The wait is nearly over. The much-anticipated Berkeley outpost of San Francisco’s Tartine Bakery opens Monday, Sept. 16, at 7 a.m., with a line-up of its acclaimed pastries and breads, meaning East Bay folks can avoid crossing the bridge to get their fix.
This morning, Nosh was invited to get an exclusive first look at the space.
The new bakery-café is located at the Graduate Berkeley hotel. Taking over the French window-lined sunroom — once a flower shop — on the left side of the hotel entrance, Tartine Bakery has its own entry on Durant Avenue, but will also be accessible from within the hotel.
A selection of Viennoiserie (French for “things from Vienna,” referring to pastries made from yeast-leavened dough) are prepared at Tartine’s off-site commissary kitchen but are proofed and baked fresh at the Berkeley bakery every morning. (Visitors can get a peek at bakers preparing these treats from the windows outside.) Tartine’s two most popular Viennoiserie are its morning buns and croissants, both of which are extremely buttery and flakey.
The pastry case also offers teacakes, scones, fruit-filled bars, fudgy chocolate brownies, cookies, a parfait and a tart. These will make up the core line-up of baked goods, but some flavors and fillings will change regularly. For its opening, Tartine’s excellent banana cream tart will be offered.
Perhaps even more coveted than the sweets are Tartine’s crusty, rustic loaves of whole-grain bread — made with locally milled flour and baked in a wood-fired brick oven. The Berkeley location offers four styles: Country, Porridge, Whole Wheat Sesame and Danish Rye ($11.25-$14.75; half loaves are also available). The breads are baked off-site at the commissary kitchen, arriving warm at the Berkeley bakery in the morning.
Tartine’s coffee will come by way of its own Jack London Square-based roastery, Coffee Manufactory. The menu offers drip coffee, cold brew and espresso drinks, as well as hot chocolate — all of which can be made with milk, or oat or almond substitutes for $1 extra.
Within a few days, Tartine will roll out its lunch menu with a small selection of smørrebrød (open-faced sandwiches) and salads.
Although Tartine hopes to cater to customers of all stripes at the new location, the proximity to the Cal campus means many visitors will likely be students and faculty. With this in mind, the bakery will offer a 10% discount to those with a valid UC Berkeley ID.
Tartine has a somewhat odd arrangement for its lounge seating area/gallery. While a window from inside the bakery-café looks into it, access to the lounge is only accessible through the hotel’s lobby due to ADA requirements.
Tartine Bakery was founded by Elisabeth Prueitt and Chad Robertson, who opened their first neighborhood bakery-café in San Francisco’s Mission district in 2002. What started as a local go-to became a global phenomenon as the founders published cookbooks, garnered acclaim (including a James Beard Award for Outstanding Pastry Chef in 2008) and expanded beyond a single neighborhood bakery by opening Tartine Manufactory, a 5,000-square-foot bread factory and restaurant in San Francisco, Coffee Manufactory in Oakland and more Tartine outposts in Los Angeles, SFO and Seoul, Korea. Measuring about 1,000 square feet, the long and narrow Berkeley space is its smallest U.S. location; only one of its cafés in Korea is smaller.
Even before opening the bakery, Tartine has had a presence at the Graduate. Since 2018, when chef Chris Kronner took over the Graduate’s hotel restaurant and bar, Henry’s, Tartine has provided the buns for its burgers and pastries for its brunch service. Kronner is currently working on refreshing Henry’s menu — which he plans to roll out in the coming weeks — and expects to incorporate even more Tartine products in dishes to come.
Tartine Bakery’s grand opening is Monday, Sept. 16. Hours are 7 a.m. to 3 p.m., daily.