Bay Area artisanal baking giant Tartine has had plans to bring its crusty loaves and crumbly pastries to Los Angeles for more than a year. We now know that Tartine Manufactory—which has a branch up north—will be taking over one entire building of downtown’s enormous 30-acre The Row DTLA , formerly the historic LA Terminal Market and currently home to the recurring Sunday Smorgasburg food festival. But that’s just the start.
Tartine’s two-story, 38,500 square-foot space will feature multiple retail, hospitality, and industrial spaces that all fall under the larger Tartine Manufactory umbrella. The baking operation itself, helmed by husband-and-wife Tartine founders Chad Robertson and Elisabeth Prueitt, will be known as Tartine Craft Bakery + Mill and will be the regional headquarters for the company’s bread and vennoisserie (a fancy way of saying pastry) production for Los Angeles. Most of this will be visible to passersby, but a basement portion will include several mills and an entire grain silo.
Back upstairs, there will also be a gourmet market/food-hall type enterprise with upscale cheeses, charcuterie, pickles—you get it—all curated by Robertson and an unexpected collaborator: Chris Bianco, Phoenix’s James Beard award-winning pizza pioneer. His Pizzeria Bianco restaurants have repeatedly been hailed as the best pizzerias in the country, and the market will include a spot slinging pizzas loosely modeled on the square Roman-style pizza al taglio.
Bianco and Robertson will also act as co-chefs for the other juicy bit of news: a dinner-only restaurant concept complete with wine room and dry aging room that’s tentatively being described as “fine dining,” though, according to Bianco, the exact level of cushiness is still TBD.
We haven’t even gotten to the monster-size basement coffee roastery, a joint venture with Califia Farms (you know them from their cold brews and nut milks) that will roast up to 7 million pounds of direct trade-purchased beans. Up top there will be a separate Coffee Lab, a sort of shrine to the coffee industry where people can taste micro-lot coffees brewed on several different espresso makers while watching insidery, behind-the-scenes stuff like cupping, smaller-scale roasting, and competitive barista training. Oh, and then there’s the ice cream parlor that Prueitt will fill with Tartine-worthy scoops and all-day coffee service.
The whole operation is sort of like Gjusta on steroids, which is to say, really exciting, really ambitious, and really confusing. We were less than surprised to see former Sprout Group head Bill Chait signed on as a managing partner—this guy just doesn’t do small. Construction is expected to begin in March, and the team hopes to roll out the first phase—which includes the bakery, roastery, coffee lab, and market—as early as this fall. As for that fine dining but not fine dining restaurant? That won’t see the light of day until 2018.
Lesley Bargar Suter is the Food Editor at Los Angeles magazine. She wrote: The New York Times Review of LocoL Isn’t Wrong, It’s Just Deeply Misguided.