Specialty Food Magazine

Winter 2020

Specialty Food Magazine is the leading publication for retailers, manufacturers and foodservice professionals in the specialty food trade. It provides news, trends and business-building insights that help readers keep their businesses competitive.

Issue link: https://www.e-digitaleditions.com/i/1194330

Contents of this Issue


Page 81 of 115

WINTER 2020 79 conventional bagel shops and delis. Projected onto a giant screen (which the owners hope to use for occasional movie nights), the menu offers custom- built bagel sandwiches with traditional Jewish-deli denizens like housemade gravlax, pastrami, and egg salad. The chicken soup comes with bagel- based "matzo" balls, but the nod to New York Jewish delis ends there. The best-selling sandwich is the decidedly non-kosher B.E.C. (with bacon, scrambled eggs, and Cheddar), and the lobster roll confirms that Daily Driver is not your bubbe's bagel shop. Some of the produce—such as kale for salads and apples for strudel—comes from Hicks' and Jablons' Marin County farm. Educated Eaters Famous for high rents and tough regulations, San Francisco might seem like a challenging place to site a bagel bakery and creamery. But the owners viewed the location—in a renovated former factory that once housed the American Can Company—as a plus. "We want people to come and learn how food is made," says Hicks. "At the farm, our gates are open, and we wanted to bring that transparency to urban eaters." In fact, the massive three-block building houses several other small food manufacturers— including Recchiuti Confections and Nana Joe's Granola—as well as a brewpub, a butcher, and other artisans, crafters, and creatives. The landlord envisioned it as a sort of makers' space with synergy between tenants. Daily Driver uses the granola in its quark bowls and pours the brewpub's beers; some of its employees have second jobs with other tenants. The building's history as a manufacturing space made permitting easier, says Hicks. Wood- fired ovens probably would not have been approved otherwise, she says, and the creamery faced few regulations because officials had never dealt with a creamery before. Red Bay Coffee, an Oakland business, roasts a proprietary Daily Driver blend on site. "We were smart about not trying to learn coffee," says Hicks. Such collaborations and partnerships help Hicks and Jablons manage busy lives: Jablons is a prominent surgeon and cancer researcher and Hicks, a clinical psychologist, maintains a part- time practice. Daily Driver's owners say their chewy, hand- formed bagel is not New York style. (Jablons should know; he's from Manhattan.) Nor is it a Montreal- style bagel, despite being wood-oven baked, the Montreal hallmark. Despite some initial mixed reviews for the bagels (everybody's an expert), the proprietors expect to sell a lot of them. The staff currently makes about 1,000 a day but could manage 14,000 in two shifts. The business plan projects 80 percent wholesale revenue, including catering, and 20 percent from retail sales. "We feel like we've created something unique," claims Hicks. "We make the only Bay Area bagel I know that's organic." But even in progressive San Francisco, there is price resistance. "We're having to explain why the bagel is $3.50," acknowledges Hicks, who cites the high cost of organic ingredients—organic yeast is 50 times pricier than conventional—and the full health benefits employees receive. At least one San Francisco restaurant, Che Fico, serves the cultured butter, but at $16 a pound in Daily Driver's retail case, it's likely to remain an occasional splurge for most patrons. As a psychologist, Hicks can't help noticing that when customers reminisce about bagels, it's rarely just about the bagel. It's about trips to grandma's house or Sunday family breakfasts. "They're really talking about the relationship with the people they ate the bagel with," remarks Hicks. "I never know whether I should point that out. I'm trying to think of another food where there's such a strong emotional reaction." —Janet Fletcher "We want people to come and learn how food is made. At the farm, our gates are open, and we wanted to bring that transparency to urban eaters." PHOTOS: FRANKIE FRANKENY

Articles in this issue

Archives of this issue

view archives of Specialty Food Magazine - Winter 2020