Boudin at the Wharf Offers a Rare Glimpse of Iconic San Francisco Bakery History

By Pati Navalta Poblete | January 9, 2020 | Food & Drink


Menu selections at Bistro Boudin include the seafood paella

As the oldest continuously operating business in San Francisco, Boudin Bakery and its sourdough are as iconic to the city as San Francisco’s famous landmarks. These are the folks who created the Original San Francisco Sourdough and have been making it fresh every day since 1849. Many people are familiar with their numerous locations and their famous clam chowder-filled bread bowls, but, surprisingly, not as many people know about Boudin at the Wharf—the ultimate go-to for sourdough lovers everywhere. Here are just a few reasons to make the trip to this treasure that’s hidden in plain sight.

Baker’s Hall This is a foodie’s candy store. Here you will find Boudin’s Marketplace and Café, where you can pick up a few items for your picnic basket, such as artisan olive oil, gourmet chocolates, handcrafted cheese and that famous sourdough. Also located in Baker’s Hall is a casual eatery that offers sandwiches, salads, sourdough pizzas, classic soups (in bread bowls, of course), and an exciting breakfast menu that includes crab Benedict and sourdough waffles made with a portion of the same Mother Dough sourdough starter that’s been used since Boudin’s first day of operation. An espresso bar awaits for a postmeal pick-me-up.

Exhibition Bakery Ever wonder what goes into those famous loaves? Here’s your chance to witness each stage of the process—from the mixing of ingredients to the practically sacred tradition of integrating the Mother Dough to the mixture to the forming of the loaves. Watch the loaves travel along the bread rail, where you can literally enjoy them fresh from the oven.

Boudin Museum Yes, something as iconic to San Francisco as sourdough bread deserves a museum. Here, visitors can see the historical intersections of the bakery, the gold rush and the city. Founded in 1849 by Isidore Boudin, the small business scaled along with the influx of people during the gold rush-era. Learn how the business navigated the challenges of the 1906 earthquake and its significance among new immigrants and bakers. And don’t miss the aerial view into the bakery from a 40-foot catwalk.

Bistro Boudin You know the history. You know how the bread is made. Now it’s time to witness a part of Boudin you probably don’t know about—it’s elevated dining experience. This is not counter service; this is a full-service restaurant located on the second floor, where executive chef Misael Reyes infuses his native El Salvador influences into this classic San Francisco business. Not to miss: arctic char ceviche served with sourdough crisps, avocado mousse, pomegranate seeds, and grapefruit and balsamic drizzle; seafood paella made with Valencia rice, saffron chicken broth, Spanish chorizo, mussels, clams, shrimp and scallops; Dungeness crab mac and cheese, served with buttered sourdough crumbs. Sourdough never tasted so good.

Photography by: courtesy of Boudin at the Wharf