But prepared foods are only part of the story. For those who love to cook, Bi-Rite offers beautiful organic produce, some of it grown on the market’s own 5 acres of farmland in Sonoma County, its own honey from rooftop hives, and an impressive selection of wines, beers, and cheese. Five years ago, Mogannam’s pastry chef wife, Anne, opened up Bi-Rite Creamery across the street, selling fabulous ice cream and other desserts. It’s so popular that a red velvet rope has been erected to coral the lines.
Bi-Rite’s slogan is “Creating Community Through Food”; Mogannam’s vision is that people drawn on foot to the market and ice cream store will meet in the street to interact and connect. To further this cause, he has opened a nonprofit in the neighborhood called 18 Reasons that offers classes and tastings. As far as attracting foot traffic, he has been successful. Food photographer Eric Wolfinger, has dubbed this packed stretch of 18th Street, home to the two Bi-Rite operations, the ultra-popular Tartine Bakery, and sibling hot spots Delfina and Pizzeria Delfina, as “The Gastro.”
Although it’s a food snob destination, Bi-Rite still aims to cater to the daily needs of its neighbors. Beyond the wedges of Morbier and tins of Vadouvan, you’ll find the Coke and Cheerios.