Daily Driver Opens, and Now All of SF Is Lining Up for Bagels

DailyDriver-Interior-counter.jpg

The cheerful counter at Daily Driver, with the wood-fired ovens in the back, and the menu displayed on the wall. Photo: Frankie Frankeny.

dailydriver-Butter-FrankieFrankeny.jpg

You can watch butter being paddled in the dairy room. Photo: Frankie Frankeny.

dailydriver-bagel-sweetpotato.jpeg

The roasted sweet potato sandwich on a salt bagel. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

dailydriver-bagels.jpeg

Wood-fired sesame bagels. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

dailydriver-matzo.jpeg

The marvelous “matzo ball” soup. Photo: © tablehopper.com.

If you were anywhere near Dogpatch over the weekend, you would have seen a loooong line of people hoping to score some wood-fired bagels from the newly opened ~DAILY DRIVER~ (from Tamara Hicks and David Jablons, and Hadley and David Kreitz) on 3rd Street. Some folks were luckier than others; the poor team has been completely overwhelmed and selling out, and are working hard to ramp up (and appease cranky Yelpers, who apparently want their bagels toasted—even though they are fresh out of the wood-fired oven—and the tangy, housemade cream cheese “isn’t creamy enough”). To be clear, since I’ve had some people ask me, these aren’t meant to be New York bagels—they’re hand-rolled, organic, wood-fired bagels with their own personality. They’re fantastic, I love the crackly exterior and chewy texture inside.

I was fortunate to get a pre-opening tour (and tasting) at this massive and impressive undertaking, which I previously covered back in February—please read the original piece for all the important background details—I don’t have time to write it all again—but in sum: it’s all about wood-fired bagels; hand-batted organic butter and cream cheese (the owners are behind Toluma Farms and Tomales Farmstead Creamery); small-batch coffee from Red Bay Coffee, and much more, including a stocked case of butter, ghee, and cheeses (don’t forget to bring some Teleeka home with you—gawd, I love that cheese, it’s like a domestic La Tur).

There’s an array of classic bagels (poppy, sesame, everything, salt, garlic, and plain; $3.50 each) with all kinds of toppings and spreads (cultured butter!). Martin Siggins, previously the sous chef at Nico for four-plus years, has put together a menu of awesome bagel sandwiches, including a B.E.C. (bacon, fried or scrambled egg, choice of cheese, which includes Provel, LOL, and chef says it’s great with a garlic bagel); pastrami (sauerkraut, mustard, pickle, white American cheese); and a creative roasted sweet potato sandwich with buttermilk, sprouts, and chives (chef recommends a salt bagel for this one, and I dug it). Of course, you can go for the king salmon gravlax with dill, red onion, crème fraîche, and capers ($18). You can take a look at my food pics on Instagram here.

The ingredients are all top-notch and well-sourced: the bacon is thick-cut and marvelous, and the pastrami is from a local SF company, Robert’s Corned Meats, which has been around for over 100 years. The eggs are from Stemple View Farms in Tomales, and come out so creamy.

They make a clever grilled cheese by slicing the top and bottom off the bagel and exposing more of the crumb (see my pics). And then: bring on the Folly cheese (inspired by Alpine-style cheese, and from another artisan Tomales business they work with). There’s also a bagel dog and lobster roll available after 11am.

The menu includes non-bagely things, like a restorative “matzo” ball soup (made with day-old bagels, and it totally works—such great flavor, and wait until you taste the lovingly made chicken broth); a mixed greens salad loaded with tarragon and other herbs in a buttermilk dressing; a tabbouleh salad made with whey-cooked bulgur wheat, almonds, cucumber, and their own feta; a Turkish egg (poached egg, quark, herb salad, chile oil, fried shallot); house granola with quark and your choice of toppings; and more. Everyone will need to get the bagels checked off their list first, obviously, and then will be happy to find other things to enjoy as well. There will also be items for grab-and-go, handy for neighborhood workers, like the salads.

Oakland’s Red Bay Coffee (Keba and Rachel Konte) is roasting a special collaborative coffee blend on-site (12oz. bags of the Daily Driver drip, espresso, and decaf are available), and wait until you see the beautiful set-up for making your espresso. Beer and wine will also be available for those dining in-house, featuring neighboring breweries Triple Voodoo, Magnolia, and Harmonic, and local wineries such as Oakville Ranch Wines.

The 7,000-square-foot location is spacious and cheerful, full of light and white and punchy blue tiles. There’s an upstairs mezzanine where you can sit at tables (with room for 130!) and couches, and peer down at the operation below. You can see the two big wood-fired ovens (built by owner David Kreitz, an industrial designer who designed and built the space, AND perfected the bagel recipe), and even peek into the dairy room and watch the butter be churned and paddled. You’ll also find a well-curated retail area in the corner with some nice products from other brands as well.

It’s going to be busy for a while, I’d try to go midweek if you can. Open 6am-3pm daily, with an extended brunch menu on Saturday and Sunday. 2535 3rd St. at 22nd St.