Crain’s Chicago Business
Toast + whiskey: An unlikely combo that works

When we heard that a new toast-and-whiskey place had opened downtown in January, we admit we didn’t think, “Finally!” But we were curious. It sounded like a pairing right up there with the seafood and cold cereal—Cap’n Crunch, Froot Loops, etc.—at Glenn’s Diner on the North Side.

 

Happily for business lunchers, father and son Art and Tyler Mendoza’s Slightly Toasted, on the ground floor of a glassy office building just west of Ogilvie Transportation Center, is not that kooky. It’s an appealing 90-seat spot with food that’s a bit off the beaten path, a comfortable destination for a bite with colleagues or pals who work in the neighborhood. The kitchen is headed by brother and sister Omar and Brenda Garcia (Oak & Char, Elizabeth, Bunny the Micro Bakery), who seem at ease serving interesting, chef-y dishes in casual surroundings.

 

Most diners don’t hit the whiskey very hard on their lunch hour, though the place stocks 182 kinds (and 70 beers), well worth checking out in the evening. The lunch-dinner menu kicks in at 11 a.m. Monday through Friday.

 

Turkey sandwich on housemade white bread (left) and kale and sherry salad.

Turkey sandwich on housemade white bread (left) and kale and sherry salad.

But the toast is served—and shines—all day, starting at 7 a.m. Much more than simply an artisanal spin on white, rye or whole wheat with butter and jam (though that’s available, too), the housemade bread provides a meaningful foundation for savory sandwiches and sweet treats.

 

Open-faced hummus toast ($4), for example, embellished with pickled beets, avocado, feta and chives, is a big enough deal to be a satisfying lunch for lightish eaters. There’s also a meal-in-itself toast with hanger steak tartare, roasted garlic aioli and a sous vide egg ($7).

 

SLIGHTLY TOASTED
22 N. Clinton St. | 312-967-2830
SlightlyToastedChicago.com

Neighborhood: West Loop
Cuisine: Toast, whiskey
Vibe: Cozy, hip
Sound level: Convo-friendly
Entree price level: $9-$12
Reservations: Accepted
Private room: For 20-1,000 (elsewhere in building)
Wheelchair accessible: Yes
Rating: ½
All restaurant meals are paid for by Crain’s reviewers, who visit restaurants anonymously. They sometimes follow up with phone calls to management after they visit to clarify information.