Though its owners carry with them a plethora of culinary skills and experience, the little bistro is a newcomer to the St. Augustine food scene. Back in April of 2016, owners Laura Highsmith, Heidi Fogle, and Rachael Rogers happened upon the space near the Vilano Bridge and fell in love. In August, Dessert First Bistro opened its doors to the public. That time of year is the slow season for the marina community, but the team decided this was a blessing. It was a period that gave them time to iron out details, perfect their menu, and discover their niche. As they head now into the busy summer months, they’re more than ready for the inevitable onslaught of patrons.
Most of the bistro-goers are basking in the sunshine, lunching and sipping their espresso al fresco, as we wander in. Dessert First is bright and open, sporting trendy chalkboard messages throughout – “All You Need is Love & a Good Cup of Coffee” – and boasting a mingling of the sweet, sugary smell of pastries and the unexpectedly savory.
Laura, Rachael, Heidi, and their team – Chefs Sebastian Sikora, Billy Hodges, and Lucy Kamada – besiege us with some of the best offerings of their highly eclectic menu. We start with the Fried Green Tomato BLT ($8.50) – which, yes, is as good as it sounds – a take on the classic that consists of green tomatoes dipped in cornmeal and grilled, apple cider Cherrywood-smoked bacon, lettuce, and remoulade on toasted sourdough.
The next on our plates is the Boulangerie Pork Sandwich ($6.50) which coats a fresh croissant in the mouthwatering remoulade before piling on a hearty portion of in-house slow roasted pork as well as avocado, swiss cheese, and an egg.
After satiating our inner carnivores, the menu took a left turn without deviating from the path of substantial flavor. We were hesitant about the Eggplant Sandwich ($7.50) at first, but were floored by the roasted heirloom tomato, grilled eggplant, arugula, goat cheese, and onion jam on housemade artisan bread. Vegetarians rejoice.
Thankfully we left at least a little room for dessert – the aptly named bistro’s specialty. We were treated to a warm and gooey, made-from-scratch cinnamon roll ($2.95) that would have fully satisfied our sweet tooth until the Triple Chocolate Cake ($6.95) was brought out. The chocolate cake layered with chocolate mousse, chocolate ganache, and chocolate buttercream is not for the faint of heart. But it is for the fans of decadent deliciousness.
Dessert First Bistro made be a little hidden away, but it’s worth the hunt to experience fresh, local flavor and always housemade confections.