A Taste of Toaste in Brookfield Plaza
Above: honey toast. Photo courtesy of Toaste.
Toaste, in Brookfield Plaza, opened April first of 2018. It has many café items including drinks, sandwiches, salads and its signature honey toast.
The windows in Toaste stretch from floor to ceiling, flooding the restaurant with natural light. Small light fixtures hang from the ceiling. Vases with plants rest on each table. Chalkboards hang on the wall displaying the menu. From the outside it seemed small, but inside the room is spacious. It is quiet except for when a customer walks in and is immediately greeted with a smile and a welcome.
For his whole life, co-owner David Yuan has been interested in the restaurant business. When he was nine years old, Yuan’s parents opened a noodle restaurant in Jakarta, Indonesia.
“I thought it was just the coolest thing to have your own restaurant,” Yuan said. “That’s where I got my first inspiration.”
Yuan grew up in Okemos and attended MSU. Although he lived in China for a year after college and has worked jobs in other towns, this is where he wants to be.
“I’ve just always had the feeling that if I wanted to start something, that I was going to start from home here,” Yuan said.
Yuan’s dream of owning a local restaurant came true when his friend approached him with the idea for Toaste. He wanted to help her out, so he agreed to co-own it with her. She created the unique menu that draws many to the café.
Honey toast is the main attraction at Toaste. It is bread, hollowed out and filled with fruit and butter and then restuffed with the previously removed bread. At Toaste, it is made with homemade bread. According to David, he is often asked about honey toast by curious customers.
“It’s been fun trying to explain to people what honey toast is,” Yuan said. “You can’t compare it to anything else we have here. It is funny sometimes because it’s hard to explain, but at the same time, after they’ve tried it, they love it.”
For Yuan, the future is still unclear. This fall, he wants to work on marketing to draw MSU students to Toaste. There is still potential for additional restaurants like Toaste opening in the future.
“I have yet to learn how people really receive it,” Yuan said. “If people really like it, then I have the means to do it.” His main goal, though, is following in his parent’s footsteps and opening his own noodle restaurant.
Yuan values owning Toaste as a good learning experience, although he admits running the restaurant is harder than he expected.
“I think my favorite thing about owning Toaste is people leaving this place happier than they came in,” Yuan said. “[despite] the number of hours and the energy I put in, the sleep that I miss, I think that’s the biggest and most rewarding thing for me.”