Stumble across Saint Bread and you might think that you’ve been zapped via enchanted portal to a rustic boathouse with stained glass windows in a remote waterfront village. Only instead of buoys and barnacles, this little shed is filled with sandwiches and pastries ideal for a lazy Saturday breakfast—and you’re really just on the University District side of Portage Bay.
You’ll find things like our favorite avocado toast in town, made better than the rest by a heavy sprinkling of za’atar, pools of grassy olive oil, and scientifically-precise levels of fresh lemon and salt. There’s a riff on Norwegian-style school buns filled with raspberry jam and creamy custard, too. But what really has us worshipping Saint Bread is their breakfast sandwich on a fluffy Japanese melonpan that’s topped with a thin layer of cookie dough before baking. Glory be to this creation, stuffed with jammy-but-not-messy fried eggs and sticky american cheese that fuses to the bacon grease and rogue granulated sugar on your fingertips. Embrace the sweet-and-salty McGriddle energy.
If you're hoping to come here for a late brunch, you'll be met with a mostly-empty pastry case containing only chocolate chunk cookies if you show up after 11am (there are worse fates). But that's precisely the time they start serving their excellent lunchtime-only smashburger, so really, everyone wins here at all hours of the day. Said burger has the kind of frizzled meat crust that Louis Camille Maillard himself would have endorsed, along with a slightly spicy special sauce that flows flawlessly with melted cheese, as well as a great crunch from pickles meeting the toasted edges of a sweet Hawaiian bun.
A slab of seedy wheat toast topped with mashed avocado, perfectly salted with just the right amount of acid before getting topped with za'atar and a puddle of olive oil. It has just enough pizzazz to feel unique, but still will satisfy an avocado toast purist. Our only complaint is that sometimes, the very middle of the bread isn't as toasty as the edges—but the quality of the thick bread is so high that it's an overlookable offense.
Okonomiyaki Style Tortilla
This is an omelette filled with sweet potato, cabbage, green onion, and ginger, topped with smoky bonito flakes. The egg is a little bland and tends to be a bit overcooked, and there aren't enough of the mixins to keep us interested. The kewpie mayo and sweet bulldog sauce help to moisten/season it up, but you can skip this dish.
Fried Egg Sandwich
The fried egg sandwich is a choose-your-own-adventure. You have options—Thai sausage or bacon for meat, as well as a Hawaiian bun or melonpan for the vehicle. The bacon on sugar-crusted melonpan is Saint Bread's most divine creation, and should be your first choice. But if they're sold out of melonpan, we like the way the sausage's lemongrass brightness pairs with the sweet and dense Hawaiian bread.
Ah, Saint Cheeseburger. The patron saint of summer barbecues and music by The Aquabats. This smashburger is excellent enough for us to show up after 11am (when it's served) and totally miss every pastry here. With a circumference made of lacy crisped meat, tangy special sauce, pickles, and melted yellow american on a squishy Hawaiian bun, it makes our decision to eat breakfast or lunch here extremely difficult.
Beyond the melonpan, this is our favorite baked good here. You can't go wrong with fried dough stuffed with a combination of tart raspberry jam and creamy custard. Well, you can—if you bite it too hard and send globs of filling through the other side onto the ground. Don't make the same mistake we did.