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Split Bread to Fill Fast Casual Gap on Polk Street

It's taking over the old La Boulange space

Susie Wyshak

The forlorn La Boulange on Polk Street will sit empty no longer: Come mid-September, Split Bread will take its place, bringing a cozy, all-day eating affair to the heart of Russian Hill.

This will be the third location of the sandwich-heavy cafe, which has two other locations in SoMa. However, it is the first location to venture into a neighborhood, which executive chef/partner Andrew Swallow says was his main goal all along. Swallow, along with Leslie Silverglide and David Silverglide, originally founded Mixt Greens, the continuously expanding local salad chain in 2004; Split Bread followed in 2012, focusing on sandwiches.

According to Swallow, who lives in the neighborhood, the Polk Street Split Bread aims to fill the void left by the closure of La Boulange. "There just aren’t great places for breakfast nearby," said Swallow, who also admitted to driving across the city for a decent breakfast at Plow. It will offer about 49 seats, plus outdoor seating, for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Staying true to what is rapidly becoming the new SF way of dining, diners will order at the counter, or through an app ahead of time, and seat themselves; runners will bring out their meal, as well as take more order for food and drinks at the table. There will be a to-go component, which can be ordered online before arriving, or at a station at the front of the restaurant— when an order is ready, diners will receive a text message alerting them to pick it up at the counter.

"I wanted to create America’s greatest hits with my own twist to them," says Swallow. That means weekday breakfast will include items like like ricotta pancakes, egg sandwiches and seasonal soft scrambles, with amore extensive offering for brunch. Lunch will be largely the same as the other locations, with burgers, crispy chicken sandwiches, and hearty salads as headliners. Dinner will include everything available at lunch, plus a selection of three or four entrees like smoked pork chops or buckets of crispy chicken (ranging $17- $22), plus charcuterie plates and snacks like spinach artichoke dip. Four Barrel Coffee, Wine on tap and beer will also be part of Split Bread’s offerings, including mimosas at brunch.

The look and feel will mirror the other two locations, the design of which Swallow had a large part in creating. There’ll be banquettes and booths, and a warmer color palette to match the all-day service. Swallow says that they’re completely renovating the space, which had become somewhat worn through the years. If all goes according to plan, the new location should open in mid-September. Stay tuned for more details.