There is no telltale sign emblazoned on the bright orange awning on the corner of Geary and Steiner, but let it be known that Jane (the bakery) has moved in.
“I’ve always loved this area,” said owner Amanda Michael, who grew up in San Francisco and sees her mission as offering a yin and yang of healthy and indulgent. Michael opened her first Jane on Fillmore in 2011, followed by a Larkin location in 2014. She was looking to expand her baking empire when the Geary KFC closed and the property went on the market.
The new kid on the block is a full-production bakery, as well as a showcase for pretty pastries and abundant breads. Whereas the layout of Jane’s other locations is narrow and deep, this one goes wide, providing ample display space and giving visitors more than a peak into the production process.
Over two dozen breads are made onsite, including three types of rye, sourdough sandwich, gluten-free quinoa, and a hearty new seed loaf (“Nutty Bird Bread,” as Michael calls it). The option of ordering half and quarter loaves makes it easy to try them all and panders to a guest who can’t make up her mind. Jane also offers a limited menu of simple but sumptuous café fare, including sandwiches, salads, and specialty flat breads.
Then there are the pastries: peanut butter tahini cookies, citrus and cinnamon brioche, sweet and savory croissants, and lemon poppy knots. All lovely to look at, but none so fair as the cardamom lattice bun, a laminated pastry the size of a softball, layered like a croissant, and freshly filled with cardamom-infused pastry cream. You may need to eat it in private.
Beverage offerings include green smoothies and fresh-pressed juices, custom-blend herbal teas, espresso drinks, and new-to-market Jane coffee, an easy-drinking dark roast that makes up for the mistakes of previous diner-style coffees.
“I’m a reverse coffee snob,” Michael says. “I just want my coffee to taste like coffee.”
Limited indoor seating is set up at tiny kiosk tables and a bar along the window. Outdoor benches are in the works, though many customers will likely order to go and take their goodies to Raymond Kimbell Playground, just across the street. As they do, they’ll pass by the KFC bucket, now painted gray and awaiting its destiny as a branded coffee cup, giant muffin, or other beacon of bakery.
JANE the Bakery, 1881 Geary Blvd., 415-658-7971 or itsjane.com