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Friendly Toast Lands Butter Side Up In Harvard Square

Brunch restaurant and bar Friendly Toast opened in Harvard Square in July.
Brunch restaurant and bar Friendly Toast opened in Harvard Square in July. By Sami E. Turner
By Caroline K. Hsu and Sidney K. Lee, Crimson Staff Writers

Friendly Toast, an all-day brunch restaurant and bar, unveiled its new home in Harvard Square in late July.

The newly opened restaurant at 1230 Massachusetts Ave. is the sole Friendly Toast in Cambridge after the chain closed its Kendall Square location amid the Covid-19 pandemic. Harvard Square is the 11th location for the Friendly Toast chain, which was founded in 1994 and has since expanded to four states in New England.

The restaurant first announced its opening via a sign on its storefront in March 2022, but supply chain issues and city permit licensing caused delays, according to Harvard Square location manager Ryan Ford.

Friendly Toast officially opened on July 24, but the restaurant welcomed customers for a soft opening two days prior. According to Ford, Friendly Toast typically avoids heavily promoting openings in the hopes of giving staff a “fighting chance” against crowds of restaurant-goers.

The menu boasts standard brunch fare, such as breakfast burritos, omelets, pancakes, and waffles, as well as an array of alcoholic beverages and flights.

Still, various menu items have their own twist — including the “Bulgogi Steak & Cheese” sandwich, which combines Korean and American cuisine, and the “Doughnut Stop Believin,” a breakfast sandwich that uses donuts as bread.

“We’re just excited to play off different flavors and, you know, make it unexpected for people,” Ford said.

Harvard College students offered positive reviews of the restaurant, citing a variety of menu offerings and a welcoming ambiance.

“The menu was really extensive,” Jeslyn Y. Liu ’26 said. “A lot of creative things on there.”

“There’s something for everyone,” said Nicholas A. “Nico” Vasquez ’25, who ordered a chicken sandwich and mango lemonade.

Namirah M. Quadir ’25 praised the restaurant’s accommodating stance toward food allergies, as well as the “friendly” nature of the staff.

Since opening a few weeks ago, Friendly Toast has consistently drawn crowds — and lines — during peak operating hours, according to customers.

“There were a lot of people sitting outside the restaurant. I think the restaurant inside was pretty full as well,” Liu said.

Upon stepping inside, customers enter into a space with a “retro” feel, according to Vasquez. Friendly Toast follows an orange and green color scheme, characterized by a “diner vibe” and “fun atmosphere,” according to Ford.

When asked whether they would return to Friendly Toast, Quadir and Vasquez responded with a resounding “yes.”

“There are a lot of things that I would want to try, so I would definitely go back,” Liu said.

As Friendly Toast settles into its new home in Harvard Square, Ford said the restaurant’s staff is looking ahead to the future with high hopes.

“Last week was amazing, being a holiday weekend,” he said. “Now that all the students are back, we’re looking forward to what that brings.”

—Staff writer Caroline K. Hsu can be reached at caroline.hsu@thecrimson.com. Follow her on Twitter @CarolineHsu_.

—Staff writer Sidney K. Lee can be reached at sidney.lee@thecrimson.com. Follow her on Twitter @sidneyklee.

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