An Australian real estate tycoon set the internet ablaze in May when he suggested that more millennials could afford to buy homes if they gave up their pricey smashed avocado toast.
Like chocolate, cheese, and coffee before it, toast has turned into an artisanal product. In San Francisco, you can find thick-cut slices of doughey goodness slathered in locally-sourced butters, jams, and yes, avocado. At a price of $4 to $8, depending on toppings, this decadence doesn’t come cheap.
The trend kicked off in San Francisco in 2014, after a highly publicized profile on Trouble Coffee and Coconut Club — considered the original proprietors of artisanal toast — aired on NPR’s “This American Life.” The city’s obsession with glorified bread shows no sign of slowing.
These days, you can find cafés serving overpriced toast in almost every major city nationwide.
We visited San Francisco’s The Mill to see why toast is the greatest thing since sliced bread.
The Mill, based in San Francisco’s Alamo Square neighborhood, did not invent artisanal toast. But it spread the gospel with its widely popular take on the trend.
Josey Baker, The Mill’s co-owner and toastmaster, got his start baking breads in his San Francisco apartment. He delivered loaves to bakeries, pizzerias, and grocers on his bike.
In summer 2011, Baker got an invitation from the founder of a local coffee chain, Four Barrel Coffee, to collaborate on a café near Alamo Square. The Mill was born.
While the café was under construction, Baker ran a pop-up location on site. He wanted to offer customers something to eat with their coffee, but since Baker didn’t make cookies, croissants, or muffins, he brought his toaster from home and started selling his homemade bread.
“At that point, it wasn’t, like, ‘We’re going to become known for our toast.’ It was my way to eat bread, and people responded strongly to it,” Baker told Business Insider in 2015.