Nick Beitcher, founder and owner of Midnite Bagel, says his new cafe at 646 Irving Street will close this month after just over four months. He says that while the wholesale and farmers market arms of the business are thriving, the retail location is not bringing in the business to make the physical location worth the investment. Retail is trickier, Beitcher says, and the Inner Sunset is just not the location for the sourdough bagel shop. “Does it hurt? Sure,” Beitcher says. “But we’ve never been a normal bagel shop, and we’re selling a very different product. We’re still shooting to be on the same level as the best artisan bread in San Francisco that people come from all over the world to try.”
The entrepreneur decided to go for a cafe, complete with Linea Coffee offerings and loaves of pumpernickel for to-go, in February 2022. The shop opened on May 23 to the public, with long lines winding down the street just as they did outside Tartine Bakery on Guerrero Street in 2019, when he sold his first Midnite Bagel creations out of the famous Mission District bakery. The sunset resident said at the time that he felt a sense of homecoming by opening on the west side of the city. In August, the shop tried out Fish of the Friday, inspired by a pop-up collaboration with East Coast-based Doshi.
Now as he prepares to close up shop, Beitcher says those lines around the block from his pop-up days at Tartine indicate there is indeed an audience, the same audience still supporting Midnite Bagel through wholesale and farmers markets. There will be a pivot toward catering as Beitcher moves out of the location and looks for a new space. But that announcement, likely, won’t be coming anytime soon. “We need a better retail location to reach our audience,” Beitcher says. “It took almost four years to get that location and build that cafe. My expectation is that we’re not going to find something immediately.”
October 16 is the last day of service at the Midnite Bagel cafe, and hours are reduced to Friday through Monday until the final day.
Update: October 4, 2022, 10:28 a.m.: This post has been updated to clarify the reasoning behind the closure of Midnite Bagel.