Le Dix-Sept Patisserie bursts open Saturday, with a beautiful array of pastries at 18th and Mission. (The bakery is named after the 17th quarter in Paris, so it’s poetic to cut the cake on the 17th of October.) The hotly anticipated bakery was delayed for months due the pandemic, but will be worth the wait, with a menu of technical French pastries, influenced by founder Michelle Hernandez’s Guamanian and Mexican heritage, and doing it in high style with beautiful botanical colors and flavors.
Hernandez is a Bay Area native, who trained in pastry in Paris then moved back home to launch a custom cake business. Le Dix-Sept is her first official storefront, and was originally expected to be one of the most popular openings this spring, following a successful Kickstarter over the holidays.
But when the pandemic hit, “That was really hard, because everything shut down, and the banks moved toward helping current businesses, and doing emergency loans only,” Hernandez says. She quickly sized down smaller custom cakes for anyone celebrating a birthday at home, launched wholesale brioche bread for Douglas and Ritual, and popped up with nougat and cookies at Mister Jiu’s. “The food community really came out for me, and helped keep me busy,” she says.
But to finally open is the culmination of years of sweat, tears, and buttercream: “It’s such an amazing location. The Mission is where I started, and why I’m so excited to be there. … My dream is finally coming true.”
The 3376 18th Street shop is close to where Hernandez did her first pop-up, almost a decade ago. It’s a warm wood storefront with pop pink windows, where customers can order at the door, and step down to pick up drinks from a window.
“It’s a little alcove … like a little house full of treats,” Hernandez says. The storefront itself may seem petite, with one gorgeous lilac-colored concrete counter, and to keep it safe for now, customers won’t be allowed inside. But the bakery goes back 2,000 square feet deep, and they’re still building out a big production kitchen, where the cake magic will happen.
Le Dix-Sept is known for its technical French pastries and confections, which take inspiration from botanical colors and flavors. That means raspberry-rose brioche knots, chewy nougat flecked with nibs and seeds, and deeply burnished canelés, along with other treats.
Back on the menu are liege waffles, made on a French iron for those crisp caramelized sugar edges, before getting topped with black sesame, dragonfruit, and rose. There are a couple of savory offerings, such as quiche slices and focaccia toasts. Drinks include prickly pear–hibiscus spritz, honey-chamomile iced tea, and hazelnut-lavender iced hot chocolate. Coffee comes from woman-owned Lady Falcon and Black-owned Red Bay, and orange juice will be freshly pressed to order.
Le Dix-Sept officially opens this Saturday, October 17. Opening hours are Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. for the month of October, before expanding to Thursday to Sunday in November. Customers can order online to pick up, but it’s also fine to walk up.