Last week, I paid a quick visit for the awning-lifting ceremony at BI-RITE CAFE at Civic Center Plaza, which is now open. Congrats to everyone who brought this project to fruition, it was definitely a complicated one (there were a number of entities involved). Owner Sam Mogannam was beaming, and is proud to offer something to the city he loves so much that will hopefully help turn the tide of that beleaguered area (you can read more in this interview with him), along with the new playground that is adjacent to the café. The last time I walked by the corner of Grove and Larkin, I saw a guy shooting up in broad daylight, and now there’s a café and outdoor tables, with bunches of flowers for sale and kids running around. Thanks to the Helen Diller Family Foundation for setting this in motion with their considerable donation.
The café is like a fully outfitted kitchen kiosk, designed to serve the neighborhood, with visitors to the San Francisco Public Library and Asian Art Museum, City Hall workers, residents, and commuters all swirling by. (Kids visiting the library can get a sticker to redeem for fresh fruit at the café.)
They’re serving Sightglass Coffee and offering full espresso service from the window, plus Bi-Rite’s awesome breakfast sandwiches, yogurt parfaits, bagels, toasts, and more in the morning. You can also order sandwiches (like their bacon grilled cheese on crusty bread from The Midwife & The Baker), salads, healthy bowls, soups, and there is also a kid’s menu too. Check out the full menu.
Of course, they’re using quality, local, seasonal ingredients, but are still keeping things at $12 and under. They really want to try to feed the community as best they can without compromising their core food values. They developed the menu for the past 8-9 months, and look forward to offering seasonal specials with produce from their Sonoma farm.
Have a sweet tooth? Soft-serve is available (using Double 8 Dairy water buffalo milk), plus sundaes, ice cream cups, sandwiches, and there’s an affogato. Hours are Mon-Fri 7am-5pm and Sat-Sun 10am-4pm. 52 Grove St. at Larkin.
Owner Sam Mogannam in front of the new Bi-Rite Cafe at Civic Center Plaza. Photo: © tablehopper.com.