We, the Citizens of Bernalwood, are fortunate to live in a land of tasty food plentitude. Yet amid our regular updates on all the deliciousness at our doorsteps, let’s take a moment to celebrate one of Bernal’s most esteemed and old skool eateries, Blue Plate on Mission at Valencia.
Blue Plate was delicious and cozy and local before delicious and cozy and local were cool. The restaurant is marking its 15th anniversary this year, with a series of dinner events scheduled for this week. (More on that in a moment.)
In an interview with Zagat (!!!) Blue Plate co-owner Jeff Trenam provides a capsule history of the restaurant’s run:
Zagat: Blue Plate has defied all logic about the restaurant industry to be open for 15 years – what’s the secret?
Jeff Trenam: I suppose it is a bit illogical to stay in the restaurant biz for 15 years, but when you enjoy your work and the people you work with, the time flies. [Co-owner Cory Obenour] and I have a relationship that is a little yin-yang, or maybe we are both just real yang. Whatever you want to call it, we help each other keep things in perspective. Essentially, we are having a dinner party every night which is supposed to be fun and nourishing, right? Throwing pans and screaming at people doesn’t sound very fun or nourishing or interesting. We try to give everyone a sense of ownership, employees and guests alike, and then have fun with them. Whether it’s the group visiting from Norway that we may never see again, our regulars, our farmers, delivery guys, wine reps or anyone of the great people that work with us, I suppose the secret is we really like the people.
Have there been any hard times or slumps when you wanted to just give up and close?
We have had our share of knocks but for the most part we have been very fortunate. We have a loyal group of supporters that have made tough times much easier to bear. We have weathered all of the tech bubble bursts without even noticing much of a difference. Of course, we are a neighborhood joint and not so trendy, so that helps. We haven’t been showered with riches from the bubble times and we haven’t been wrung out when they burst. Steady Eddy: that is more like us. For sure there have been times when I have wondered if the city really wants full service, independent dinner houses like us to flourish. We seem to bear the brunt of new taxes, labor laws and political crusades while large companies get tax breaks and incentives to move here. But it actually doesn’t matter. We are here and everyone needs a comfortable place to eat with friends.
Mission accomplished! Blue Plate remains a true neighborhood treasure.
Jeff Trenam reached out to us to invite all Citizens of Bernalwood to join Blue Plate’s 15th Birthday celebration this week. He says there will be feature flights from winemakers, along with special food pairings, and the complete details are below:
Celebrate 15 Years at Blue Plate
Bernal Heights Pioneer Blue Plate Celebrates Their 15th Birthday with a Series of Wine Dinners in May
WHO: Blue Plate, the seminal Bernal Heights neighborhood gem co-owned by Cory Obenour and Jeff Trenam.
Blue Plate offers a seasonal menu of New American cuisine and evolved comfort food by Chef de Cuisine, Sean Thomas. Intimate dining rooms inside a cozy San Francisco Victorian, a robust and eclectic wine list, and a secret garden to drink and snack, have made it a favorite of the Bernal Heights neighborhood.
WHAT: Come celebrate Blue Plate’s 15th anniversary by clinking crystal with celebrated wine makers from Palmina Wines, Sean Thackery Wines, and Skylark. Each night Blue Plate will exclusively feature one wine maker who will be on site to mingle and talk with guests. Chef de Cuisine, Sean Thomas will create special menus featuring new dishes and will bring back landmark hits from the past to showcase the wines.
Wine flights will cost $15 each night and will include five glasses of wine. Menu items will be listed a la carte.
Reservations available at www.blueplatesf.com or call 415-282 6777
WHEN: Thursday, May 1, 2014, 5:30 PM -10 PM Steve and Chrystal Clifton of Palamina Wines
Friday, May 2, 2014, 5:30 PM – 10: 30 PM Sean Thackery of Sean Thackery Wines
Saturday, May 3, 2014, 5:30 PM – 10:30 PM John Lancaster of Skylark
WHERE: 3218 Mission Street (at Valencia) San Francisco, CA 94110
Congrats to Jeff and Cory, thanks for all the yum, and BIG CONGRATULATIONS on 15 delicious years.
PHOTO: Blue Plate’s iconic neon sign by Erik Wilson