The first Bi-Rite Market opened in 1940 on 18th Street in the Mission, long before the neighborhood became the hotbed of restaurants and bars it is now. In the decades since, the market has become an insanely popular mini-chain known nationally for its minuscule footprints but oversize selection of high quality and, often, locally sourced food, flowers, and wine.
Now, the family business has purchased Real Foods Co. at 2140 Polk Street, a neighborhood favorite in its own right since 1976, and will reopen as the business’ third outpost in early 2023. Steffan Morin, a manager at Bi-Rite for more than 16 years, will become the shop’s general manager. “I started at Bi-Rite as a cashier my third day of living in San Francisco and I’ve spent time at both 18th Street and Divisadero, so I’m thrilled to now be creating a Bi-Rite Market Polk Street experience to delight our guests,” Morin said in a press release from the company.
Offerings at the third location will be, expectedly, a lot like the Divisadero Street and Mission District locations. Sam Mogannam, founding partner of Bi-Rite Family of Businesses, said in the press release the company has been looking for a new location for years, a place where the shop could naturally plug into a new part of the city’s fabric. The plan is to temporarily close the shop while flipping it into a Bi-Rite, but representatives for the benefit corporation hope for not long.
The local business has a veritable fable of an 80-year run at this point. Brothers Joe and Bill Cordano opened and ran the first store until 1959; eventually, fellow business brothers Jack and Ned Mogannam bought the company in 1964. Ned’s sons Sam and Raph became the third pair of brothers to own the company, taking over the shops from their dad in 1997. Through the following years more and more food talent came into the company, and in 2008 the business launched food nonprofit 18 Reasons as a way to showcase local producers and engage with customers.