Milque Toast is a bit wacky, an eclectic patchwork designed around fun, food and life. First of all, the 600 sq. foot shotgun was never a building! Its two side walls once supported separate structures and the space between was a walkway. Now the brick walls are joined by a roof to form the petite restaurant on Jefferson Avenue. The 12-14-person dining area is augmented by a side patio that seats about thirty.
Cozy up to One Long Table
On Tuesday, Cyndy and I met up with Robin, JC, and our friends from The Hill, Nina Ganci (Skiff International) and Ken Gilberg (Herbaria soaps). We arrived before the noon hour. The communal table, that runs the length of the dining area already had a few people eating lunch. We joined them.
Big Flavor in a Dainty Space
Co-owner Colleen Clawson moved about the tiny space like she was entertaining guests in her home. Working in a galley kitchen with two countertop burners and home-size refrigerator is like “cooking on a boat,” she says. But, hey, how much space and equipment do you need to make toast? Because that’s what this place is all about. Toast with toppings. Sweet and savory.
Colleen and Nina are friends, so the chef pulled up a chair as we pondered the menu. Hmm. . . what to get: the Sugo Crudo? Or the Saffron Shrimp Salad? Or the Coconut Curry Lentils? Finally, Colleen resolved our indecision by saying, “I’ll just bring you a plate of everything.” And she did. Within minutes our table was arrayed with samples of her artistry.
No Caspar Milquetoast
Milque Toast opened three years ago and took its name from the old dish made by pouring warm milk over buttered bread. (I recall my father, who had ulcers, eating the bland concoction when he was feeling poorly.) Removing the crusts and adding a sprinkle of sugar and cinnamon added a gourmet touch.
The name also calls to mind Caspar Milquetoast, the wimpy, timid soul from the old comic strip. But Jefferson Avenue’s Milque Toast is anything but wimpy. There’s enough WOW! built into each of the Danish-style, open-faced sandwiches to light up your taste buds.
The name also denotes Colleen’s homemade milks made with almonds, cashews and coconut. I didn’t try any of the drinks, but they’re on my “Next Time” list.
I once heard a home designer say that her goal was to “create a memory.” The little neighborhood cafe does just that. The homey feeling and playful comfort food make for a warm takeaway and an urge to return soon.
One visit to Milque Toast and you’ll never think of toast in the same way again.
Milque Toast. 2212 South Jefferson, McKinley Heights (in between Lafayette Square and Benton Park). Open: Mon-Fri 8a-5p; Sat-Sun 10a-4p; closed Wednesday.