Perhaps the Ugliest Spot in All of Bernal Heights

Lost LandscapeWe all know that Bernal Heights is a neighborhood of glamor and grandeur, and beautiful views spied from Bernal’s many hilltops are so pervasive that they’re almost commonplace.

But the vistas aren’t always so grand, and I’d like to propose that this perspective, looking south from Bernal’s east slope, may well be the ugliest spot in the entire Dominion of Bernalwood.

In fact, it’s so grim, that as soon as I saw it, I found my self flashing-back to that stoic Native American guy with the tear rolling down his cheek:

PHOTO: Telstar Logistics

Coming Soon? The Return of the Palace Family Steak House

Palace Steakhouse Redux
Though from the outside it looks pretty much the same as it has since it closed in 2009, there’s lots happening behind the sheets of brown paper that cover the windows of the venerable Palace Steak House at the corner of Mission and Cesar Chavez. Four decades worth of accumulated kitch and grunge have been removed, and based on these exclusive photographs captured by the Bernalwood Spybot, it seems the interior of the Palace Steak House has been throughly remodeled to look retro-shabby-chic.

Palace Steakhouse Redux

Palace Steakhouse Redux

Meanwhile, the big white sign outside still looks worn and weathered, but astute observers will notice that all the tags and handbills have been neatly painted over.

Palace Steakhouse Redux

Yes, the Palace Family Steak House is poised for rebirth as… The Palace Family Steak House. It seems the new owners seek to maintain the spirit of the classic original, which served tasty iceberg-lettuce salads and Sizzler-style steaks at prices that were easy on the pocket. I ate there twice, and both times I felt like I’d gotten a fair value for my money. The place had its fans, including a band called (… wait for it…) Palace Family Steak House. They even created a hipster “Palace Family Steak House” theme song. Listen:

The look of the remodel suggests that the new Palace Steak House is poised to continue this quasi-earnest tradition… somehow. Bernalwood hasn’t been able to contact any of the folks involved with the new Palace Steak House — we tried stopping by a few times, but the gates were closed. And we haven’t seen a menu. But rumors are flying around the street. One of our sources heard from a guy who heard from someone who knows someone connected with the project that the Palace Family Steak House may reopen as soon as next week. We’ll see…

So practice singing that theme song, watch the space, and if you know any more details, feel free to share them with us here.

PHOTOS: Telstar Logistics

Why It’s Wise to Report Crime (Even If The Cops Don’t Come)

Police Telephone

In response to last week’s Crime Summary post, Reader Bethany posted this comment:

My car was broken into on Cortland and Eugenia (including a smashed window) a few months ago. Even though I filed a police report, I received no follow up.

Ack. So sorry. But this raises a super-important issue. During several conversations I’ve had over the last few months with members of the SFPD, the officers have emphasized one point over and over again: Whenever you are the victim of a minor crime or witness a public nuisance, you should report it by calling the non-emergency line at 415-553-0123.

That doesn’t mean the SFPD will send someone out to investigate every time. But given the prevalence of data-driven crimefighting and resource-allocation techniques in contemporary policework, it’s crucial to report any and all incidents when (and where) they occur so that the SFPD can monitor crime trends and take steps to respond to them.

Admittedly, the lack of immediate action is deeply unsatisfying if your window just got smashed or your succulents were just ripped from your front yard. However, that’s the only way to ensure that the police will take steps to prevent such crimes in the future — whether that means increasing patrols, sending out decoys, releasing the bloodhounds, or whetever. Because if you don’t report the crime, as far as the SFPD is concerned, it never happened at all — and nothing good comes from that.

So add these numbers to your contact list:

SFPD Non-Emergency Dispatch: 415-553-0123

SFPD Emergency Dispatch from your mobile phone*: 415-553-8090

* 911 calls from mobile phones are automatically routed to the California Highway Patrol, rather than the SFPD, which can delay emergency response. That’s why it’s important to have this number in your mobile contact list.

PHOTO: Telstar Logistics

Foodie Entrepreneur Wanted for Glamorous New Space on Cortland

For Lease

I ran into the owner of the newly-renovated property at 420 Cortland last week. The joint is freshly spiffed-up and the For Lease sign is up, and the owner told me he’d love to find a veteran restauranteur or established local chef to hang a shingle on this prime piece of Cortland real estate, which sits smack between the Good Life Market and the Liberty Cafe. (The latter is for sale, if you recall.) Here’s the interior view:

420 Cortland


Here’s the property listing:

Just completed remodel of historic building into mixed use (two commercial units and one residential unit). Historic facade has been preserved with the rest of the property entirely rebuilt. You have to see it to understand the tremendous upside of locating your business at 420 Cortland. The property is located on Cortland’s anchor block/side of the street in terms of foot traffic, etc. The primary front retail unit is accessible directly from Cortland and the Courtyard Unit is accessible through the alley on the right side of the property. This is the only commercial property on all of Cortland that has a front patio (finished in beautiful slate–see pics) as a part of the property creating an extremely desirable space that in the hands of the right tenant could be become the anchor commercial space in all of Bernal.

