Famous Toastery, a 26-unit better breakfast, brunch and lunch franchise, has announced the addition of a new Chief Culinary Officer to its leadership team. And as a brand committed to its mantra of “be famous” by serving “famously fresh” food, the Famous Toastery team knew they needed a culinary leader who was, in a word, famous. Enter: Jennifer Brulé.
Brulé has been a classically trained chef since 1994 and is a nationally published food writer who has written two published cookbooks and developed recipes for national magazines, like Cooking Light, Shape, Fitness and Draft Magazine. Brulé is also the on-air chef for the Carolinas’ largest NBC affiliate, WCNC, as well as a regular on ABC Charleston and the Food Network.
“I lived in Europe from 2003 to 2010, and that greatly influenced how I cook and see food,” says Brulé. “When we came back to Davidson, North Carolina, I helped restaurateurs get their establishments off the ground. We would work together to figure out the concept, develop the menu and support them in anything else they needed.”
Then, in 2018, Brulé decided she was ready to take her own advice and open a restaurant of her own. She started Davidson Ice House, a burgers and bowls restaurant located on Main Street in Davidson.
“We are naughty and nice—burgers and fries, but also healthy, nutrient-dense bowls,” Brulé explains. “It is all about inclusive dining. We like people to feel welcomed. My food style is very much about bold flavors. ‘Flavor explosion’ is a term I hear a lot from customers. I am all about substance. The food needs to be Instagram-worthy, but the flavors also need to back that appearance up. I have been a student of ‘umami’ for 15 years, which just means savoriness and depth of flavor. I try to impart that on every dish that I create.”
Right down the street from Davidson Ice House was the original Famous Toastery location, and Brulé says she first met CEO and Founder Robert Maynard when he came in to eat at her restaurant as a customer.
“We talked a bit and developed a friendship—we are opposite in that he is amazing at business and strategy, but he’s not a chef,” Brulé says. “So we had wanted to work together for years, and when the team reached out and told me they had created this position for me, I was so excited.”
Brulé says there were several factors that drew her to the Famous Toastery brand, but one of the biggest was the community-driven and family-oriented approach behind everything the team does.
“In Davidson, the Famous Toastery is where the town meets — everybody knows somebody there,” says Brulé. “That really appealed to me. Also, it was clear that everyone on the Famous Toastery team was very family-oriented, which trickles down to the employees and sets the vibe for the restaurant. I really feel that the importance of family is in the Famous Toastery restaurant, and that always starts from the top down.”
Of course, Brulé says she was also a huge fan of the food. Since its humble beginnings in 2005, Famous Toastery has been serving “famously fresh” made-to-order breakfast, brunch and lunch food, with all-fresh ingredients and top-quality meals made from a scratch kitchen. In her new role as Chief Culinary Officer, Brulé says her goal will be finding ways to make the Famous Toastery menu even better.
“The hour-long wait at the Davidson restaurant speaks for itself—clearly they have amazing food,” says Brulé. “But I bring a different perspective with a lot of experience, so I am looking for ways to improve the menu. It could be recipe development, adding a new sauce to a dish—my role is strictly about food and putting my magic touch on the menu.”
Since joining the team this summer, Brulé has already started visiting different Famous Toastery locations around the Carolinas to watch how the kitchen operates, see the menu in action and talk to franchisees.
Looking ahead, Brulé says she is most excited about continuing to work with the Famous Toastery team, which is getting bigger and better every day.
“The team they have assembled is really amazing and is full of restaurant-industry veterans,” says Brulé. “I’ve always done my own thing, so the opportunity to work with a team and collaborate is really exciting. We are all working hard to create an even better concept than we already have, and we all want this to succeed. As far as Famous Toastery, I am just looking forward to seeing if I can help in any way, round out the menu and add to the flavor profiles. Our goal is to have the best breakfast at any restaurant in the U.S., and I am proud to be a part of the team making that happen.”
The team hopes to sell eight to 10 deals in 2022 and open four to six restaurants next year. Looking long-term into 2024, Maynard and his team aim to have 50 open restaurants.
“This partnership has been in the works for many years, and we are so proud to have a chef as respected and accomplished as Jen joining our team to help build out our menu and really put the ‘better’ in better breakfast,” says Maynard. “With the strong foundation we already have and the growing team coming in, the time has never been better to join the Famous Toastery family and open a beloved neighborhood establishment in your local market.”
The cost to open a Famous Toastery franchise ranges from $605,500 to $1,029,500, including a franchise fee starting at $45,000.