San Francisco's artisanal bakery scene continues to grow, with the addition of a brick-and-mortar location of Vive La Tarte. The bakery, run by Belgian husband-and-wife team Arnaud Goethals and Julie Vandermeersch, has been steadily building its business through catering and selling wares baked in commercial kitchens, but now the couple finally has a space of their own.
Vive La Tarte's bakery will be housed in an old printing house in SoMa at Howard and 7th, a couple of blocks from where fellow bakers Chantal Guillon have also recently set up shop. "The city is really bakery-focused right now," says Goethals. "Really cool concepts are coming out, and we want to contribute to that." Viennoisserie like croissants, Danish and Berliners (a.k.a. jelly doughnuts) will be baked in small batches and served warm. The goal is to create excellent versions of classics—in fact, many of the recipes are family recipes that have been modernized and given a "California feel," like a Danish made with basil custard and red rhubarb. The main focus at Vive La Tarte will continue to be tarts, both sweet and savory, but the couple has also been working on a California version of pizza al taglio, a Roman-style square pizza sold by the slice. Brunch will offer a bit of an expanded menu, with the addition of heartier breakfast items like poached eggs.
On the beverage side, Vive La Tarte will offer coffee from their neighbors, Sightglass, in both drip and espresso formats. In fact, they'll be the first to serve the roastery's new espresso blend Crown Point, pulled from their Rancilio z8, a vintage, levered espresso machine. For non-coffee drinkers, there will be several teas and a fresh "juice of the day" from Happy Moose Juice.
The couple designed the the space themselves as "a modern interpretation of what the bakery could be," collaborating with local artisans on the wood and metalwork and opening up the space to show the bakers at work. The seating area includes a two-tiered bench-like structure, from which guests can check out the bakery action, as well as counters with stools and chairs.
Vive La Tarte's official opening date is set for Wednesday, May 20. To start, the bakery will be open Wednesday-Sunday from 7 a.m.-4 p.m., though they have plans to expand their hours down the line. They'll also continue to offer catering and whole tarts by special order.