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Birmingham Toast reduces hours, cuts dinner

By Kevin Elliott


Dinner service is officially off the menu at Birmingham restaurant Toast, 203 Pierce St., as the popular downtown spot cut back hours of operation to 3 p.m. on weekdays and 4 p.m. on weekends.


Thom and Regan Bloom opened their Birmingham Toast location in 2008. At the time, the restaurant was the first to be approved under the city’s bistro liquor ordinance.


Bistros are considered unique in that they must have no more than 65 seats, including 10 at the bar. Further requirements pertain to seating location, glazing standards and outdoor seating. The city also considers hours of operation for bistros, as they are intended to activate streets and pedestrian locations. Further, the city requires business that serve liquor to acquire a special land use permit form the city, requiring approval from the city commission for a change in hours of operation.


On Wednesday, October 27, Regan Bloom went before the Birmingham Planning Board for consideration of a change in hours, cutting back dinner service Wednesday through Saturday, and opening an hour later every day. In addition to cutting dinner hours, Bloom said Toast will open an hour later, at 8 a.m. daily.


“The hour change is that we don’t have as many people working (in offices). More are working from home,” Bloom said. “We don’t have the demand. People are living a different lifestyle. If they came at 7 a.m., we would open at 7 a.m.”


Planning board member Stuart Jeffares noted the planning board recently approved another bistro license for a breakfast and lunch diner. Further, he said Toast operates at a time when many other restaurants are closed.


“They operate at a different time — they are waking up Birmingham,” Jeffares said, in favor of the change in hours. “I don’t think the city should be in the business of putting people out of business.”


The planning department suggested the planning board consider the development of a “social district” in the area if members were opposed to permitting the change. Social districts are areas where patrons are permitted to travel between restaurants with alcoholic beverages. Such districts have been approved in Ferndale, Royal Oak, Holly and other cities in Oakland County.


Board members didn’t take up the issue, instead voting unanimously to recommend the city commission approve the change in hours for Toast.


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