I Got BAKE in San Francisco

The Japanese cheese tart purveyor opens its first U.S. location in the Westfield to huge lines.

We tease obsessive fans for waiting in line for hours for commonly available foodstuffs, but this might be something different.

BAKE Cheese Tart opens its first U.S. location today at noon in the cellar level of Westfield Centre, an otherwise mall that really needs a big hit these days. The shopping center opens at 10 a.m., and there was already a crowd of at least 75 people snaking between stanchions by 10:30, waiting for cheese tarts. (The first people in line said they were at the mall doors at 9:30 a.m., then sprinted downstairs — which means they’ll be waiting two-and-a-half hours in all.)

What they’re waiting for is worth it: The famed Japanese artisanal dessert is nothing if not buttery and luscious. Made from three different cheese that use milk sourced from cows on the island of Hokkaido, the light, creamy filling sits in a tart that’s baked once beforehand and then again after the cheese mousse is added.

The result is slightly tart, with a whipped texture that changes with the temperature. (BAKE recommends refrigerating it if you want it to approximate an American-style cheesecake.) For today’s grand opening, they have the original flavor and a limited-edition chocolate cheesecake, with special one-offs like honey lemon entering the rotation in the near future. At $3.50 each or six for $21, expect these cheese tarts to sell out very quickly today — and most days hereafter.

BAKE, inside the Westfield Centre, 845 Market St., cellar level, cheesetart.com/en

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