ridiculous plastic cups.

          1 Reply
          1. re: beetlebug

            Ugh, agree on the coffee. What's up with that? Watery diner coffee, barely drinkable. You'd think they could upgrade just a bit. We went there for the 2nd time this past Sunday. I thought the service was ok, we had some sorta crunchy-surfer dude guy who was fine I suppose. The food was the same, fine, good I guess --sort of tough to screw up an egg sandwich but we got pancakes too which were good. After two visits I wouldn't make it destination spot but it works when you've got a 2 year old in tow (if you go early enough.)

          2. We tried again a few weeks again as friends picked the location. Same sh*t, different day. Mediocre food served in off putting Cheesecake Factory portions, food took forever to come out, table was dirty, the crappiest coffee in town and poor service (2 out of 4 orders were in correct or had items missing). Once again, some of the famous toast came when the meals were already more than half eaten.

            Has high hopes for this place, but it is a bust IMO.

            3 Replies
            1. re: Gabatta

              Re: the gargantuan portion sizes. One of the staff informed me that I could order most items as a half portion. Just about the perfect size for breakfast. There seems to be discrepancies on the pricing, but I would rather have a smaller portion for about 2/3 the menu price.

              1. re: beetlebug

                Thanks for posting, that is good to know if we ever go back. A half order of the huevos rancheros would be just about right for most people i assume.

                1. re: Gabatta

                  One of the things that may have improved the experience for me this past weekend was ordering more simply: we ordered two pancakes with sliced bananas on the side, and an omelet. It still was too much food for two, but more reasonably portioned than their specialty breakfasts (which, on my prior two visits, I did not enjoy as much as my simpler choices on this visit).