Neighbor Eliza’s Red Apron Pizzeria Is Coming Soon to Precita Park


For the last few months, the windows of the former Park Bench Cafe at 3214 Folsom (on the corner with Bessie at the west end of Precita Park) have been papered-over to hide the construction taking place inside. The bold, handmade graphics on the paper say “It Will Happen”  — a message that serves as both a tease for Bernal neighbors and a mantra for the woman who is spearheading the project.

That woman is Neighbor Eliza Laffin of Alabama Street, and when work is complete the storefront will become home to Red Apron Pizza. Neighbor Eliza tells us more about what to expect:

My tag line is: Every neighborhood deserves great pizza.

I’ve always wanted a pizza restaurant in the ‘hood. I’ve spent 20 years dreaming about it. And now I’m going to make it happen!

I want customers to walk in the door and see a kitchen at home. Red Apron Pizzeria is a place where our neighborhood will enjoy great pizza, made with great ingredients, and a place kids will enjoy. It will be warm, welcoming, and family-friendly; approachable, unfussy, and absolutely first-rate.

I want to make Red Apron the best pizzeria in the neighborhood. (Adjacent territories also welcome, of course!)

As a preview of coming attractions, Neighbor Eliza also shared some photos of her food. Here’s a slice of her pizza, with toasted pignoli-basil pesto, sliced yukon gold potato, chèvre, and a little drizzle of extra-virgin olive oil on top:


And for dessert, here are some of her zeppoles:


Yum! A preview of what’ll be on the rest of the menu is right here.

The Gods of Construction and The Myriad Permits are notoriously fickle and angry, but with a little luck Neighbor Eliza hopes to open Red Apron Pizza sometime in January. Please root for her, and join with her to recite the mantra: “It. Will. Happen!

PHOTOS: Top, Telstar Logistics. Food, courtesy of Red Apron Pizza

23 thoughts on “Neighbor Eliza’s Red Apron Pizzeria Is Coming Soon to Precita Park

  1. Pepperoni! If you want more families, add a pepperoni pizza to the menu. We don’t go to Vega anymore because they refuse to add pepperoni as an option for pizza (or at least they didn’t a few years ago). My kids are not fooled w/ salami. Other than that, right on.

  2. What’s going on at the former Bernal Produce Market on Cortland? That project seems like it’s been in limbo forever.

    • Hello Judge,
      I totally understand your frustration. Have you focused your frustration on the people in City Hall, the fire department and Sacramento? I hope you also understand that pouring money into the place with no clear end to the permit process is also not a good idea. I believe the folks before Red Apron tried to do it without permits and it met a bitter end leaving the space empty for years. Empty store fronts are the result the leadership wants right now in CA and SF. If they wanted more businesses faster they would realign resources and streamline permit processes. Ours is an all organic cafe and creamery with mobile organic food trucks from the 1930’s to 1950’s, some would say a good cause, but unfortunately it was ignored and made to wait by the powers that approve such things. Rather than complain and open lawsuits we just patiently waited. Eventually when we started to go to the TV stations to explain reality, things started to happen in Sacramento.

      Do you know that it is a misdemeanor and a hefty fine if you even start a food truck construction process before you have been given a review of your documents first? While some people are heralded for flaunting the permit process and just doing their thing with food carts or trucks with no permit, others follow all the rules, pay the thousands in permit fees, go through the inspections and then launch. This facility serves as a commissary to our organic food truck fleet as well that is just launching at the beginning of 2016. That fleet has been over two years in production as well. Hopefully it will become a bustling food facility soon and folks will enjoy the unique trucks.. Entrepreneurs abhor inefficiencies and yet, it is required to work through these flawed processes to feed the good people of this great city. Like the wonderful people behind Red Apron, we have the feeling and resolve that It Will Happen. But there could be one last permit that we are not aware of that will break us.. At this point it is only the hiring process that will hinder us.. Finding bakers and cooks that can afford $2900 a month in rent is easy right? Where there is a will there is a way. In the meantime we will continue to work for less than minimum wage and live off of the smiles we get from those that appreciate the effort.

      We are sorry that the painters ripped up the awning, it is being recovered with now cloth right before we open. At least the building looks a little better with new paint.

      • michael: your experience sounds like pure, distilled frustration. i sympathize and hope you make it happen.

        may i ask how the fire department has hindered your progress?

  3. Yeah it would be great if the folks at Harvest Hills would start their proposed business at the old Produce Market or give someone else a chance. Having a closed up storefront left in disrepair is a blight on our neighborhood.

    • Well it did take forever to get the CDFA to give us a creamery license, but it has been issued. We continue to move in new equipment and have started the hiring process. Unfortunately getting a milk plant license is close to as hard as opening a nuclear power plant in California… $168 for the permit.. $88,000 in rent waiting for it.. Call it big government losing touch with reality or call it a process problem, officials finally admitted they were stuck in an infinite loop that was not our fault. We just had to keep being nice and waiting.. If you have a voice write to your state representative and ask that the process be simplified. Just like Precita Park Cafe and Red Apron, things that take weeks in Tennessee and Missouri take years here. It is our reality and there is no way to stop it.. Had we given up, it would only have started again for the next person.

  4. Excited for the addition! Bummer it is winter, cause ordering a pizza and walking across the street with a beer for picnic sounds pretty pretty pretty good.

  5. It’s winter, Brian? When did that happen. I hadn’t noticed. 😉

    I think I’ll take my pie to go and I can wave to you from the park!

  6. What am I missing here joining in so late. Precita Park Cafe has terrific pizza, especially their pepperoni. Im happy to have two pizza joints but can’t we get something other than 3 pizza – pasta places on the block now. Hillside (fancy pasta). Precita Park Cafe (Pizza, pasta) Red Apron (Pizza). Charlies???? Might as well make it pizza!

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