Years before we moved to San Francisco, Jole and I discovered Fred's Coffee Shop in Sausalito on the way to Napa for an anniversary trip. It was a magical start to our vacation. We broke bread and chatted with the other folks at our communal table, and of course the food was amazing. It was the perfect start for a day of wine tasting.
When we moved to the West Coast we went to Fred's a few more times as a treat, and my mind blown to learn that Fred's has a sister restaurant in the city—Sweet Maple in Pacific Heights (the same folks also run the tiny and delicious Taylor Street Cafe in the Tenderloin). Anyway, Sweet Maple may not have the communal vibe we found in Sausalito, but the food is just as good and much closer to home.
They have a full menu, but breakfast is the move. Sweet Maple's brunch attracts a crowd for good reason, but the line moves pretty quickly and they only seat complete parties so you have a good chance of jumping ahead of folks waiting on their hungover friends. There's a self-serve coffee station and plenty of seating outside to make the wait a breeze and the people watching is a great distraction.
Our wait to eat was pretty short (20 minutes or so) on a recent Saturday. Once we sat down the service was helpful and ultra fast. I got my usual, the super thin Swedish pancakes with fruit and a sprinkle of powdered sugar. Sweet Maple also works wonders with french toast, so Jole had the Grand Marnier version with an upgraded side of Jack Daniels bacon syrup (which contains bacon and coffee. I know, I know :) He went all the way there and added a side of Dixie Bacon, which is battered, fried, and served with its own syrup.
In high school I had a friend that always fried his bacon and for the life of me I could not figure out why or bring myself to eat it, but I went for a piece of the Dixie bacon and all was made clear. Its basically panko crusted bacon! And that is amazing. I don't need it again anytime soon, but it was a treat. Sweet Maple has a thing for bacon, and if you're a bacon fan and you haven't been here yet then it's time! As the creators of Millionaire's Bacon (check out the video below to see what that's all about) this place is a pork lover's dream (although vegetarian and vegan options are plentiful). Every staff person I saw was wearing a shirt proudly proclaiming "The Home of Millionaires Bacon." But when you appear on show called "United States of Bacon," you've got to represent, right?
MAMA SAYS: Go to Sweet Maple when you aren't in a rush and want a kicked-up breakfast. Earlier arrivals mean shorter waits, but the space is comfortable enough for kids and grown-ups to hang out a while in exchange for a great meal!
2101 Sutter (at Steiner)
San Francisco, CA
Stroller Friendly? Yes
High Chairs? Yes
Changing Tables? Yes
Takes Reservations? No