DAVIDSON – New York natives Brian Burchill and Robert Maynard have been best friends since they were 7 years old and always dreamt of opening a restaurant together.
On April 1, 2005, that childhood fantasy became a reality with the opening of Toast Café in Huntersville. Burchill moved to the area but Maynard stayed in New York and ran the operations part of the business via long distance.
Now with three Toast locations run by the two men and several more franchise locations opening, Maynard is about to move to the area to help the business grow even further.
Toast Café looks as if it has always been a part of Main Street in Davidson with its warm, golden paint tones and slightly distressed signage lettering.
Upon entering, the customer will be greeted by enthusiastic, competent servers who will attend to every need.
“We don’t have a big turnover with servers,” Burchill said. “We try to build careers, not just jobs.”
The concept of the restaurant is to be a step above the traditional greasy spoon while still retaining that fun, relaxed atmosphere. It is open daily from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Then they serve dinner, which runs Wednesday through Saturday from 5 to 9 p.m. The break from 3 to 5 p.m. allows the restaurant to transition from day to night and set the stage for dinner.
The atmosphere is often bustling, always light-hearted and habitually community orientated.
“Most everyone who eats here knows each other,” Burchill said. “And our weekends are especially busy.” There are soccer moms, business people, senior citizens, faculty members and college kids who regularly patronize the restaurant. The clientele is eclectic yet comfortable, which also describes the food.
Burchill worked with Executive Chef Julio Heras for years in Manhattan and knew he wanted him to create the initial menu back in 2005. So he had Heras come down for a week to see the area and space.
“And after that week, he joined me down here and helped me open the restaurant,” Burchill said. “I just knew I needed him to really make it work.”
The kitchen makes all the salsa, sauces, dressings, quiches and desserts from scratch. They even roast the vegetables in-house. The staff freshly prepares all items, nothing is ever frozen. There are specials every day, including a quiche of the day.
“It’s real labor here,” Burchill said. “But so worth it.”
At Toast Café, it is easy to eat healthy with sides such as roasted vegetables or fresh fruit, or indulge with cream cheese-stuffed French toast or a Cali Benny with tomato in place of Canadian bacon.
There are also varied gluten-free and vegetarian options for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
“We’ll make you whatever you want, even if it’s not on the menu,” Burchill said. “It’s easy when you are making every item after it’s ordered.”
The restaurant boasts a full bar with craft beers and excellent wines. Plus there are mimosas, Bloody Marys and Bellinis for breakfast and brunch.
Not to mention, some of the best espresso drinks made with premium Lavazza coffee beans. Patrons can enjoy food and drink on the outdoor patio, relaxing to the sounds of Davidson.
The franchise part of the business is new and exciting for Burchill and company. It is very important to keep the food and service quality consistent to not dilute the name of Toast Café.
“We are always in the new franchise restaurant to make sure everything is going well,” Burchill said. “It is important to find the right person who truly wants to serve excellent food as well as become part of a community.”
The restaurant also offers catering services and can create a menu for just about any sort of event.
As Toast Cafés open across the country, Burchill believes the restaurant will always be one-of-a-kind for Davidson.
“This city has really supported us through the years,” he said. “And we hope to be here for a good, long while.”
Want to go? Toast Café, 101 N. Main St., Davidson, 704-655-2778.