It seems that neighborhood breakfast places are often some of the most enjoyable dining spots to go to, as they tend to have very good food at cheap prices, quick and friendly service, and a solid contingent of locals who seem to be on a first-name basis with the staff as well as some of the other diners. And a little eatery in the South Shore community of Hull called Toast is all of that and much more, as it has the added benefit of being literall across the street from the ocean, and it features a few menu items that tend to go a bit beyond your typical breakfast fare.
Toast is located on the ground floor of a sprawling residential complex facing the southern edge of Hull's Nantasket Beach. The restaurant's inconspicuous storefront, plus its location a bit down from where most of Nantasket's action is, makes this a spot that is very easy to miss (though folks who live nearby know it well enough to sometimes cause lines out the door on weekend mornings). The interior of Toast is a bit tight but generally comfortable, with a handful of fairly well-spaced tables throughout the dining room and a few chairs over by the counter area. The atmosphere is a bit quirky, with Three Stooges collection plates on the wall behind the counter and more Three Stooges paraphernalia in the form of action figures sitting on a shelf above the counter. Daily specials can be found on a blackboard hanging from the opposite wall, while large windows along the front afford views of the ocean.
The menu at Toast features everything you would expect at a breakfast place, including waffles, pancakes, French toast (real maple syrup is served, by the way), eggs benedict, omelets, and breakfast sandwiches and burritos (the last of which includes a slightly hot and very filling version made with eggs and jalapeno jack cheese). A special version of the French toast is the burnt toast, which is basically a creme brulee French toast with crunchy caramelized sugar on top, making maple sugar an option rather than a necessity with this ultra-sweet (and delicious) dish. The corned beef hash is a must if you like homemade hash that isn't too heavy on the onions; it is a particularly meaty and hearty hash that has relatively little in the way of potatoes as well. One dish that comes on the side (or as part of some meals) is the plate of hash browns, which are perfectly browned in spots and have a nice, buttery taste to them. If you are a fan of runny eggs, Toast is certainly not the place to go, as the eggs here are dense and firm, with just a hint of fluffiness, and can be part of a breakfast plate that includes a variety of items. For those who might be looking to grab something to go, the restaurant has some freshly made baked goods, including a wonderful cinnamon roll that is topped with a rich cream cheese frosting and walnuts. Coffee is much better than average (a mellow flavor and no bitterness), while fresh-squeezed orange juice and soy milk are a couple of other options for beverages. And while breakfast is the main focus at Toast, the dining spot does serve lunch as well (from 11:00 AM to 2:00 PM, though not on Sundays), with items such as clam chowder, a turkey club, hot pastrami, and both a veggie and regular burgers available.
The town of Hull has quite a few good restaurants considering its relatively small size (both population-wise and area-wise), and Toast is certainly one of the best choices if you're looking for a hearty meal before hitting the beach. From its friendly vibe to its reasonable prices to its relatively easy parking, there's a lot to like about this local favorite at the southern end of Nantasket Beach.
Copyright © 2010-2014, Boston's Hidden Restaurants (www.hiddenboston.com).