It seems like cute, well-curated coffee shops are a dime a dozen out in Williamsburg, and I’m embarking on a journey to sip my way through all of them. It’s a give in that they’ll offer local roasts with dairy-free milk alternatives like macadamia or hemp—this is Williamsburg after all—but it’s a little more challenging to find good breakfast eats.
I’ve seen Toby’s Estate coffee across the city, but had never stopped into its Billyburg brick and mortar. I was immediately impressed by its expansive floor space with plenty of tables and light flooding in from floor-to-ceiling windows.
Many patrons were just grabbing a cup of coffee to-go on their way to work, but Toby’s Estate also seemed to draw in the local freelancer crowd and a few hip tourists resting their legs. This coffee shop offers strong, free Wi-Fi, but also a “laptop free” table for those who want to enjoy an old fashioned newspaper in the morning.
I was joined by my boyfriend Robert for some quick morning bites on a Friday before I scooted off to the office. We ordered our coffee and food at the counter, which was then brought to our table relatively quickly thereafter.
Toby’s Estate offers a carb-heavy breakfast menu from 7 a.m.- 3 p.m. daily, ranging from breakfast sandwiches to locally baked goods from Balthazar Bakery, Doughnut Plant, 24 Blackbirds, and Danny’s Macaroons. We ultimately tried to start our day on a healthy note and split two items.
The coffee was obviously awesome at Toby’s Estate. The Williamsburg location houses a roastery and brew school featuring a Keys Van Der Westen Spirit espresso machine. This particular cafe uses the Bedford Espresso Blend, which was Toby’s Estate’s very first blend.
My almond milk latte was strong and frothy, just how I like it. The espresso is high-quality and flavorful, plus I’m a sucker for latte art.
Robert opted for the latte on draft, premixed with milk and sugar. He definitely got a buzz on, but it was too sweet for my liking. To each his own.
I balked slightly at the prices, so I had rather high expectations for the food at the cafe. Anytime I’m paying more than $12 (or $10 for that matter) on a variation of toast, it better be good.
Although I perked up at the sight of avocado toast on the menu, I compromised with Robert who was craving something more substantial. We settled on the toast with smoked salmon and cream cheese, an elevated version of the classic lox and bagel. The fish was tasty and plentiful, and the bread was fresh, but we both agreed this was something we could have easily made at home. We also left the greens untouched; neither of us are big fans of side salads at eight in the morning.
We also split the acai bowl, topped with fresh fruit, coconut slivers, and granola. The toppings were beautiful, but by the time the bowl came to our table, it melted into a soup-like consistency. I slurped up the bowl and ultimately felt like I was eating fruit with a berry sauce. Again, with a rather steep price tag (nearly $10 for the bowl), there was something left to be desired.
We polished off our bites to a bizarre playlist for this hour in the day — I’m talking Lou Bega and Ricky Martin one-hit-wonders. I appreciated some of the more relaxed 90s tunes a la Third Eye Blind and the Goo Goo Dolls, but there were some questionable playlist choices on this particular morning.
The Bitches say: C. The coffee is fantastic, but the food is unremarkable. Stop in for a cuppa and save your appetite for a more established restaurant in Williamsburg.
Toby’s Estate serves brunch every day from 7 a.m. until 3 p.m.