Anne and Kris met many years ago working together in a restaurant. Anne was busy baking at the time, and Kris was transitioning from the front of the house to the back to bake alongside Anne. They began business together baking for Bi-Rite Market, a San Francisco staple, whipping up the many amazing goods that line the market’s shelves—cookies, pastries, granola.
At the time, they were working from a rented kitchen space. Anne told us that they asked themselves a couple of questions that led to the opening of the bakery and creamery, “What if we were on the same street as the market? And what else can we do that’s sweet?”
Logistically, it only made sense to have their bakery within walking distance of the market—it meant easy transportation of ingredients and finished products, and simpler communication. Their new space was divided between the kitchen and a storefront to serve their new item: Bi-Rite Creamery ice cream.
“We were able to take advantage of having our own bakeshop,” Anne and Kris explained to us, “Everything is made in our kitchen. Every ingredient and every cookie.” The only exception to the rule is with their cookies and cream ice cream, which has swirls of organic Newman’s Own oreos.
The essential ingredient in making great ice cream? It’s the dairy. “We start with a delicious, clean dairy that serves as the backdrop. It allow for the flavors to shine through,” Kris told us of the organic Straus dairy that they use. “There’s nothing more frustrating than not being able to distinguish a flavor.” With their ice cream, there are no ingredients used that could potentially dull your palette.
When it comes to creating new flavors, they work based upon the seasons and what’s available from local farms—even if that means a flavor is just around for one week. That happened to be the case when we visited, as they were just in the middle of their run of a batch of orange blossom ice cream. Only available for two weeks in total, the flavor highlights candied orange peels and perfectly crunchy pistachios.
Personal tastes also play a role when the two are adding new things to the menu. Luckily, Anne and Kris balance each other out well. If it were up to Anne, you’d find a menu filled with chocolate options. If Kris were to come in and alter that menu, Anne’s chocolate would turn to Mexican Chocolate—she’s always the one to add spice.
Regardless of what’s on the menu (or if it’s the middle of winter), Bi-Rite always has a line wrapped around the corner.
Photos by Collin Hughes