Avocado toast, and young people’s seeming devotion to it, has been a punch-line for years. That perhaps culminated in an Australian millionaire’s viral 2017 soundbite. “When I was trying to buy my first home, I wasn’t buying smashed avocado for $19,” said real estate developer Tim Gurner during a “60 Minutes” interview. Right or wrong, Gurner has had a front row seat to the recent avocado madness, as the modern iteration of avocado toast was first served in a Sydney, Australia, cafe in the early 1990s.
However, according to a January 2018 article on the history of avocado toast from online magazine Taste, the dish could date all the way back to the Aztecs en-joying avocado tortillas 10,000 years ago. Its American history began around 2006 with its introduction to the menu at New York’s Cafe Gitane, and it really took off when actress Gwyneth Paltrow included an avocado toast recipe in her 2013 cookbook.
Certainly part of the key to its success has been its visual appeal. As the growth of Instagram has encouraged experiences meant to be photographed and posted online, avocado toast’s vibrant colors and interesting shapes and textures has made it a perfectly shareable dish. Today, there are 7.6 million Instagram posts tagged “avocado.”
But the more important reason avocado toast is still in such high demand, says Cry Baby Cafe executive chef Michael Smith — who rolled out his own version of the dish earlier this year (shown above) — is twofold: quality and simplicity.
“It’s considered clean eating, and it’s such a simple dish,” he says. “It started out as a fad, but it’s withstood the test of time because it’s a quality product made with quality ingredients. When you order avocado toast, you know you’re not going to get it with terrible ingredients.”
Like Smith, every chef serves avocado toast with their own twist. Some go with chili flakes, others with cilantro, and others with egg (Smith suggests adding a fried egg to his version). Scroll down to find out how other restaurants downtown and in Tampa Heights are keeping the trend alive.
Cry Baby Cafe (pictured at the top of the page)
710 Harbour Post Drive | (813) 443-4956 | thecrybabycafe.com
How do they make it? Smashed avocado, extra-virgin olive oil, Maldon sea salt flakes on sourdough with optional fried egg
The Hall on Franklin | 1701 N. Franklin St. | (813) 405-4008 | thehallonfranklin.com
How do they make it? With red onion, cilantro and an optional egg
Buddy Brew Coffee at Oxford Exchange
420 W. Kennedy Blvd. | (813) 253-0222 | buddybrew.com
How do they make it? The origin of Tampa’s avo toast obsession does it with chili flakes and lime on whole grain toast, optional poached egg
520 N. Tampa St. | (813) 307-9006 | firstwatch.com
How do they make it? Fresh smashed avocado, extra-virgin olive oil, lemon and Maldon sea salt on whole grain toast with two basted eggs
1540 N. Franklin Ave. | (813) 221-5150 | cafehey.com
How do they make it? Cuban toast with butter and Swiss, add avocado, with optional egg, tomato and red pepper, veggie bacon or hummus.
1000 Channelside Drive | (813) 443-2962 | greenroots-cafe.business.site
How do they make it? With chili flakes and lime on whole wheat toast, optional egg and goat cheese
Armature Works | 1910 N. Ola Ave. | (813) 336-6960 | graze1910.com
How do they make it? Guacamole, mayo-free avocado egg salad, mixed greens, microgreens and crushed red pepper on a multigrain English muffin