San Francisco’s best known boutique grocer and salted caramel ice cream purveyor, Bi-Rite, will start swirling soft-serve and serving sandwiches at 52 Grove Street in Civic Center on October 24th. More than a year in the making, the third Bi-Rite outpost (or fourth, counting the 18th street Creamery) is not a market like the original 18th Street Mission location (est. 1940) or its newer, larger Divisadero cousin (opened in 2013). Instead, it’s a new model altogether: A cafe kiosk meant to serve the immediate needs of downtown patrons and enliven the Civic Center Plaza.
After the Helen Diller Family foundation donated $10 million to build two new playgrounds on Civic Center Plaza, they threw in another million for the cafe project. Bi-Rite’s Sam Mogannam, the second-generation owner of the business, says he was “honored” to be chosen by the Civic Center Community Benefit District to operate the kiosk space. The metal structure was designed by WRNS Studio — the firm the behind the Hayes Valley Playground and Airbnb’s SF HQ.
An opening celebration (complete an awning raising ceremony) on the 23rd will inaugurate the new space. Then, on the 24th, Bi-Rite Cafe will get down to business selling breakfast sandwiches, Sightglass coffee drinks, and baked goods from the Midwife and the Baker (croissants and their cardamom twists). For lunch, it’s quinoa based bowls, salads, and sandwiches.
Bi-Rite’s organic farmers in Sonoma, Placerville, and SF will also offer fresh fruits and vegetables. And since the cafe won’t be scooping hard ice cream (though cups of a few flavors from the creamery will be available), Bi-Rite’s Double 8 buffalo dairy-based soft-serve will finally take center stage.
“Theres something about that [soft serve] texture that makes me happier than shit,” Moganamm told Eater SF last year. “I love it”
Staring October 24th, Bi-Rite Cafe’s hours are Monday to Friday from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturday and Sunday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.