A few months ago on this site, I crowned the tiny Richmond District bakery Arsicault as having the best croissant in San Francisco. Back then, on a busy day, there might be three people ahead of you in line.
In the middle of August, none other than Bon Appetit Magazine proclaimed Arsicault as the best new bakery in America! That was great news for the bakery’s business, but bad news for those of us that supported Arsicault since the very beginning…
The line now stretches down the block, typically for about an hour, sorta like Mr. Holmes, Tartine and others have experienced during their 15 minutes of fame.
I had a chance to catch up with the affable owner, Armando Lacayo, on a recent visit, and he seemed a little awestruck by his success. He says the hardest part of the recent influx of new patrons is trying to keep everyone happy. Even with a 4 pastries per person (two of any one kind max) limit, he still sells out of everything daily, usually by 10:00AM., leaving some in the line with nothing. In spite of his success, he remains humble, often going outside to chat with folks in line. When I asked him if he had any plans for expansion, he played it coy, saying “We have to get our act together first”. When I asked him to explain what he meant, he shrugged and said they have to become more efficient. he is looking to hire more bakers as he can’t sustain the hours he’s been putting in. In fact, he’s had to resort to closing on Mondays starting 8/29/16.
The good news is, the product hasn’t suffered too much. The croissants are still the best around, and the chocolate-almond croissants are better than before. The kouign-amann ranks up there with the City’s best (b.Patisserie) as well. Armando did say that due to the demand, he had to cut back on breadth of his offerings, so we are now limited to his most popular 6-8 items.
Good things happen to good people, so congratulations Armando!