With so many hot new food projects happening it can be hard to keep track of them all. Here are the fresh updates on folks we've profiled in the past: the Humphry Slocombe team, as well as Dave McLean of Magnolia Brewery fame.
Fans of the wildly popular artisan Humphry Slocombe ice cream store, from Sean Vahey and Jake Godby, are able to now enjoy scoop action at a new Ferry Building outpost (Ferry Plaza Farmers Market at The Embarcadero), which opened earlier this month. We caught up with Vahey to find out more. His comments have been edited for content and clarity.
Bay Area Bites: Tell us about your new spot.
Vahey: The Ferry Building approached us and we're honored to be asked. We'd been doing the Tuesday market outside and have a lot of great relationships with folks in the building like Blue Bottle coffee--they serve our ice cream with their affogato. There's also Far West Fungi, who helped us do our candy cap popsicles. Some say they taste like waffles, or pancakes, I say “Who cares?” It's that maple-y, "Who knew mushrooms could taste like that?" thing.
Other relationships include McEvoy Ranch Olive Oil, who has our pints. And then there's Boccalone Salumeria who worked on our lard caramels. Since we're involved with so many people at the Ferry Building, it's a good fit for us.
Bay Area Bites: Tell us about what folks can look forward to now that you're open.
Vahey: The first thing people ask is “You will have Secret Breakfast, right?” I love the look on everyone's face—they have their nose down and this sort of panicked look. Yes, we will have Secret Breakfast, and very similar flavors as our Mission shop: Tahitian Vanilla, Blue Bottle Vietnamese coffee and Secret Breakfast will always be offered so people can get their fix.
Some flavors will change and there's no rhyme or reason to it, like in the Mission.
We are most proud of the space--Jane Martin at Shift Design is our Mission neighbor and that's how we got to know her. She's also a friend and customer. Her idea on how to change the space really went along with what we were thinking -- it was darker and we wanted it be more interactive. We fought her on some things -- the open up wall, that continues the space out into the breezeway, makes the store appear bigger and more welcoming. We'll have stand up tables, because we want customers to stay and hang out.
Bay Area Bites: What is the toughest part about opening? Vahey: Probably the transition of the space, which took a lot longer than we thought. We demolished the whole space, and made it completely our own.
Bay Area Bites: What do you have planned for the future? Vahey: We want to get the Ferry Building spot up and running. We do all of our production out of the Mission shop. It's almost 24 hour production at this point. We have a great kitchen manager and bought a new bigger machine. I do see us growing out of that space.
We're so lucky to be working with Virgin America, which will serve our Butter By Moodlight flavor on eastbound flights. It's a creamy combination of brown butter and blueberry glaze and was voted in based on a people's choice contest on Twitter.
Bay Area Bites: What’s your guilty food pleasure?
Vahey: Salt and vinegar chips, and fries--anything that has salt and vinegar in front of it. I can't believe I just said that.
The wait for a new brewery and BBQ spot—called Smokestack (2505 3rd St. at 22nd St.) -- from Dave McLean has been eagerly anticipated and means a new place to eat and drink in the increasingly popular Dogpatch neighborhood. The brewery is reportedly up and running and played host to SF Beer Week and Strong Beer Month happenings--but it's not yet open for business. The targeted opening remains uncertain but is said to be as soon as this month. McLean filled us in on what to expect; his comments have been edited for content and clarity.
Bay Area Bites: Tell us about your new spot.
McLean: It’s a BBQ place, Smokestack, in the front of our new production brewery in the Dogpatch. Like brewing, BBQ is a time-honored craft, full of tradition and regional variation but ultimately an opportunity for creative expression in the hands of people who love it and dedicate themselves to it. For us, it’s a great extension of many of our longtime culinary values, especially sustainable sourcing, in-house butchery and making everything from scratch.
Beer and BBQ just go so well together. So do bourbon and BBQ, and Smokestack has an extensive whiskey selection, focusing on American producers, and a somewhat whiskey-centric cocktail menu developed by bar manager, Eric Quilty. We forged an exciting partnership with Dennis Lee to man the smokers and bring our BBQ vision to life in a unique and expressive way. I’ve always loved his food and it’s exciting to be working with him. Smokestack brings together a great team of people, along with products and ideas that we love, in a special place that we hope exudes both warm hospitality and a nod to the neighborhood’s industrial past. Like the original Magnolia Pub as well as Alembic, we hope it further highlights the delicious interconnectedness of beer and brewing with all manner of food and other beverages.
Bay Area Bites: For food, what can folks look forward to?
McLean: The heart of the kitchen is in its smokers. In fact, everything in the kitchen is wood-fired. It’s an order by the pound at the counter place so diners will get to try a lot of different items, especially if they bring a hungry friend or two. The selection will vary based on availability but look for smoked pork belly, beef brisket and house-made sausages like Thai chili cheddar pork. Sides include burnt ends heirloom beans, collard greens with Kölsch, miso and chili, and Namu’s signature old family recipe kimchee.
Bay Area Bites: And share about the beers of course!
McLean: We’ve brewed over 75 different beers since Magnolia opened in 1997 and our new brewery in the Dogpatch allows us to experiment even more. The beer selection will rotate often, as it does at the original Haight pub, but we have a core lineup that includes our Kalifornia Kölsch, Proving Ground IPA, and Blue Bell Bitter, which is our ode to the great heirloom barley from the UK, Maris Otter. Alongside those and others, there will be Magnolia beers at Smokestack that are only available at our own two pubs.
Bay Area Bites: What is the toughest part about opening?
McLean: It’s the classic adage — everything takes a lot longer and costs a lot more than planned, no matter how well you plan. I think it might be a little different every time, in terms of which variables are the toughest to figure out. It has its challenging moments but in the end love for what we do keeps enthusiasm high and there’s plenty of energy to weather the hurdles and delays.
Which of these new spots are you excited to try? What other openings are on your list?