[Photo: Mani Niall]
Sweet Bar Bakery (2355 Broadway) is in the final stretches of completion, with painting, oven installations and such currently happening in the building that formerly housed the old-school MacFarlane's Ice Cream and Hard Candy. Chef/owner Mani Niall is renovating what once was the showroom for MacFarlane's Candy Co in what he dubs a "moderne" style, which will emerge with a color palette of an ice cream sandwich ("warm chocolate" brown, white, and "custardy butter" yellow) accented by bursts of "rhubarb" red and "huckleberry" blue.
"I was drawn in by the historic building and warm glow of the windowed corner space," Niall says. "Two walls of 15-foot windows; it's all about light. 45 feet wide at the front and 15 feet wide at the back — shaped like a giant slice of pie!"
Once open, menu highlights will include gluten-free and vegan items, muffins, pies, seasonal cornmeal upside down cakes, "big ass" chocolate chip cookies, savory bacon and gorgonzola scones, salads, grilled panini sandwiches, and some Mani's Bakery favorites such as a chocolate truffle heart cookie, re-imagined with SF's TCHO chocolate.
Niall has long been a pioneer in the pastry world. Mani's Bakery, which he opened in Los Angeles, was in business for two decades and was a very early adopter of specialty items such as sugar-free and gluten-free baked goods. He is also a former executive chef for Just Desserts and is working on his fourth cookbook (Good Morning Baking!), due out in the spring. His extensive resume even includes a two-year tenure in the Eighties as the private chef of Michael Jackson, and Niall says he'll likely continue to mark Jackson's birthday (August 29) each year by preparing some of his dessert favorites.
Niall does not yet have a firm opening date for Sweet Bar Bakery, but hopes to be slanging sweets in his new establishment by mid-November.
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