Midnite Bagel adds to San Francisco’s ‘bagel explosion’ with new Inner Sunset shop

Midnite Bagel's new brick-and-mortar offers sourdough bagels to our sourdough-loving city.

Midnite Bagel's new brick-and-mortar offers sourdough bagels to our sourdough-loving city.

Nico Madrigal-Yankowski/SFGATE

Yesterday was opening day for the brick-and-mortar of Midnite Bagel, at 646 Irving St., from Tartine vet Nick Beitcher — and of all the bagel pop-ups over the past few years, his bagels might be the most San Francisco yet.

“There’s a bagel explosion happening in the Bay Area right now,” said Dan Wallner, a San Francisco resident. “I’ve had Boichik over in the East Bay and I’m happy to have something over here on my side of town.”

Wallner was waiting for his friends to arrive and, although he isn’t a bagel fanatic, his former boss, from New York City, always complained about the lack of bagels in the Bay Area.

The bagels at Midnite Bagel aren’t very New York-style, though, and that’s OK. 

“We’re making bagels that feel right for San Francisco,” Beitcher said in a video on his Kickstarter campaign website.

Coming up as a bread baker at Tartine, one of the most famous bread bakeries in the world, Beitcher learned the importance of quality whole wheat that goes through the stone-milling process to produce high-caliber flour. Then, it’s slowly fermented with sourdough starter to create a bagel more reminiscent of a Tartine loaf than a New York bagel. 

“I thought a better use of my experience was to try and give San Francisco a bagel that fit into that scene,” Beitcher told the San Francisco Examiner in 2021. “I feel like sourdough bagels aren’t too much of a stretch.”

Fans of the Midnite brand certainly showed up to support the new brick-and-mortar after four years as a pop-up. There was a long line before the shop even opened at 8 a.m. 

“People were lined up all the way down to Crossroads Trading [a vintage and secondhand clothes store],” said Leesh Mummey, general manager at Midnite Bagel. “It’s our opening day, but everyone was so calm and patient.”

The grand opening wasn’t without hiccups, though. Around 11 a.m., the POS systems, which are connected to the store’s Wi-Fi, lost connection and customers paying with credit cards had to wait until the connection returned.

“It was going too smoothly,” Mummey laughed.

Inside Midnite Bagel's new brick-and-mortar at 646 Irving St.

Inside Midnite Bagel's new brick-and-mortar at 646 Irving St.

Nico Madrigal-Yankowski/SFGATE

As I walked inside, the front counter neatly displayed the different bagels, breads and pastries on a long, wooden cutting board. To the left of the cashier are huge baskets filled with the different bagels so the cashiers can easily grab them and bag them. Menu options, which are listed on an old-school, changeable letter board, and a rack of pre-ordered bulk bagel orders both adorn the right side of the shop. The bagels themselves are dense but with a strong sour flavor, like our city is known for. It was almost like a workout to chew the boiled beauties — my jaw was worn out from chewing. But like any good workout, the post-exercise high is worth the effort.

In a city that is known for sourdough bread, Midnite Bagel is like taking a bite of San Francisco in bagel form.

Midnite Bagel at 646 Irving St. is open Wednesday through Sunday from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.