Spoonfed (Raleigh)

Mark Petko photographs Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill's culinary scene.

Toast Paninoteca | Durham NC | Kelli and Billy Cotter

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We’ve Moved!  Check out the updated website with new coverage of food photography in your city at The Spoon Feeds.com

All content © Mark Petko Photography

panini-local farm egg, taleggio, chives

Toast Paninoteca

345 West Main Street

Durham, NC 27701


www.toast-fivepoints.com (link)

Simplicity and heart.  Two notions that when focused upon could lead to a very fruitful life.  This concept was instilled in me from a very early age by my grandfather Jasper Grier and this realization was reinforced to me during his passing last year.  He lived his life in full awe of his family and loved ones and gave to them at every turn to his full capacity.  Having been a successful businessman for most of his adult life he practiced restraint with his wealth, never really participating in flashy trappings but instead comfortably pursued his passions of reading, traveling, and researching his ancestry, and was always poised to support his family when the need arose.  Reserved, he exemplified to me the power of confidence that comes with the knowledge that by giving love, a life takes on meaning.  His business life too revolved around these concepts.  He opened a single Arby’s franchise back when the fast food industry was just beginning to take shape, in the days when they still referred to them as ‘restaurants’, and not ‘joints’.  In his latter years he would mention how he missed the old days of having a simple menu, consisting of a one or two types of roast beef sam’ich and fries or potato cakes.  He was distraught with how the business had changed to try and reinvent the wheel every year with new sandwiches, promotional items and gimmicks just to tickle the registers and at the compromise of quality product.  Maybe that is the reason for the reemergence of such ‘simple’ based concepts such as “Five Guys Burgers”.  People are drawn to simplicity and it has its place.

Simplicity and heart.  That is what I witnessed at Toast Paninoteca in Durham.  Located downtown at the Five points intersection.  Toast was born of Kelli and Billy Cotter.  Based on a traditional Italian sandwich bar-paninoteca, Toast takes the idea of simplicity by offering seasonal local ingredients delivered in four basic forms: Panini-hot grilled sandwich, Tramezzini-cold sandwich on crust-less bread, Bruschetta-grilled bread w/toppings, and Crostini-small toasted bread w/ toppings.  The addition of daily homemade soups, some salad and warm olives rounds out the effortless menu, straight forward and done right.  The heart comes from the owners’ obvious care for not only quality product but from the manner with which it is delivered.  While I was there shooting Kelli Cotter worked the room, appreciative of everyone that entered and made it clear that she was not surrounded by just customers but by friends.  From the local architect stopping in for lunch to the ‘dude’ claiming “Toast porn!” as he noticed my gear to the homeless man who came in to use the bathroom and left with a complimentary bag and notification from Kelli that “there is enough in there for breakfast tomorrow”, it is evident that people return, in support of simplicity and heart.  Jasper would be impressed.

All content © Mark Petko Photography

warm olives with orange, rosemary, garlic, crushed red pepper

panini- tuscan kale, ricotta salata, sweet and hot pickled peppers

daily homemade soup- cauliflower puree, brown butter, capers, toasted hazelnuts

crostini (3)- 1. warm goat cheese, local honey, cracked black pepper 2. peperonata, pecorino romano 3. avacodo, lemon, parmigiano reggiano

bruschetta- roasted beets, ricotta salata, orange, mint

All content © Mark Petko Photography

We’ve Moved!  Check out the updated website with new coverage of food photography in your city at The Spoon Feeds.com

Toast Paninoteca on Urbanspoon

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Written by admin

February 3rd, 2010 at 9:46 am