Opening a restaurant in ten days sounds like a tall order, but Jason Parfenoff, owner of Toast Fine Food & Coffee in Littleton, made it happen.
After signing a lease on a new space at 2630 West Belleview Avenue on June 19, Parfenoff kept Toast open at 2700 West Bowles Avenue (where it's been since 2006) until Sunday brunch service ended on June 28, then reopened at the new location on Monday, June 29, without missing a service. It helped that the new address was previously also a breakfast restaurant (part of the now-defunct Egg & I chain) and already had a kitchen, so the move only required the final transfer of furnishings and equipment to get back up and running. The owner says his whole team helped out, and most of them were done with the move by 7 p.m. that Sunday night.
"My lease was up for renewal," Parfenoff notes as the reason for the move, "and rent was going up."
And although he didn't want to move, he says the added space, especially in the kitchen, has turned out to be a blessing. "We were really maxed out in the old kitchen," he notes. "It was like working in a submarine."
The new Toast covers more than 1,000 square feet more than its predecessor, and is less than a mile from the old location, making it easy for regular customers to make the change. "There's also lots more parking," Parfenoff adds, "and the size of the kitchen and the size of the new walk-in [refrigerator] means we'll be able to carry more ingredients and do things we couldn't do before."
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The extra dining room and patio square footage has also allowed Toast to safely distance tables while still being able to seat enough customers to keep revenue flowing. After the initial coronavirus shutdown on March 17, Parfenoff says he launched takeout and delivery service, but business was down by about 75 percent. Now though, he's back to about 75 percent of sales over the same time last year, with about a third of that coming from takeout and delivery.
Breakfast, with eggs cooked to each customer's preference and all manner of other customizations, isn't the easiest meal to prepare for takeout, but guests have been exceptionally patient during the state-mandated restrictions and the move, the owner adds. "Everyone has been really, really accepting," he notes. "Maybe it's not perfectly the way we want it, but we make sure and follow up and get it right the next time."
Parfenoff says Mother's Day was a great example of how his regular customers supported Toast during a difficult time. "It was the first big holiday we were open when we could only do to-go orders," he recalls. "We hadn't quite figured out the system, and we had more tickets in the first hour than we could cook all day. I had to make some calls and put out a huge apology, but everyone was so cool about it, and by 2:30 everyone had gotten their orders."
With a week of service at the new location, business at Toast is back to normal — or at least as close as it can be with restrictions still in place. The restaurant is open from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily; call 303-797-9543 or visit the Toast website for more details.