It’s always uplifting to hear about new openings, and when dessert is involved, even better! Coming to SoMa in the former Picnic on Third space is the first brick-and-mortar storefront for FLOUR & BRANCH, a baked goods and gifts company from owner Lauren Arnsdorff. She was launching her business just before the pandemic struck, and pivoted to become a commercial catering kitchen, offering delivery throughout the Bay Area, and shipping nationwide through her online shop. She launched on Election Day, 2020, and was fortunate to be accepted to Goldbelly’s roster within a month.
But now, after many pandemic-related and bureaucratic delays and snags, she’s ready to greet you in person, and watch your eyes widen over an array of creative cookies, cakes, and bakes like stuffed French toast, plus café items, espresso service, and a market and gifts section (this will expand in time—the “branch” part of the business name is a reference to flowers, as well as hospitality).
Her cookies are soft-baked but thick and crumbly, and made with quality ingredients. There are stuffies, with Nutella inside, or The Hopper—which I obviously need to try—and tastes “like your favorite minty cocktail got down with cookies and cream.” Oh my. There’s The Chipper, a Food Network favorite, with chocolate chips, espresso, and s’mores; The Brookie: “a brownie, a cookie, and a peanut butter cup all in one”; and The Salty Sombitch, which is like “butterscotch reinvented.” Super fun.
There are a couple kinds of decadent stuffed French toast, “hold my beer” buns, a floral & Prosecco trifle (made with layers of sponge cake drenched in a Prosecco glaze, Prosecco and vanilla bean custard, house strawberry rose compote, and salted brown butter streusel), marshmallow treats, and more. Her head baker is Paul Abuan, who makes kouign-amann, pastries, and other Viennoiserie. Lauren has been baking since her 20s, and has been on a quest to make the best cookies (this project has been in the works for the past ten years), but was previously in marketing and financial services, working for companies like eBay.
The space will have seating at four café tables, plus a few other additional seating options. The target was to open this Friday November 26th, but Tuesday November 30th is looking more likely due to oven shenanigans—I’ll keep you posted on Instagram. Hours will be Mon-Fri 8am-6pm and Sat 10am-6pm, with hours extended later as they ramp up. Can’t wait to check this sweet spot out! 493 3rd St. at Bryant.
Coming very soon to the Ferry Building Marketplace is GRANDE CRÊPERIE, a French crêperie from Patrick Ascaso and Joanna Pulcini-Ascaso of Le Marais Bakery fame. This project will pay homage to the authentic crêperie experience found in Brittany, where Patrick spent his childhood, the home of the crêpe! There will be naturally leavened sweet crêpes and savory buckwheat galettes using local ingredients (and from other Ferry Building merchants), designed to be enjoyed on-site or rolled to go. There will also be a special crêpe cone filled with local Straus Milk’s organic soft-serve ice cream.
Ascaso is working with famed French master baker Gontran Cherrier to develop the recipes and menu, which will also feature Breton pastries, such as kouign-amann, Far Breton fruit (prune) flan, gâteau Breton butter cake, caramel meringue chocolate fondant Baulois, and famous Breton cookies, like Gavottes and Breton butter biscuits to go with their special dark French roast blend from Wrecking Ball. Le Marais Bakery’s executive chef Emmanuel Pradet will be developing seasonal salads to round out the menu, with family-style brunches and dinners to-go coming soon. Evenings will feature French cider on tap and cider and Champagne cocktails. Catering and delivery will also be offered. The space will have 6 indoor seats and 36 outdoor seats, with large glass windows overlooking the Bay Bridge and the back Ferry Plaza. Hours will be daily 8am-8pm. Suite 46, Ferry Building Marketplace.
Since we’re over in that neck of the woods, you should know ~SLANTED DOOR~ is confirmed to reopen—SF Business Times ran the news that chef-owner Charles Phan signed a 10-year lease extension, and plans to reopen in mid-2022 after renovating the space with original architect Olle Lundberg. Great! He’s also working on a springtime project in Napa at 1650 Soscol Ave.
The Hi Neighbor Hospitality Group (Trestle, MAMA, The Vault Garden, and The Vault Steakhouse) are going to reopen the former The Corridor space as THE MADRIGAL this December. It’s going to be a modern cocktail bar (that takes reservations!), as well as a place for a full meal. Since it’s right by City Hall, the Symphony, Opera, Jazz Center, and Orpheum, it will be designed to be ideal for a pre-show dinner or late-night cocktails.
Director of Culinary Development Joe Humphrey will offer cocktail-friendly dishes, like a pull-apart style bread service with fermented black garlic bread, plus a Liberty duck smash burger with Fontina cheese and black truffle mayo, with main dishes like a risotto with Monterey Bay squid and shaved porcini mushrooms. There’s also going to be a late-night breakfast sandwich special with a housemade breakfast sausage patty, over-easy egg, Kennebec potato hash brown, and cheddar cheese, on a griddled Martin’s potato roll (oh yeah!). I’ll have more details when it’s opening time in December. 100 Van Ness at Fell.
A selection of cookies from Flour & Branch. Photo courtesy of Flour & Branch.