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MIT blogger Rona W. '21

a novel excerpt by Rona W. '23

in honor of the friendly toast

Today I found out that the Friendly Toast in Kendall Square, the location closest to MIT, is closing permanently :(

Like many others, I’ve forged plenty of fantastic memories of the Friendly Toast. It was my go-to brunch place to catch up with friends. My significant other and I have spent our last two Valentine’s Days there. They had breakfast ramen, y’all. It made such an impact on me, I even set a scene there for my novel.

Since my novel comes out in 2022, I’ll have to change the setting for that chapter. So, to commemorate the Friendly Toast, here’s the scene, edited for spoilers.01 It’s a first draft, so please forgive any awkward sentences. I promise my actual book will be more polished!

The Friendly Toast is astir with early-morning chatter and the bubbling of a coffee machine somewhere. Quirky knick-knacks dot the lime-green walls: yellowed postcards, doll parts, surrealist art prints, license plates. 

My eyelids are still thick with sleep—after Stef and I walked back to the hackathon last night, we stayed up for hours, building the backend for our app. We ended up crashing in the hackers’ lounge for only a few hours before I had to get up to meet Drew.

I find him and his teammates sitting at a booth near the windows. When they spot me, the guy sitting next to Drew shoves him teasingly. He flushes and shoves his friend back.

I slide in across from him, next to a blond guy with limbs that seem too long for the rest of his body. He folds and unfolds his arms like he can’t figure out what to do with them.

“Guys, this is Char,” Drew says. 

[long, non-Friendly-Toast-related conversation, removed for spoilers]

A curly-haired waitress stops by our table, tray laden with drinks. “Strawberry frappes for everybody?”

Oliver nods, and the waitress places soda glasses of pink froth in front of us. A swirl of whipped cream sits atop each. Red-and-white striped straws poke out. It looks Instagram-worthy. It looks expensive.

I trace a fingertip along the contours of the glass, gathering up droplets of condensation. “Wait, did we ask for these?” 

On the rare occasions my family eats out, we never order beverages. I’m not paying two dollars for a ten-cent soda, my mom always says.

“Oh, we ordered before you came,” Drew says. “Hope that’s cool.”

“Yeah. No problem.” I swallow. It’s not that I care about what we’re eating, but we’re probably splitting the bill, and I don’t exactly have tons of money to throw around. It would’ve been nice if he’d at least checked in with me first. 

Next, the waitress swoops in with plates of fries, glossed over with—

My eyes widen. “Is that blue cheese?”


Four strawberry frappes, a few dozen blue-cheese fries, a platter of fried-chicken-and-waffles, and nearly a hundred dollars (oof) later, we make our way back to campus. 

You can order online for the Friendly Toast’s other locations here!

  1. It’s a first draft, so please forgive any awkward sentences. I promise my actual book will be more polished! back to text