We’ve been discussing the major changes at Bar Tartine for a while now — the hiring of chef Nick Balla, the shift to a more Eastern European menu, and the takeover of the next-door retail space which is becoming a new bakery outpost and sandwich shop for Chad Robertson and the Tartine team. A couple of weeks ago we mentioned that the next-door space was almost ready to open, and that it will serve as a lounge and waiting area for the restaurant in the evenings. Now Eater catches sight of the fact that the restaurant is suddenly closed this week, reopening Saturday, April 30, for dinner. Grub Street contacted the Bar Tartine team for further details, and here’s what we know for now.
The reason for this week’s closure is somewhat less about Bar Tartine as it is about the bread oven, arriving on a boat from Europe in July, that’s going to sit at the rear of the sandwich shop/bakery next door. The floors have to be reinforced to support the massive thing, and that work is happening this week. As for any other cosmetic changes, we gather that the wall at the front of the Bar Tartine space is getting opened up into the next-door space, in order to provide the eventual flow between the two places — with the shop serving as lounge in the evening, and the restaurant serving as overflow space and café seating for the shop in the daytime. Also part of the sandwich shop will be a larder stocking various preserves and pantry items. The idea is modeled after St. John Bread and Wine in London.
Once fully realized, the sandwich shop will likely feature some additions to Tartine’s regular bread selection — we know from this recent interview that Robertson’s been experimenting with some innovative gluten-free breads utilizing ancient grains. Also, we gather that the sandwich menu, among other selections, will feature smorrbrod, a kind of open-faced sandwich popular in Northern Europe and Scandinavia.
The restaurant is still undergoing menu changes by Chef Balla, with the Eastern Europe focus already dominant (see a recent example here, and we sampled the goulash for our bone marrow feature, and it was tops). Balla plans to unveil the fully evolved new menu in June.
The name of the new restaurant, with the attached sandwich shop operating in the daytime, is still TBD, but come summer, this place may be the restaurant formerly known as Bar Tartine. The fully complete sandwich operation and bread shop, with the bread oven working 24-7 in back, will come fully online by about Labor Day.