IT SOUNDS SIMPLE ENOUGH
Well, actually, TOAST.
But anyone who has enjoyed Heather Horton’s culinary creations knows her dishes are far from simple. They’re works of art, which makes sense considering that was her major at Pitt State.
Heather and her husband, Roger, opened TOAST a few years ago as part of the launch of the Block22 development at 4th and Broadway. After almost a decade of making tasty treats Sweet Designs Cakery, Heather decided it was time to expand her offerings. She just wasn’t sure at that time what that meant, exactly.
Big A$$ Cinnamon Rolls!
“I definitely did not set out to be a restaurateur,” she said. “I wanted to connect with my community, showcase local food sources, and do something I love to do daily. At the time, I didn’t know the platform for that would be a restaurant.
“We got into the restaurant business because we needed an outlet for our artisan bread. We needed a stage to hype up locally grown, fresh, real food. The two things just logically fit together.”
Heather describes TOAST as “a fresh, local take on comfort food focusing on scratch baked bread as a vehicle for locally sourced toppings.” But to answer the question heard all around town … no, it’s not just toast. The full menu includes a variety of items from salads and soup to gelato and “Big A$$ Cinnamon Rolls”. There are sandwiches and dips and veggies and the greatest popcorn you’ve ever tasted.
“Even though we grew up not far from Pitt, Downtown is where we belong.”
“Food is inherently diverse, and so are the people of Pitt,” Heather said. “With food, everyone is included. Food has a far greater effect on us than just satiating our hunger. Good food has a way of connecting us to our past – our roots, those things that comfort us – and helps us build community together for the present and the future.”
One of her favorite parts about owning and running TOAST is its location right at the heart of Pittsburg.
“Downtown is home,” she said. “Even though we grew up not far from Pitt, Downtown is where we belong. It truly is the heart of the city. The people who work and play here exemplify that daily. It wasn’t always this way, but today it is a vibrant, innovative and creative space.”
And at the heart of her vision for TOAST is a passionate desire to help drive positive change throughout the community.
“Food can be a powerful vehicle for social change,” she said. “With ties to culture, the local food scene can shift the dynamic if it is cultivated and nurtured. If local businesses are purpose driven rather than monetary driven, the entire focus can shift so that all socioeconomic levels in our town win, in turn making us stronger.”