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Bi Rite grocers

The Bi Rite store in San Francisco looks like a little unobtrusive grocery store that’s been around for half a century, and yet…

When I walked into this little market on Dividsadero in San Francisco, I was suddenly overcome with the desire to take out my camera and photograph everything. And then I realized that I’d had this exact feeling before, in this exact place, about 7 years ago when I was last in the city by the bay.

Much like Diner (and Marlow & Sons, and Marlow & Daughters, etc etc) Bi-Rite is actually an empire disguised as a little neighborhood market. But what a lovely empire it is.

We entered looking for charcoal, but left with a good deal more (lamb, some cheese, some kind of crazy hybrid plum, blackberries) and then had to head across the street to their creamery to wait in line (what? us? wait in line?) for some delicious ice cream.

cheese at bi rite in San Francisco

The cheese selection rivals that of any high end cheese shop.

The selection is plentiful, without being at all overwhelming. Carefully edited, without getting all Japanese-minimalist on you, if you know what I mean. Clearly, these people have thought everything out to the last detail. They’ve even written a book about shopping, cooking and community creating via food.

fruit at bi rite in San Francisco

Just some of the fruit you can get here. Crazy.

ice cream at bi rite


And then there’s the creamery. There’s a book about that too. These people are so comfortable with themselves that they are actually willing to tell you how to go make your own scrumptious ice cream.

There is always a line out the door of the main sweets shop, but if you’re into soft-serve, you can usually just walk up to the window on the right and partake of the deliciousness without the wait.

If I lived here, I worry that I would do nothing but eat. But maybe that’s not so horrible a fate…

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