tartine bianco Jakob Layman

'Better grain' Tartine empire launches in Los Angeles

San Francisco bakers open The Manufactory with plans for growth

The long-awaited Tartine complex — a massive 40,000-square-foot bakery, coffee roastery and market, which will also be home to two restaurants — began opening in earnest this week in Los Angeles.

Known as The Manufactory, the complex in downtown LA’s arts district is a collaboration between Tartine chefs and founders Elisabeth Prueitt and Chad Robertson, who are joined by Phoenix pizza specialist Chris Bianco. The complex will also support the opening of three more stand-alone Tartine Bakery locations to come in LA.

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First came a walk-up window offering coffees, pastries and ice cream, which opened in late January. This week Tartine Bianco, an all-day cafe, opened with a seasonal menu of signature smorrebrods, or open-faced sandwiches topped with things like avocado, uni, Chicken Waldorf or smoked trout, and dishes that show off the bakery’s unique breads. The menu also includes larger plates, like braised pork shoulder, rotisserie chicken, lamb shank or shelling bean stew.

Tartine Bianco shares space with The Market Bar, which will offer small plates and pintxo-style bites and flatbreads by Chris Bianco, along with made-to-order salads, sandwiches and sides. A small market will also offer curated items, as well as an assortment of fresh pastries and desserts.

Coming this spring is dinner concept Alameda Supper Club, a collaboration between Bianco and Robertson. The restaurant, which will also be open for weekend brunch, has a private dining room, an indoor bar and an outdoor patio and bar.

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Later in the year, the Manufactory will include a coffee lab where sourcing partner Califia Farms will showcase its roasting operation. Coffee micro-lots will be served from specific machines, and the facility will be the first Specialty Coffee Association Flagship Educational Campus in the U.S., offering a range of courses for certification.

Prueitt and Robertson brought the Tartine/Manufactory model from San Francisco, where they operate a bakery and cafe along with two Manufactory locations, including one at San Francisco International Airport, which is more of a food hall.

Prueitt and Robertson are champions of a return to breads made with “ancient grains” used before the shift to mass industrial production, which popularized a more-generic white flour with a longer shelf life.

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Tartine breads and pastries are made with premium small-scale grains, including many that are not wheat — Prueitt is gluten-sensitive. All of the bakeries’ flour is milled at Cairnspring Mills in the Skagit Valley, Wash., and delivered fresh within a few days to the production facilities, which Robertson contends increases the nutrient and fiber content.

Officials said growth beyond LA is yet to be determined, but any more to new markets would include a Manufactory bakery production center to support Tartine outlets. The bakeries, however, will not offer wholesale product to other restaurants.

Contact Lisa Jennings at [email protected]

Follow her on Twitter: @livetodineout

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