Breadbelly, a closely watched pop-up serving Asian-American baked goods, opens its permanent home next Thursday, December 20. Customers who’ve flocked to appearances at Andytown and elsewhere in search of anko (red bean paste) sticky buns and kaya toast (milk bread with coconut-pandan jam) can now find them on a regular basis in the Richmond District at 1408 Clement Street (between 15th and 16th Avenues in the former Heartbaker space).
“We’re very proud of what we’ve been able to build in our new, tiny home,” says Breadbelly’s Clement Hsu. The space, which seats 20, is somewhere he hopes diners will linger for baked goods and pastries plus coffee from Wrecking Ball Coffee Roasters and a full brunch menu coming soon.
Hsu met Breadbelly co-founders James Wong and Katherine Campecino at Atelier Crenn, where he was an assistant to acclaimed pastry chef Juan Contreras. Campecino was most recently pastry chef at Mourad, and Wong was later chef de cuisine at AQ (he’ll head up Breadbelly’s savory food offerings).
“Our inspiration comes from our travels throughout Asia and our heritage as Chinese and Filipino-Americans,” Hsu said earlier this year. “We really want to bring to the Bay Area some of the tasty foods we’ve encountered and properly represent modern Asian pastries and breads.”
Hits at Breadbelly’s past pop-ups have included sesame cookies, ham and cheese esaymada (brioche with ham and Pecorino Romano) and gyeran bbang (sweet corn bread, Korean chili, cheddar cheese, and soft egg). Those and more will be available on Breadbelly’s permanent menu, along with a small list of beverages: Four wines and three beers.
Wong, Campecino, and Hsu designed the new Clement Street restaurant space themselves. “There’s a lot of us in the space,” says Hsu. The goal is “somewhere between fast-casual and fuller service, [where] a lot of restaurants are right now. The thing you encounter is: How do you build a space built for that forty minute mark, versus 15 minutes, or an hour and a half?“
To invite customers to linger, the team hung the walls with art like a Leroy Neiman print and decorated the dining room with plants from nearby Clement nursery. They also designed the new Breadbelly logo themselves, which will hang, gilded by New Bohemia Signs, outside 1408 Clement.