Sure, toast is a reliable companion to eggs and bacon, but it rarely commands solo billing.
At least not untilChris Matsch
returned from a trip to San Francisco with the idea of baking his own artisan loaves and elevating the thick, chewy, lightly but evenly caramelized slices into a gourmet breakfast treat.
Theartisan toast is served at Lenexa’s Black Dog Coffeehouse
, which is owned by Chris’ parents. While customers order their usual espressos or lattes, Chris’ wife, Kate Matsch (right), serves as toast master general, slicing the sturdy bread into inch-thick slabs and popping them into a double-wide commercial toaster.
One recent morning a customer attacked her slathered square neatly, with knife and fork. “We’re serving without a fork,” Chris says, “but it’s been really good to be getting feedback. I get to see if they leave the crusts. But most of the time they just gobble it down.”
Toast was added to the menu in September and initially was available just two days a week. But it became so popular that it is now offered from 6 to 11 a.m. weekdays and 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. on weekends, or until sell-out.
The rustic loaves are in such demand that Chris and other family members have hatchedIbis Bakery
, named for a sociable bird. “It’s a bird that only eats in community, and bread is a communal concept,” he says.
For now Ibis is setting up a commercial kitchen in a strip mall space next to Black Dog. Currently there are eight wild-yeast breads in rotation. If you order toast, each slice comes with toppings designed to enhance the bread’s unique texture and flavor.
“Cranberry-walnut by itself is kind of bland,” Chris admits, “but the almond butter and honey (with a pinch of sea salt) really brings out the flavors.”
Other toast combinations include French country with butter, peach preserves and sea salt; coconut and white chocolate with butter and cinnamon sugar; and cinnamon-raisin with butter and cinnamon sugar. Price per slice ranges from $2.95 to $3.45. Whole and half loaves to take home go for $3 to $9.
Look for Ibis loaves at the Overland Park Farmers Market this spring.
The fledgling company also is collaborating on a future bread and coffee concept with Messenger Coffee Co., a new wholesale roasting company based in Lenexa, as well as a bread recipe that would incorporate Somerset Ridge’s limoncello-style Citron as an ingredient.