After more than a year of delays, Tost Sandwich Café (13427 Madison Ave.) in Lakewood is just days from opening its doors. Described by owner Tommy Karakostas as a “European-style deli and café,” the business will be a casual, comfortable destination for coffee, sandwiches and pastries.
“In Greece and Italy there are a lot of small places – some of them are mom-and-pop and some of them are franchises – that do tost sandwiches,” explains Karakostas. “They are panini-press sandwiches.”
Tost will take that concept and “Americanize” it somewhat by upgrading the fillings. While Greek tost sandwiches tend to be minimal in construction, he notes, Tost will update them with a larger variety of deli meats, cheeses and garnishes.
In addition to the sandwiches, Tost will offer European coffees like espresso and cappuccino, as well as freddos and frappes, Greek-style cold coffees. Those beverages will be joined by Greek, American and other European-style pastries.
Karakostas, who also owns the 12-year-old Greek Village in Lakewood, originally had plans to open a tattoo shop in the formerly vacant 2,500-square-foot space.
“I fell in love with the space and the work we had done to it,” he says. “We brought back the original hardwood floors that were covered by three layers of tile and carpet. But this is a concept that I’ve wanted to do for many years, so I decided to go for it. And of course, I love Lakewood, so this was the right spot for me.”
As for the Greek Village, Karakostas says that his popular Lakewood eatery has thus far weathered the pandemic.
“Greek Village is still going strong,” he reports. “We transitioned really well and our business actually increased because of all the online ordering.”
Look for Tost to open before the end of the month.