“We saw a void in the market for ‘the’ avocado toast,” says Bravo Toast co-founder Jack Della Femina. “You can ask 10 people their favorite avocado toast and get 10 different answers.”
Over July 4th weekend, Bravo Toast—founded by Jack, Nathan Katz and Dom Nora—opened up a pop-up at Cynthia Rowley, serving their specialty avocado toast to Montauk.
“Before we founded Bravo, all of us were working in real estate and had just graduated from USC,” he recalls. “We knew we would not be passionate working a traditional 9 to 5 and knew that one day we would be entrepreneurs. My father told me, ‘there’s never a perfect time to do anything.’ We took the leap and haven’t looked back.”
“Truthfully, we were just looking for an excuse to quit our jobs and have fun,” Jack says.
By February they had a rough idea for the business, had found a location in Downtown LA and were designing the space when COVID hit. “Luckily we hadn’t signed anything yet…we backed out of negotiations, and quarantined for two weeks,” he says.
He then remembered what his father, Michael Della Femina, the owner of Croft Alley in LA, had told them: “Timing will never be perfect.”
So while Croft Alley was closed the team took the opportunity to create a pop-up avocado toast “drive thru” at the existing restaurant.
“We told 30 people to show up for some free food and the business picked up some incredible momentum,” says Jack.
Jack is now the third generation in his family in the restaurant business, and he’s no stranger to the East End. His grandfather Jerry Della Femina owned Della Femina restaurant in East Hampton for 25 years.
“I grew up coming to the Hamptons and would frequent Montauk for my favorite restaurants. I like to say Montauk is the arts district/West Hollywood of the Hamptons,” he says.
The partnership with clothing designer Cynthia Rowley came about because Dom was “friends with a friend of Cynthia’s daughter,” says Jack.
“Cynthia really took a gamble on us. She hadn’t even tried the product or met us before, but liked our Instagram enough to take a shot on us and it couldn’t have turned out better,” he says. “We had a few phone calls with her and she understood our vision and we knew it would be a great collaboration.” The team opened up shop in the food stand adjacent to the Cynthia Rowley store.
What can visitors expect from the menu? It’s designed to be simple and done exceptionally well, Jack says. They are serving the most popular toast, the Green Goddess Avocado Toast—made with house pesto and burrata. All items are vegetarian and vegan options are offered as well. You can also grab a Bravo Palmer (iced tea/lemonade), and a Sylvester & Co. Cold Brew. “It’s healthy, yet decadent,” says Jack. “We always strive to use local ingredients whenever possible.”
Another word of advice he had received from his family: “Sell a million of one thing, not a million different things.”
Bravo Toast also plans to do special tastings of other menu items throughout the month, like the Meyer Lemon Ricotta Toast and the Sundried Tomato Caprese Toast.
Opening over July 4 weekend, amid COVID-19 restrictions, he says they still did exceptionally well, with everyone from high schoolers to Wall Street bankers to Instagram influencers stopping to enjoy the toast. “The biggest difference was that we felt that we were serving locals more than tourists,” he says. “Business has been busy thus far, and we attribute that to the environment we’ve created. The community has been really supportive and loves our story.”
The team plans to open a permanent location of Bravo Toast in West Hollywood after the summer. It will be located on the border of Beverly Hills across from the Doheny Fountain Park.