By Guest Blogger, Shawndra Russell
San Francisco’s Tartine Bakery & Cafe is famous for its amazing bread, dolled out to raving fans at 4:30pm and sold out within the hour each day. The atmosphere is controlled chaos—filled with locals catching up and in-the-know visitors clamoring for all the gourmet sandwiches available alongside teas, coffees and fresh-basked desserts. Baker Chad Robertson was even recently featured in Vogue magazine as “the cult prince of American breadmaking.”
During my visit, I devoured an open-faced Croque Monsieur while taking bites of my mom’s Pastrami. The sandwiches are large, the bread crusty on the outside and soft on the inside, and the ingredients scream freshness.
It’s no wonder that Tartine has inspired others to try and recreate this loyalty and dedication to quality—if not to recreate Robertson’s painstaking breadmaking process detailed in 38 pages in the Tartine Bread cookbook. One such location that looked to imitate Tartine Bakery is the brand new Twenty/20 Cafe located near Hilton Head Island in Bluffton, South Carolina. Owner Michael Hausman once lived in San Francisco and used to pick up bread from Tartine at least on a weekly if not daily basis.
Since Tartine doesn’t ship their bread, Twenty/20 Cafe instead bakes croissants provided by Lecoq Cuisine along with Tribeca Oven breads that are used for their Parisian, Mixed Grill and Roasted Red Pepper sandwiches—the last being my favorite. So, although Robertson’s breadmaking technique isn’t being recreated, the smell of yeast does fill both cafes.
Twenty/20 Cafe also differs by serving wine, craft beer and gelato instead of baked desserts and only teas/coffees like Tartine’s business model. However, the commitment to a high standard of quality at Tartine Bakery & Cafe obviously impacted Twenty/20’s owners, especially when it comes to the gelato. The Advanced Gourmet machine is the most expensive piece of equipment in their kitchen. I tried their Cappuccino Crunch, which uses coffee beans from their roaster, King Bean Coffee from Charleston, South Carolina, and fell in love.
While Tartine Bakery & Cafe devotees have their fingers crossed that Robertson (or at least his bread) will make his way to the East Coast, Hilton Head Island vacationers and residents can now enjoy a Tartine-inspired slice of heaven, too.
Shawndra is a digital strategist that helps small businesses tackle their social media and the Savannah correspondent for Forbes Travel Guide. Read about her services and work at www.shawndrarussell.com.