With the start of the new year, Bay Area favorite Tartine Bakery announced the impending opening of its first international location—not in pastry-loving France or any North American neighbor, but in Seoul, as in South Korea, just in time for the 2018 Winter Olympics.
The move to Seoul may sound far flung, but Tartine is actually a late adopter of an emerging trend: San Francisco restaurants have been taking their game overseas, especially to Asia, for several years now. The Marina's popular Italian eatery A16 may have been the first—the restaurant opened in Tokyo's Mitsubishi building back in 2009—inspiring other local foodie purveyors, especially of the coffee and pastry variety, to dip their toes in Asian waters.
And just as San Franciscans are willing to wait in line for Blue Bottle Gibraltars and Tartine's morning buns, so too are foodies in Tokyo, Seoul and in Mexico's San Miguel de Allende (all cities that are now home to well-known SF businesses), where a growing understanding and appreciation for the sustainable food movement makes pioneering SF somewhat of a food world hero.
"The food culture in Korea is really amazing, [as is] the way they take Western food influences," says Chad Robertson, Tartine's James Beard Award–winning mastermind. "I'm very excited about the exchange of culture and collaborating with the team there."
So take a peek at exactly just what is going on in our favorite restaurants across the world.
Angelenos are practically lining up already in anticipation of Tartine Manufactory's opening in downtown L.A. this coming spring, but the bake hounds at Tartine Bakeryare broadening their horizons even further. On January 28th, Tartine will open the doors to its lofty new space among the many art galleries and trendy boutiques of Hannam Dong, a sophisticated neighborhood in Seoul, South Korea. What's more, Tartine intends to open a handful more bakeries throughout the country in the coming year or so. Turns out, founder Chad Robinson has nurtured a lifelong interest in Korean culture, bolstered further by friendships with Korean-American chefs including Momofuku's David Chang and Danny Bowien of Mission Chinese.
The Seoul team will be led by Paris-trained chef Hyunhee Lee and chef Edward Lee, who is well known locally as the man behind the carbohydrate havens Buzza Pizza and Baroque Bakery; a crew of bakers and staff will be temporarily transplanted from SF to imbue the new space with all the proper Tartine touches.
The new Korean cafes will serve Coffee Manufactory, the bakery's recent foray into coffee, along with a menu that will look similar to Guerrero Street's own—while the menu has yet to be released, Tartine's Instagram feed reveals familiar open-faced sandwiches, an oozy grilled cheese, soup and, of course, oh-so-crusty breads and morning buns. //tartinemanufactory.com