4686 30th Street, University Heights
A large, retro sign saying “Bakery” recently went up in North Park, the work of Blackmarket Bakery. The new restaurant represents the third installment and first San Diego entry of a small Orange County bakery chain, one that offers breakfast and sandwich options in addition to fresh-baked breads, cakes, cookies, and pastries.
It’s part of the recent restaurant boom at the corner 30th and Adams, which now boasts a French bistro and a ramen bar/specialty coffee shop to go with its gastropubs, craft cocktail den, and tequillaria. Spotting the sign as I approached, I braced myself to walk into what could turn out to be a hipster bakery.
It’s a bit more homey than that. There are subway tiles and economic design, sure. There are also games to play and gourmet snack items on display throughout the shop. There’s a kid- and dog-friendly patio. Most importantly, there’s the bakery counter, featuring all manner of sweet looking treats, including an impressive cookie topped with chunks of toffee.
I showed up in the early afternoon to check out the spot’s sandwich game. They stop serving their bevy of “eggywiches” after 11 a.m., otherwise I’d probably be writing about how much I enjoyed the breakfast sandwiches, even as I made fun of the name.
There was still plenty of bacon left for the lunch menu, though. Aside from an elaborate take on PB&J, all of the sandwiches draw from a common pool of ingredients: bacon, turkey, brie, provolone, pepper jack, shallots, mushrooms, avocados, and roma tomatoes. It’s an efficient way to operate for a bakery shop, where the focus should rightfully be on the bread.
Lemon rosemary, Dutch crunch, brioche, and seeded sourdough were some of the baked breads holding these sandwiches together. My choice was the toasted croissant housing a BLAT, also known as a BLT with avocado.
It’s a simple sandwich, conceptually, but as anyone who ever added bacon at Subway can tell you, sandwich shops generally don’t do it well. I didn’t expect anything so rubbery as that, but neither did I think Blackmarket would totally nail it. But the BLT was loaded with perfectly crisp bacon — not greasy, not burnt, not crumbling, just flavorful and crisp.
The veggie toppings tasted fresh and wholesome, serving mostly as a cooling foil to the rich combination of bacon and croissant. The puffy bread was toasted crisp on the outside yet remained soft, flaky, and buttery inside. I was impressed.
Despite coming from out of town, Blackmarket is clearly striving to be a good fit for this neighborhood, and all signs point to them succeeding. They’ve even embraced a couple of neighboring businesses, featuring a custom blend by Dark Horse Coffee and ice cream cookies made with Mariposa Ice Cream.