Starting in the far reaches of Asia and continuing forth, SF's institutional food doyens are seeing past the coast.
When news broke the Wise Sons' and Tartine were making their flagship debuts in both Tokyo, Japan and Seoul, South Korea—Our editors were excited, confused, and curious about the need to expand east.
The most notable of all the brands moving operations to Asia was for us Tartine, with the Instagram announcement that it would open in Seoul, South Korea. According to the post to social media, the bakery is planned to open in 2018, though no timeline is specified. We thought: could this be a way to be closer for the 2018 Winter Olympics? As for other Bay Area eateries such as, Wise Sons', the Wise Sons Tokyo will serve classics from their San Francisco locations, including bagels, matzo ball soup, and a hot pastrami sandwich with Tokyo-made pastrami and rye. Though we don't understand how Jewish cuisine will translate in Japanese, the co-founder Evan Bloom explained, "We are really excited to create something that is definitely Wise Sons, but uniquely Japanese.” Until we see what that is, we're not entirely sure about the outcome. Is it racist to put Wakame on a bagel?
And don't get us wrong, expanding your business into parts unknown is the most thrilling and depth defying move one can make, but we ask, what is the intention?
Even for another Bay Area hotspot, Mr. Holmes Bakehouse has been a crazy land staple of major metropolitan Seoul. In late 2015, cruffin-craving South Koreans huzzahed over Mr. Holmes Bakehouse opening in the city's Gangnam District. With the makings of Instagrammable content, a variety of their revised classics, and a dedicated location that was made for Seoul—we felt that this bakehouse did it best and in the most enlightening way that blended them into the Seoul community. Even smaller brands such as Bicycle coffee found their niche with hand delivering their roast through out Tokyo, they still found their blending within the Japanese community.
Though as San Francisco as they'll ever get, we conscientiously think of Asia and how they'll react to the food coming into the country. Bagels, overpriced bread, coffee that's made only for Instagram. Asian countries don't exactly care for carbs unless it's packed under a ton of honey. Could one say these restaurants and bakeries are starting to become corporate? Even South Korea's bakery chain, Paris Baguette, has dug its roots in Oakland in downtown and started to spread around NorCal.
For now, there isn't too much to say—food is starting to extend past mom and pop and is becoming everyone's parent. People who would not otherwise get a chance to taste an amazing piece of bread or a cup of joe brewed Californian-style. For now, we will remain ever-so-skeptic.
// Header photo courtesy of Tartine Seoul.
Anthony is the founder of Bob Cut Mag and the director of business development. Anthony writes on LGBT, people, and gender issues but catch him also writing about other shenanigans he finds himself in. Want to partner with Bob Cut? Email him at email@example.com