Why Is There $21 Avocado Toast in Williamsburg?

Avocado toast

We live in the borough of the $42 roast chicken, of the $100 gold doughnut, of too many to even count bazillion dollar homes. And now, it seems, we live in the borough of the $21 avocado toast.

Via Eater, we learned of the astronomical price attached to the ostensibly humble treat (like, it’s literally bread and smushed up fruit—yes, the avocado is a fruit—and, we don’t know, salt?) at Andrew Tarlow’s Williamsburg restaurant Reynard. The Eater story centered around the fact that Reynard would be adopting the same no-tipping policy as its sister restaurant, Roman’s. Tarlow has been the biggest Brooklyn advocate of this at times controversial approach to achieving salary parity within the highly stratified restaurant industry, and so it makes sense that, despite having encountered some issues with the new system at Roman’s, he would be eager to implement this policy at his other eateries.

Besides not having to work a little bit harder to figure out what to Venmo your friends post-dinner, what this sudden gratuity elimination means for diners is an increase in what they’ll pay up front. At Reynard, Eater reports, this translates to a rise in Reynard’s menu prices of “about twenty percent, through not necessarily across the board.” Because, of course, while some price-hikes will feel more subtle ($6 for a breakfast pastry instead of $5, say; or $30 for a dinner entree instead of $25), others will feel more extreme. $8 for a bowl of olives? That feels wrong, even when you know that the rationale behind it involves paying workers fair wages. Eating out is complicated! Um, so is just eating!

And then there’s the $21 avocado toast on the Reynard lunch menu. Featuring, you know, smushed up avocado on multigrain toast, this tartine is also garnished with trout roe and pickled onions. It probably tastes great! But at $21, this seems ridiculously high considering that rabbit sliders are $20; then again, maybe it doesn’t seem that high because a dish of poached eggs and yogurt is $22. Or maybe we’ve lost all ability to determine what things are actually worth, because maybe what we’re paying for really is the ability to be served these beautifully prepared plates of food in a sun-drenched, meticulously designed as being the epitome of Brooklyn restaurant circa 2016, and so $22 for some runny eggs and a swipe of bacteria-infused dairy product is the new normal. Oh, what a world.

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2 COMMENTS

  1. When I came to Melbourne, I was incensed by the fact that nearly every café was charging upwards of $16 for avocado toast (a Melbourne café favorite). Tipping is not part of Australian culture (which this New Yorker is also unaccustomed to), paying waitstaff around A$20/hr. Given the fact that Australia also grow most of their own fruit including avocado, prices are slightly higher due to the fact that farm workers also are being paid a living wage. It takes a little getting used to, but isn’t that what we should aim for in America? The land of opportunity?

  2. It’s ridiculous, only if you are willing to pay for it. Go buy an avocado and a loaf of bread and make it yourself for $3.

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