Specialty Food Magazine

Winter 2019

Specialty Food Magazine is the leading publication for retailers, manufacturers and foodservice professionals in the specialty food trade. It provides news, trends and business-building insights that help readers keep their businesses competitive.

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Bi-Rite with the offer of $2 million to help with building costs, and last fall, the new cafe launched. Conforming to Bi-Rite's tenets of caring for the earth and the environment, the new 600-square-foot building was designed to be low impact. All lighting is LED and most is on timers; there's no gas, only electricity; it's small and efficient; and all cleaning supplies are green. The building is made mostly of granite and glass. Above the 3-foot-high granite, most of the building, up to the roof, is glass. "That was designed because we're in a public square so the gran- ite matches the look and feel of the municipal buildings surrounding the cafe and the glass creates that feeling of transparency, like public buildings are supposed to be transparent," Mills explains. The food follows the same ethos as it does in the two grocery stores—all responsibly sourced, as local as possible, and mostly organic. To start the day, there are breakfast sandwiches, yogurt and granola parfaits, Bi-Rite Creamery baked goods like muffins and scones and pastries from a new vendor, The Midwife and the Baker, and a full espresso bar serving local Sightglass coffee. For lunch there are sandwiches, and rotating bowls—both hot and cold—such as Miso Noodle Salad, or Mills' favorite, the Lentil Bowl, with lentils, rice, chickpeas, avocados, squash, sweet potatoes, and pea shoots. The Draw of Ice Cream In the afternoons the cafe scoops the same soft-serve ice cream that it offers at its Creamery store, with chocolate and vanilla always offered and two other rotating flavors, which are seasonal or themed with events at the Civic Center. The ice cream is made with Double 8 Dairy buffalo milk, which has a higher butterfat content. To this, Bi-Rite adds its own flavors. Also available: banana split, brownie sundae, affogato, salted caramel ice cream cup, and ice cream sand- wiches, as well as other sweets, which include warm chocolate chip cookies, and seasonal popsicles. For kids, there's grilled cheese, turkey and cheddar sandwiches, carrots and hummus, and more. There's also a free piece of fruit for any kids who've picked up a sticker at the nearby San Francisco Public Library's main branch, making the cafe yet more appealing for the people who will be the customers of tomorrow, though surely the ice cream is the biggest draw for the smaller diners. Grocery items are limited to f lowers, which serve a double pur- pose of bringing color and joy to the outside of the cafe. Mills thinks this fare will attract everybody. "Everybody cares in some shape or form about what they put in their body," he says. It certainly attracts employees keen on food. "We hire people who really care about food," Mills says. "You want somebody who expresses passion for something but you've got to be careful to avoid hiring people who don't know about local products because then you might miss someone who's truly curious but just doesn't know what organic and fair trade mean yet." The cafe is open from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Friday; 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the weekends, and open late when special events are held in the plaza. There are 30 to 40 seats outside, so customers can eat on the run or people-watch in the plaza. In the future, Mills hopes to attract couples who've married in the nearby City Hall. "We hope to turn it into a place to come and celebrate with a rose and a glass of champagne afterwards."—A.B. The food follows the same ethos as it does in the two grocery stores— all responsibly sourced, as local as possible, and mostly organic. WINTER 2019 81

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