Toast of the (Down)town: New cafe anything but dry

Curious Toast Cafe co-owner Victoria Van Dame sits inside of the restaurant and coffee shop at 718 Central SW. (Adria Malcolm/For the Journal)

Toast for breakfast doesn’t have to be dry.

Curious Toast Cafe opened mid-July at the former NEDA Business Consultants office at 718 Central SW in Downtown Albuquerque. The cafe features a medley of primarily toast-centric offerings made from local ingredients and items from local food producers, alongside a coffee menu. Items range from $3 to $13.

Co-owner and executive chef David Ruiz said that when crafting the restaurant concept he was looking to create something approachable but that Albuquerque didn’t yet have. He landed on a restaurant focused on toast since he thought the concept was unique, sustainable and able to be executed without drastically altering the near 120-year-old building.

“We didn’t want to be like this sleek and modern sort of coffee house restaurant,” Ruiz said. “We wanted to be more eclectic.”

The Parfait Toast at Curious Toast Cafe a craft toast and coffee shop in Downtown Albuquerque. The toast features a locally made bread topped with seasonal berries, Greek yogurt and granola. (Adria Malcolm/For the Journal)

Customers can opt for a parfait toast complete with Greek yogurt, local granola and seasonal berries, or a more savory option like the Van Dame on Mushroom, a toast with seasonal wild mushrooms, pickled tomatoes, lemon aioli and arugula.

In addition to functioning as a coffee shop and restaurant on the first floor of the building, the basement and second floor have been converted into office spaces for occupational therapists and creative professionals.

Majority owner Victoria Van Dame said the building is currently housing a group of DJs, several artists, a nonprofit and occupational therapists with several offices still available. But the art isn’t limited to adjacent floors – artwork from several of the resident artists hangs for sale on the cafe walls.

Both Ruiz and Van Dame said they hope Curious Toast Cafe is a part of the revitalization of Downtown Albuquerque.

“I’ve lived down here since 2015 and we both love Downtown and we just want to see the revitalization of this area of town,” Ruiz said. Ruiz pointed to several businesses that have opened or will open in the new future and monthly events like the Art Walk as signs that life is coming back to Downtown.

Van Dame, who owns Downtown’s nonprofit OT Circus and manages the historic Kress Building, said she is working to bring art back into the neighborhood and make sure that previously empty buildings have life once more. “It’s time for Albuquerque to stay the same, but I think it is time for us to kind of evolve to be known more as a culture corridor,” Van Dame said.

Curious Toast Cafe is open 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday.

For more information visit curioustoastcafe.com or call 408-613-9672.

 

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