San Francisco bakery Tartine has merged with Blue Bottle Coffee and plans to expand, opening locations in New York, Tokyo and Los Angeles within the next year, according to an April 20 report in The New York Times.
In a deal completed last week, Tartine became a part of Blue Bottle Coffee, a company based in Oakland, Calif., and one that is also known for its artisanal products and cult following. But the bakery will continue to operate as a separate company run by Chad Robertson and Elisabeth Prueitt. The restaurant Bar Tartine, near Tartine Bakery in the Mission District of San Francisco, is not part of the merger. Instead, it will be sold to its head chefs, Nicolaus Balla and Cortney Burns.
“I’ve been talking about the things that are about to happen now for years, but I was always looking for the right partner,” Robertson told The Times.
He has found that partner in James Freeman, the like-minded founder of Blue Bottle, who has expanded his own business significantly in recent years. Blue Bottle now operates 18 shops, with roasters in Oakland, Brooklyn, Los Angeles and Tokyo. In 2012, the company raised $19.6 million from a group that included investors from Silicon Valley. Last year, it raised about $26 million. “As Blue Bottle has grown, it’s improved, and that is unusual,” Robertson said. “Everyone says they’re going to get better when they get bigger, but it doesn’t usually happen. Blue Bottle really stands out in that way.”
The Tokyo Tartine will open later this spring, followed by a Los Angeles location in the Arts District by the end of the year. The company is scouting locations for a New York bakery to open in 2016.
Tartine will also open a large-scale commercial bakery in the Heath Ceramics building in the Mission District in the fall, where customers will be able to sit and eat croissants while watching the next batch of bread come out of the oven. It will also be the first location of a new ice cream shop, tentatively called Tartine Cookies and Cream. Blue Bottle already has a coffee shop in the building. The original Tartine bakery, worn from years of crowds shuffling through, will be remodeled.
The new bakeries will allow for techniques that can’t be executed in the current location. “We want to take all the traditional methods that we use and applying state-of-the-art technology when it makes sense,” Robertson said.