Tartine Bakery has spawned many projects since it opened, including Tartine Manufactories in SF and LA, and bakeries in Seoul. Now, its owners have their eye on a potential a cafe in Union Square’s Hotel G, in the former location of 398 Brasserie — plans that have taken a drastically different direction than what the Tartine team originally had in mind.
According to Tartine co-founder Chad Robertson, the original plan had been to collaborate with chef April Bloomfield (Tosca Cafe, Spotted Pig) and her team —including business partner Ken Friedman — on the cafe. Following sexual harassment allegations made public against Friedman, and what many considered to be a tepid direct response from Bloomfield, Tartine ended the partnership with both Friedman and Bloomfield. But, not before the application for a liquor license had been filed that included Friedman’s name — a matter complicating an already delicate situation. “We cut ties immediately [after the report],” Robertson told Eater SF. “It’s all done.” Other players also named on the license include Bill Chait (a partner in Tartine Manufactory, and prolific LA investor), and Carl Schuster (CEO of Wolfgang Puck Catering and founder of a restaurant investment firm).
But lucky for fans of Tartine’s dreamy style of California fare, the vision for a cafe is still on the table. Robertson says that his group is going back to the drawing board to determine the nature of what they’ll open in the space. “I only want to work with chefs that I really respect, and that complement each other,” says Robertson. “That space was really tied to that partnership.”
And though the city’s hotel dining scene is currently undergoing a small boom — including Villon in the Proper Hotel, the forthcoming Alta in the Yotel and Gibson in Hotel Bijou — there’s still room for improvement. “We want the restaurant to be something really special for San Francisco,” said Robertson. “We just don’t have that kind of killer hotel restaurant.” Whatever it is will likely include coffee from partner Coffee Manufactory, and hopefully some of Tartine’s much-loved bread and pastries.
In the meantime, stay tuned for more on the future of the restaurant at 398 Geary Street.