Bi-Rite Creamery, perhaps San Francisco’s best-known ice cream shop, returns this weekend after a three-month closure. The absence was required by a city-mandated seismic retrofit of its building at 18th and Dolores Streets. But Bi-Rite has made the most of the time off, parking a new ice cream truck outside to meet demand in the interim, and now returning with a new, larger layout and more flavors to make up for lost ice cream time.
The new version of the creamery has about twice the previously cramped seating as before, with new riser style benches and splashy mural behind. To-go fridges for pints and ice cream cakes have been moved to take up less space, and the bathroom has been tucked behind them into the kitchen area.
Most importantly, there’s more room for ice cream itself: 24 flavors rather than the previous 18. Kris Hoogerhyde, partner and pastry chef at Bi-Rite Creamery, has several new vegan flavors including two with an oat milk base. Cinnamon maple oat crunch (Red Ape Cinnamon organic Ceylon cinnamon and oatmilk churned with Mead and Mead dark maple syrup and oat crumble) was inspired by Hoogerhyde’s son and his breakfast cereal habit.
More new treats at the creamery include soft-serve stuffed doughnuts from Mr. Holmes Bakehouse, with hot fudge, salted caramel, strawberry basil, and Ritual coffee and cream dipping sauces. Hoogerhyde tried several doughnuts for stuffing, but only Mr. Holmes’ stood up to the heavy task, she says.
With Hoogerhyde and Anne Walker as partners, Bi-Rite Market owner Sam Mogannam expanded across 18th Street to open Bi-Rite Creamery in 2006, causing a sensation with Dolores Park-goers ever since. By now, flavors like rich salted caramel made with dairy from Straus Family Creamery have entered the canon of the city’s great sweets,. Bi-Rite expanded with another creamery outpost inside the market’s Divisadero sequel in 2013, and a soft serve offshoot opened at Bi-Rite’s Civic Center kiosk last year.
This year, the original creamery was one of many city businesses closed for city-mandated seismic retrofits, which are due to be completed by 2020. Its neighbor, Namu Gaji, was also closed for the process, but expects to reopen in the next several weeks.
Bi-Rite Creamery reopens Friday, June 1, at 3692 18th Street with daily hours from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. During the grand opening weekend, the creamery will host a temporary outdoor parklet, and five percent of all sales will go to Mission High School’s Urban Agriculture program.