We can just barely remember the early days of Tartine, when it was but one small corner bakery located in a neighborhood in the midst of transition. It could have gone one of two ways, ripe to become a local favorite or lost among the location's changing times. But then, we all know how that story goes.
Since it opened in 2002, Chad Robertson and Elisabeth Prueitt's shop at 18th and Guerrero streets has had a line out the door on the daily, with locals and tourists alike patiently awaiting incomparable morning buns and freshly baked breads. It was the jumping off point for a pastry (and more) empire, with Tartine Manufactory and other spin-off locations now in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and even Seoul, Korea, where three locations include a bakery, coffee shop, and small market.
For some reason, it only took the pair 17 years to open a second bakery here in SF.
A bright white wash, open garage door, and plenty of windows make Tartine a welcome and welcoming addition to the Inner Sunset.(Sarah Chorey)
Residents of the Inner Sunset are no doubt stoked to be the beneficiaries of Tartine's newest bakery; when the fog gets thick and the Mission feels far away, one needs a delicious croissant and a cup of coffee close to home.
The formula at the newest Tartine Bakery is a classic one: stupid-good pastries, easy-tasty breakfast and lunch options; and a comfortable, familiar space. Like a breath of fresh ocean air, the Ninth Avenue place—designed by Studio BBA (Tartine Manufactory LA, Nico, Mister Jiu's)—is bright white, sky-lit, and bustling. An old-school garage roll-up door opens onto an outdoor courtyard; glass doors and windows welcome you in.
Once you hit the pastry case, it's pretty much game over from there—you are sucked in with zero chance of winning against the temptations in store.
Tartine regulars will recognize the menu: morning buns, pain au chocolat, open-faced sandwiches, soups, coddled eggs a la Tartine Manufactory, and many, many fresh-baked loaves of bread. "The food mirrors what we do at Tartine Manufactory," says Robertson, "making healthy, delicious, nutritious food that people want to eat every day."
Robertson also notes the specialness of the location. "I'm overwhelmed, thankful, and humbled by the warm welcome of this pretty old school SF neighborhood. I love that people that live in the neighborhood seem to really support the small businesses—it's a lot like the Mission in that way."
Get a taste of the offering.
Make your way past the exterior courtyard to the counter laden with pastries. Pick a few, order a coffee, and grab a hot meal item to indulge in.
Whether you order it up front or on your way out, loaves of Tartine's signature country bread are a must.
While the front area and middle space of the bakery may feel busy and bustling with crowds, if you make your way to the back you'll find a bit of breathing space at the high-top stools facing the open kitchen.
The pastry game at Tartine is strong. You'll be happy with their classic buttery croissant, their legendary morning bun, or a slightly heartier ham & cheese laden croissant. Coffees, always.
Once the lunch hour hits (read as early as 11am on Tartine time), the menu adds a slew of other dishes. The country bread offers is served with three different pairings: goat cheese, fermented veggies, or this cheery pink dip. It's a blend of beets and chickpeas for a savory hummus, topped with root top gomashio (aka un-hulled toasted sesame seeds).
Seasonal soups will always have a place at this neighborhood cafe. Creamy ginger carrot soup is topped with a drizzle of oil and breadcrumbs for a rich, yet healthy-ish meal.
No visit to Tartine would be complete without, well, a tartine. The smoked salmon tartine is a stunner. Find a well-buttered and well-toasted piece of country bread layered with cream cheese, pickled onions, a hint of meyer lemon, and fresh springs of dill.
If your hunger is on the more dire side, opt for the hefty patty melt. A weighty beef patty is sandwiched between two pieces of country pullman bread with caramelized onions and mornay, a meal that will easily keep you very full till dinner.
A Japanese inspired dish, the house porridge takes advantage of grains like rice and and job's tears. A mushroom conserva, a few pickled veggies, and a soft-boiled egg complete this heartwarming comfort bowl.
// Tartine Bakery is open from 7am to 3pm daily; 1226 Ninth Ave. (Inner Sunset), tartinebakery.com.