Woodstock greets Yolk cart, offspring of Toast restaurant

by: Merry MacKinnon The owner of “Toast” restaurant – he’s also a Woodstock resident – Donald Kotler recently opened “Yolk” food cart. Parked in front of The Joinery, facing Woodstock Boulevard near S.E. 49th, the new food cart offers a breakfast menu – including the $4 ham, egg and cheese baguette pictured here in front of Kotler.

With 'Toast' restaurant on S.E. 52nd Avenue near Steele having grown popular with locals and out-of-towners, its owner, Donald Kotler, has now opened another business.

Following through on a commitment to expand in Woodstock, Kotler told THE BEE: 'I love Woodstock, and I want to continue to see it grow.'

In September, Kotler's new venture, a breakfast food cart called 'Yolk', got off to a good start with customers lining up to order - among other menu items - The Glendale (scrambled eggs, cheeses, onions, peppers, and ground pork), and the $4 Egg Sandwich (ham, eggs, and cheese on a baguette).

Kotler's 'Yolk' now brings to three the number of food carts arrayed in front of The Joinery Handcrafted Furniture at 4804 S.E. Woodstock Boulevard. 'Yolk' serves breakfast, 'El Gallo Taqueria' serves lunch, and 'Artigiano' serves dinner, although there's some crossover between all three.

'My main worry was how to avoid competing with 'Toast',' explained Kotler, adding that Yolk's breakfast menu differs from Toast's - and is less expensive. But Yolk offers made-to-order sandwiches and hashes with the same farm-fresh produce, and eggs from free-range chickens, as does Toast.

'It's a very tough environment for everybody in business right now,' acknowledged Kotler. That may explain why Marc Gaudin, owner of The Joinery, put an ad out last summer inviting another food cart into his parking lot. 'I met Marc at the Woodstock Community Business Association meeting, and saw a posting online - he wanted a breakfast cart to complete the others - and that gave me the idea,' Kotler explained.

He was fortunate, he said, to get a Small Business Administration loan to partially fund his latest venture. 'It helps,' he added,' that Toast is doing relatively well since it opened several years ago, having started with five employees, now grown to 19.

'I'm invested in this neighborhood - we have a loyal clientele, and my family and I live here in Woodstock,' he said. 'I've seen dramatic changes [for the good] in Woodstock over the last five to six years. But I realize that some neighborhood businesses are struggling in this economy. There is no smooth sailing for businesses anymore.'

Yet, if all goes well and Yolk gets the anticipated order-to-go business this winter and can pay off the loan, then Kotler would seriously consider opening another business in Woodstock. 'We have other ideas for Woodstock,' he said cryptically. 'I want to do different concepts.'