Granite State of Mind, #56: Friendly Toast, Portsmouth
Earlier in this list I mentioned some of the great traditional breakfast places in the New Hampshire seacoast (Betty's Kitchen, Rogan's, the Country View). The Friendly Toast wasn't on the list because it's not a traditional breakfast joint. It's not a place I think of going for a heap of eggs and bacon before a tree job, for instance, and I can't picture a bunch of old townies sitting in a booth there drinking coffee all morning. It's more of a late-night munchies and late-morning hangover cure crowd.
The food is certainly good, though the menu is eclectic and a wee bit too intentionally ironic, like the hipster decor. Weird pop art, posters from 1950 sexploitation films, Eisenhower-era kitchen furniture, it's beat breakfast meets granola sensibilities. A little slice of Cambridge that wandered north, it's the kind of place you have to ask to have the gluten added back into your Toast.
And yet it all works - at least, it did work. I don't really know if the Toast's irreverent vibe survived the 2014 shift in ownership from the Jaspers to Goodwin and Pulver. I know the place needed a lot of new equipment and investment, and a desire to meet health codes is always a good thing. But if it means that my spoon has to match my fork, and I don't get to share my big ol' hangover breakfast with a creepy plastic baby statue, I can't help but feel something will have been lost.