For five years, Marla Bakery has been a pillar of San Francisco’s artisan baking community — a perennial contender on various best bakery lists; one of a handful of reliable sources in SF for traditional Jewish holiday foods; and, according to many loyal customers, the maker of the best brownie, or the best bagel, or the best English muffin, in the entire city. Now, the Outer Richmond bakery is saying goodbye.
The Chronicle was the first to report that husband-and-wife owners Amy Brown and Joe Wolf will be closing Marla this month in order to move to Santa Rosa. The Balboa Street bakery’s last day of business will be November 27 — the day before Thanksgiving.
It was a bittersweet decision, Brown told Eater SF — one that was mainly motivated by the couple’s desire to spend more time with their two young children. Fifteen-hour work days running a bakery in San Francisco just didn’t turn out to feel very sustainable. “But I can’t see myself in any other place besides the kitchen,” Brown says. So she thought, “Well, what can we do?”
What they could do, it turns out, was move up to Santa Rosa, where they hope the pace of running a business will be a little bit more conducive for a family of four. They’re in the process of searching for a suitable location to open a new bakery up there. In the meantime, they’ve already lined up a weekly bagel popup at Miracle Plum, a specialty food shop at 208 Davis Street in downtown Santa Rosa; they’ll be there every Sunday in December, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. with their usual spread of bagels, smoked trout, and farmers’ cheese.
Brown, who says she’s lived in San Francisco for about 30 of her 44 years, is also determined to maintain at least some Marla Bakery presence in the city. For starters, the bakery will spend the next month or so tying up loose ends. A pizza pop-up coming up on Thursday, November 21, will be the last official Marla Bakery event at the shop. But Marla will also still offer its usual selection of special pies and breads for Thanksgiving, and even after the shop has closed, Brown says it might open again just for one night in December for a special New Mexican-style Christmas dinner that she and Wolf like to do every year.
Most notably, for fans of the bakery’s extensive selection of breads, pastries, and quiches, Brown says she hopes that after taking a two-month hiatus, Marla Bakery will be able to return to operating its Ferry Building farmers’ market stand — at least on Saturdays.
“We won’t be strangers,” she says. “We hope to continue to be a presence, just in a different way.”
What she’ll miss the most, though, is the Outer Richmond neighborhood the bakery has called home for all these years. “This neighborhood has been an awesome home to us. People forget about the Outer Richmond. It’s an awesome place.”