After seven months in a tent in front of its brick-and-mortar space on Divisadero, The Mill officially opened its doors last week. By its second hour on opening day, the line was stacked deep and people looked antsy. The new spot from Josey Baker and Jeremy Tooker (Four Barrel) is a combination bakery and café, a welcome marriage of Four Barrel's reliably delicious coffee and Baker's beloved repertoire of baked goods.
The coffee menu echoes that of Four Barrel, and there is a limited toast menu of three options. And they are deceptively simple. One morning brought dark mountain rye with cream cheese, whole wheat with butter and crunchy almond butter, and a slice of country loaf with butter, maple syrup, and powdered sugar. Our whole wheat toast with almond butter was abundantly thick, dressed in rich, grainy almond butter and bolstered by a swipe of cultured salted butter beneath. The bread itself was perfectly toasted, the outside lightly fortified and crisp, soft and hearty in the middle with that subtle, vaguely sour, fermented bite you get from the right proportion of bread starter.
The baked goods look gorgeous, especially the breakfast bar (decked out with figs, almonds, and sunflower seeds), and the hazelnut brownie. You'll find fresh baked whole loaves filling out the bottom of the pastry case, including a country loaf, wonder bread — 100 percent whole white wheat sandwich loaf — whole wheat cranberry walnut, and dark mountain rye. For coffee nerds and enthusiasts, the left wall is lined with a lovely display of coffee-making equipment — Chemexes, aeropresses, Kones, etc. — available for purchase. Jars of almond butter and rustic-looking utensils fill in the rest of the spaces.
"We want to keep things pretty simple and approachable," said Baker, when we caught him amid the morning rush. And it's true, there's nothing intimidating about this place. We're enjoying the simplicity, not feeling overwhelmed by options. You can count on everything you order to be good.
True to its name, The Mill will soon be milling its own flour. There are also plans to add a parklet, a backyard, and three parking spaces out front, one of which one will be dedicated to bikes. Baker assures us that things will evolve, but we'd say this is a pretty solid start.