We all have our local haunts for baked goods—the neighborhood spot, a block or two from our apartments, that always have a croissant on hand and an ok cup of coffee.
But it's a special kind of bakery that can persuade us to walk an extra 20 minutes or to grab Lyft to visit. And Breadbelly is one of those bakeries—a rare destination shop that's drawing us to the Outer Richmond for its singular treats.
On Clement Street between 15th and 16th avenues, Breadbelly's sunny teal facade is hard to miss.(Sarah Chorey)
Fresh from the oven at the end of 2018, Breadbelly is the recipe of three pastry world friends—Clement Hsu, James Wong, and Katherine Campecino—who met years ago while working together at Atelier Crenn. Each went on to work at different well-respected restaurants (Campecino went to Mourad, while Wong did time at AQ), but the friends stayed close and hatched a plan. In 2018 they quit their full-time gigs to launch a series of pop-ups slanging Asian-influenced baked goods, regularly taking over the Outer Sunset's Andytown Coffee Roasters where they drew in-the-know foodies for such ingenious creations as anko red bean paste sticky buns and alfajor-esque black sesame cookies.
In September last year, the Richmond's old Heartbaker space opened up; the infrastructure was there, as were the neighborhood vibes to make a permanent home for their enterprise. Now, with a fresh coat of cream paint, new light fixtures, art prints, and plants from a nearby nursery, Breadbelly is the neighborhood brick-and-mortar bakery for those who call the Outer Richmond home.
Clever spins on traditional breakfast fare are the appeal here, drawing inspiration from the founders' Chinese and Filipino backgrounds. The flavors of those cultures can be found in every unique ingredient, in such dishes as kaya toast and ube treats. The caliber of the team's baking experience shows in the expert balance of salty and sweet in every item, whether it's the salty flecks of dried egg yolks balancing out the purple sweet potatoes of the ube tart, or the extra bit of butter baked into the milk bread of the kaya toast. Basically, it's all perfectly mouthwatering. Someone call us a Lyft.
// Breadbelly, 1408 Clement St. (Outer Richmond), breadbellysf.com