Note that last point: 420 Cortland does indeed have a new front patio which has ample potential to become the most glamorous brunching spot in all of Bernal Heights for seeing and being seen.

Interested? Dial the number on your screen.

PHOTOS: Telstar Logistics

Then and Now: Peralta Overlook, 1982 vs. 2011

Bernal  Hights, San Francisco

When we geek-out on then-and-now photos here in Bernalwood, we usually end up marveling at how dramatically the neighborhood has changed in such a relatively short span of time. But here’s one view that’s hardly changed at all: Peralta just off Powahattan, looking south across Cortland.

The image at the top is from 1982, and it was shared via the Bernalwood Flickr group courtesy of photographer Dave Glass and his deeeeeep archives. I went out to recreate the shot last weekend, and amazingly, it almost looks the same. Someone has updated the collection of 30 year-old cars parked there, and the billboard facing 101 now promotes Apple’s iPad, but this part of the ‘Wood (so far) seems impervious to the passage of time:

Powahattan Then and Now

PHOTOS: Top, Dave Glass. Bottom, Telstar Logistics

Surprise! While We Slept, The Sun Rose In the East

Sunrise from Bernalwood 4

Reader Julie took this wonderful sunrise photo from atop the hill last Friday.

It looks just like a sunset, but — check it out! — it’s happening over the Bay Bridge, instead of Sutro Tower. How weird! Indeed, if you are a sleep enthusiast like me, you may be shocked (shocked!) to learn that when a sunrise happens, it happens to the east. Who knew??

Since I have no intention to reproduce this experiment by waking up early myself, Julie’s fab photo provides all the evidence I need that a) the sun really does rise to the east and b) sunrise can be spectacular.

PHOTO: Reader Julie

Your Bernal Crime Summary: Car Break-Ins, iPhone Thefts, and Succulent Bandits Still Suck

Broken Window

Bernalwood’s intrepid volunteer scribe on the Police Beat, Reader Sarah, attended the SFPD’s Ingleside Station Community Meeting on Tuesday night July 19 — while you were (hopefully) having dinner with your friends and loved ones. Here’s her excellent summary:

Lt. Henry Parra filled in for the captain, who was traveling. He didn’t give out many statistics but focused on a few bigger-picture items:

– Street robberies are still the #1 problem in the district – especially people not paying attention when walking to/from BART and MUNI. He again reminded everyone NOT to listen to music or check your smartphone while in these areas.

– The #2 problem is car break-ins. The most-stolen items are GPS systems, and people inadvertently advertise that they have them in the car when they leave the holder or suction cup in the car. So take all of that stuff out. Laptops are the second-most-stolen item, often from backpacks that are left in cars. Other oft-stolen items that people leave visible in their cars are cameras, purses, and tools.

– Residential burglaries are not as high as in other districts. When they do occur, it is often because someone left a window open. Dog doors are also common entry points.

– He encouraged all iPhone users to get the MobileMe app, which continues to help police find stolen iPhones, though thieves are learning ways to defeat this app.

I asked about the Holly Courts shootings, and he did not know much new information on the investigation, but he said that the unit that was responsible for the party was supposed to have one person living in it but effectively had had six.

I also asked about the thefts of succulents and other plants, and he mentioned the arrest that had been made in Sunnyside, but he didn’t have much other information.

One burglary-prevention tidbit that came up was that employees of utility companies should have a tag with their name on it, except for meter readers, who are permitted to dress differently. But anyone trying to access your home should have a tag.

Ailed from the BHNC asked about the ShotSpotter and whether Holly Courts could get one. Lt. Parra said they are expensive and the technology is not infallible. The process for getting one is to petition the Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice, which will then make a recommendation to the Police Commission. The final decision is made, he believes, by the Police Commission (ie, not the Supervisors). Alemany apparently has a ShotSpotter.

Lt. Parra didn’t have many details but said that there WOULD be a new police recruit class at the Academy sometime soon (this was thought to be unlikely as of the last meeting), which is good news since SFPD has many looming retirements.

Finally, Tuesday, August 2, is National Night Out. SFPD and the Community Police Advisory Board will be holding a FREE barbecue from 5:30-8:00pm at Crocker Amazon Park’s Bocce Ball Court and Rec Center (Moscow & Italy Streets, parking available). There will be safety information, an SFPD motorcycle demo, and a K-9 demo. Mayor Ed Lee and SFPD Chief Greg Suhr will be in attendance, as will several Supervisors, Captain Mahoney from Ingleside, and someone from Parks/Rec whose name I did not catch. For more information, contact Ingleside at 404-4000 or Steven Currier at 415-587-9150.

Thank you so so SO much, Reader Sarah!

PHOTO: Car window smashed recently on Shotwell near Precita, by Telstar Logistics