Bread + Salt restaurant in Frisco remodels, adds lunch menu
If you go
What: Bread + Salt
When: Open from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily; breakfast is served all day, and lunch starts at 11 a.m.
Where: 401 Main St., Frisco
Cost: Breakfast ranges from $6.50 for a bagel sandwich to $12.50 for the Squash Benedict; lunch is $4 for a Frisco Caesar salad or Butternut Squash Soup to $12 for the Little Chief Hash with grilled chicken breast, tri-colored beets and goat cheese
Kids menu: No, but many menu items are kid-friendly
Dining options: Dine-in, carryout
More information: Call (970) 668-0902
Last summer, chef Michal Ulehla and his wife, Joyce De La Torre, opened Bread + Salt in Frisco. Situated on Main Street, kitty-corner from the couple’s flagship Italian eatery, Bagalis, Bread + Salt was an experiment in upscale breakfast fare, with a name that alluded to the Central European custom of greeting friends with fresh-baked bread and salt.
With a starting base of longtime Bagalis customers and word-of-mouth referrals from friends and neighbors, Bread + Salt’s popularity quickly grew. The restaurant recently underwent a remodel, and Ulehla has added a lunch menu to sate his customers, who, between Bread + Salt and Bagalis, can now partake of the chef’s creations morning, noon and night.
“I knew it was going to take some time, especially with restaurants, to build up a reputation,” Ulehla said. “I think we were surprised how quickly we were able to build a customer base, but also, on the other hand, since this was established as a new business, we learned a lot along the way.”
TIME TO REMODEL
When Bread + Salt first moved in, the corner storefront’s large, south-facing windows spilled sun into a dimly lit, darkly painted dining room with a large coffee station in the center and a slivered view of the kitchen over a high countertop.
Ulehla and De La Torre wanted to brighten the space, so they embarked upon a remodel that opened up the dining room and made it more functional. They started by stripping off the wood paneling below the chair rail, repainting the dark green walls a light buttercup yellow with gray accents and upgrading the lighting and ceiling fans.
“The light that they used to have, it was super old and super dark,” De La Torre said. “In the mornings when we would open, it would look so dark in here because the lighting was really bad. And all of the new lighting is really, really great.”
A dividing wall set with window panes near the west entrance was jettisoned to create better flow, and the east entrance was closed off with drywall to make the central entrance a stronger focal point. The countertop dividing the dining room and the kitchen was lowered and set with bar stools to provide more seating, and the coffee station was relocated behind the counter.
“It’s just so open that you can see everything that’s happening,” De La Torre said, gesturing toward the windows. “If it’s snowing really bad, if it’s blowing, this stop sign gives you a big show of everything that’s happening. It feels like everything that’s happening in town, you see it right here — the people walking by, walking their dogs. It’s a really good view.”
New signage and chalk sandwich boards help draw traffic to Bread + Salt, and when the warm days of late spring and summer roll around, the couple is planning to take better advantage of the dog-friendly, wrap-around patio. Overall, the tight but conversational space creates a different energy than what’s found at Bagalis, Ulehla said.
“When it’s slower, at least for me, I can talk to the customers,” he said. “Since we opened up the kitchen, people can see me or see us, they can talk to us. We have regular customers from the neighborhood who come several days a week, and to me, that’s the most satisfying thing.”
The main thing that keeps customers coming back, of course, is the food. Ulehla said there are several popular items on the menu, which is a mixed blessing because he doesn’t want to get stuck with the same lineup forever.
“I like when people order the same thing, but on the other hand, I don’t like it because it’s limited,” he said. “Ever since the beginning, I never wanted to have staples on the menu because people keep getting them and you are done with creativity.”
Instead, Ulehla plans to use seasonal Colorado ingredients in dishes such as the Summit Vegetable Hash, which currently consists of tri-color beets, Yukon potato, sun-dried tomatoes and goat cheese with house-made pesto alongside two eggs and toast or English muffin. The ingredients in another favorite, the Squash Benedict, will also change with the seasons. Ulehla’s spin on this classic features two poached eggs with spinach, butternut squash, avocado and house-made hollandaise.
“It’s his interpretation of a Benedict being gluten free, so it’s a little out of the box,” De La Torre said. “So sometimes people do get surprised with that.”
Other creative breakfast highlights include the Truffle Scramble, with eggs, mozzarella, fresh herbs and truffle oil served with hashed browns and toast, and the chilaquiles, eggs with crispy corn tortillas, red chipotle chili, crema Mexicana, cilantro, onion, queso freso and avocado.
Ulehla said Bread + Salt was meant to be more of a hobby than a second full-time job, which is why he planned to stick to breakfast only, but customers began clambering to add a lunch menu, and shortly before Christmas, the chef obliged.
“I know it’s going to be lots more work, but from a business standpoint, it’s the most unexpectedly amazing thing the amount of people coming from breakfast for lunch,” he said. “Business wise, it was a good move. What I see is lots of small business office people coming here for lunch or hanging out, and that’s satisfying.”
Lunch is house-made soups, salads, sandwiches and a few specialty items, such as lunch versions of the veggie hash and chilaquiles with chicken instead of eggs and a Monte Cristo on Challah bread.
“Everybody loves the BLT,” De La Torre said. “I know it’s a classic, but it’s something about the bread. Michal makes his own breads for that one and the Chimayo mayo, and he uses really good-quality bacon, so people just love it.”
There’s a lot of satisfaction that comes when people recognize the work that has been put into Bread + Salt, from the updated décor to the thoughtful menu, De La Torre said.
“Everyone knows how hard we’re trying to build this place, to give great service to people,” she said. “And I think it makes you proud to know that the food is really good and you know how much effort he’s putting into it. People love it and say, ‘You were right, it’s so good.’ I think that’s kind of the best part for us.”
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