By ANDREW YOURELL, Staff Writer
Walking into the Friendly Toast in Portsmouth, customers are met with the classic tunes of The Police and the same mellow atmosphere that the restaurant has always been known for. Over the past few weeks, however, there have been several changes made to the Toast’s interior that make it look very different to regular customers.
“Some new owners took over about a year ago,” said general manager Bobby Perez. “It’s still gonna be the Friendly Toast. Same atmosphere, you know, same food, same vibe.” The differences? For starters, the new owners have renovated the bathrooms, redone the kitchen, and added a fully stocked bar.
“We’ve always had a liquor license, but nobody really knew. So now we really wanna get the full bar in here and start selling some Bloody Maries and mimosas,” Perez continued. The restaurant closed for about a month to make the changes, which Perez says in many cases were long overdue, and reopened on Thursday, Jan. 29.
Another reason for the addition of the new bar was to let customers know that the Friendly Toast, famous for its breakfast food including the gigantic “Sklarmegeddon” omelet, also has a full dinner menu and is open late.
The restaurant also closed for a stint this summer to install new floors, update the old dining booths, and to paint the walls, which are now lime green. Since the most recent reopening, business has been a little slow, something that Perez credits to the recent snow. But full-time waiter Tyler Thibault isn’t overly concerned.
“The weekends are still busy,” he said. “Even though we’re not that busy today, you know, it’s a Tuesday. We’ll get busier as the week progresses.” He added that the Friendly Toast had been busy before closing for the renovations.
“Some people probably don’t even know we’re open,” Thibault said. He’s confident that business will pick up once the snow clears a little bit and customers realize the Toast has reopened.
The customers who do realize it’s reopened have positive things to say about the new-look Friendly Toast. Samantha Friedman, a UNH graduate student enjoying a lunch with her father, said that she comes to the restaurant very often.
“I think it looks great,” she said of the updates, adding that she thinks the hard work and money the new owners have put into the business is evident, and has paid off. She hasn’t tried out the new bar yet, but joked that she plans to give it a shot soon.
Despite the updates to the restaurant’s looks, Perez and Thibault both agreed that the Friendly Toast is still focused on the same basic tenets it held before the renovations: quality food and good, friendly service.
For more information on the Friendly Toast, visit their website at www.thefriendlytoast.com/locations/Portsmouth/