By Larry Sheingold

Imagine his horror if Dr. Robert Atkins, the low carb crusader, saw the loaves on display at Acme Bread Company in the Ferry Building Marketplace on the San Francisco waterfront.

Lining the Acme counter is the royal family of high carb society – a full roster of its nationally-acclaimed artisan bread products.

That means you can get twinkles here.

A punster might say twinkles are the little stars of the store.  I’ll just suggest that the torpedo-shaped twinkle roll – so crusty on the outside and soft in the middle – is the perfect snack for exploring the rest of the Ferry Building shops, or sitting outside by the water and watching the ships go by.

Like everything sold here, twinkles are perfectly fresh. As you stand in line to place your order, you can see the bread-makers kneading and rolling dough and replenishing trays with loaves baked throughout the day in the hearth oven at the back of the shop.

Perhaps that’s why the olive rolls taste like the olives were just sliced and added to the dough minutes before. It’s also why I imagine many loaves originally purchased for a home-cooked meal never reach the dining room table intact.

The set-up is simple. There’s a line. There’s a counter displaying dozens of handmade and freshly baked bread products – from baguettes to rounds to sandwich rolls. Each has a sign listing its price and ingredients.

For example, the pain epi – a chain of snap-off roll segments interconnected to look like a stalk of wheat – is perhaps the perfect melding of organic wheat flour, water, sea salt, yeast and malted barley flour.

Check the Ferry Building website ( You will see that this array of shops and restaurants along the Embarcadero has much to offer – including a fine farmers market on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, the largest of the three. 

If you dine in one of the Ferry Building eateries you are liable to be served Acme bread. But it might be simpler just to go directly to the Acme counter.

And don’t worry that your stop at Acme Bread Company will torment the ghost of Dr. Atkins. He was always a gluten for punishment.

Acme Bread Company is shop #15 at the Ferry Building Market Place at One Ferry Building in San Francisco. Phone number is (415) 288-2978. Web site is

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