Just in case your Instagram feed wasn't enough proof, people are going gaga for Mr. Holmes Bakehouse, the new bakery from Ry Stephen and Aaron Caddel that debuted in the Tenderloin in November. After a few years selling their pastries wholesale to coffee shops around town, the duo decided to open a retail space as a lark, but have quickly seen it grow into a behemoth, selling out by 10 or 11 am every morning of the week. "Weekdays are busy, but weekends are insane," says Caddel, noting that customers have been lining up at 6:45 am even in pouring rain, and that lines sometimes stretch 20-25 feet out the door (even with three cashiers manning the registers). "We really didn't anticipate that this would go this well."
So why has Mr. Holmes become such an instant smash? For starters, there's those cruffins (croissants baked in muffin tins, then rolled in sugar and filled with pastry cream), which Caddel says have quickly become "the signature item." They've been hiring like crazy and increasing production to get 100 cruffins in the case on weekends, but still usually sell out of them in under an hour. But even more than sweet treats, Caddel thinks sweet Instagram posts have been driving a lot of business. He's constantly seeing iPhone shutterbugs snapping the bakery's gold-lettered boxes and its fun "I Got Baked in San Francisco" sign. "We definitely have some regulars, but a lot of people are coming from other neighborhoods, because they saw us on social media," he says. "Maybe it's just hype, but for the moment, we seem to have become a sort of destination spot."
To get the best selection, Caddel advises visiting Mr. Holmes between 9 a.m. and 10 a.m. on weekdays, when lines are somewhat abated and the cruffins have just come out of the oven. However, you may miss out on other treats like twice-baked croissants, which he says are "usually sold out by then." If things keep going as well as they are, Caddel says Mr. Holmes may grow a family—in addition to considering larger options in San Francisco to increase the bakery's production, he's currently on the hunt for a space to open a second bakery in Los Angeles.