Tartine closes huge Los Angeles restaurant complex after less than a year – San Francisco Chronicle

Restaurant News

San Francisco’s beloved bakery Tartine expanded into Los Angeles in January with a sprawling, 40,000-square-foot Manufactory outfitted with two restaurants, a cafe, a bakery and a marketplace. On Monday, all of the public-facing retail components closed.

“It’s very strange closing a place that is loved and that I’m proud of,” said owner Chad Robertson. “I’m sad, but when you decide to grow your business, some of the decisions you have to make aren’t ones you confront when you’re small and have only one shop.”

The closures began six weeks ago with Tartine Bianco, the complex’s all-day restaurant, a partnership with Phoenix chef Chris Bianco that received a rave review in the Los Angeles Times. The other sections closed on Monday.

Tartine Manufactory in Los Angeles will keep its wholesale bakery open to supply outlets like Whole Foods.

This doesn’t mean the end of Tartine in Los Angeles, though. Tartine will continue to operate 13,000 square feet at the location for its wholesale operation, continuing to supply Whole Foods twice a day. It opened a cafe in West Hollywood and has plans to open cafes in Silver Lake and Santa Monica. Robertson now splits his time living between San Francisco and Los Angeles.

The key issue with the Manufactory project, Robertson said, was the downtown location, an area full of manufacturing but not many residents. In a city where everyone drives, there wasn’t foot traffic on weekdays, and destination visits on the weekend couldn’t sustain the operation.

The exterior of Tartine Manufactory in San Francisco. The Los Angeles version was 40,000 square feet.

“We were trying to really show L.A. that we were committing to L.A.,” Robertson said of the project’s ambitious magnitude. “If I had lived here before I probably would not have done it that way.”

Moving forward, Tartine will focus on smaller neighborhood bakeries and cafes, similar to the original location in the Mission. It’s a business model Tartine knows well, Robertson said.

“I don’t have any shame,” he said of the closure. “I’m proud of everyone, but it is what it is.”

Janelle Bitker is a San Francisco Chronicle staff writer. Email: [email protected] Twitter: @janellebitker

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