Two New Japanese Restaurants Planned for Bernal Heights

Teaser sign in the window at 433 Precita

Sugoi! Bernalwood has learned that two new Japanese restaurants are (hopefully) coming to Bernal Heights; one is planned for Mission Street and the other will bring sushi and sashimi to Precita Park.

Let’s start in La Lengua, where the burgeoning Nano Tokyo District around the intersection of Mission and 29th Street is set to grow a little bigger with the addition of RakiRaki at 3282 Mission Street, in the space formerly occupied by Neighbor Tim and Erin’s Ichi Sushi + Ni Bar.

RakiRaki Ramen is a Japanese restaurant with two locations in San Diego. A power-call to RakiRaki’s power-lawyer yesterday confirmed their intention to open a branch here in Bernal.  Their website says:

Rakiraki Ramen & Tsukemen opened its doors in October of 2012 to it’s first location in the heart of Kearny Mesa in San Diego, California. Now with a second location in San Diego’s Little Italy, Rakiraki specializes in serving authentic Japanese cuisine including curry, tsukemen, or dipping noodles, and specialty sushi rolls, but is best known for its great-tasting ramen.

Interesting! The original RakiRaki outlet in San Diego has a four-star rating on the Yelps, where people speak highly of the “tonkotsu black edition” ramen made with fermented garlic oil.

Of course, this means RakiRaki will be located right across the street from the satisfyingly authentic Fumi Curry and the surprisingly impressive Coco’s Ramen, so we may soon have an even more robust Japanese street-food cluster happening on the west side of our Bernal territories. Ganbatte and lucky us.

Meanwhile, at the east end of Precita Park, a “modern Japanese” restaurant hopes to open at 433 Precita, in the space formerly occupied by the organic pet food shop.  A quick call to the proprietor revealed an effort is now underway to convert the retail space for restaurant use, although the restaurant does not plan to have an exhaust hood or grill. Bernalwood is told sushi and sashimi with anchor the menu. A name for the restaurant has not yet been selected.

(Sidebar: Don’t be misled by the fact that the little red lantern shown in the photo at the top of this post says “yakitori.” Absent an exhaust system, the restaurant’s proprietor confirmed they don’t plan to serve Japanese grilled chicken skewers, which is a bot of a shame, because proper, low-key yakitori is very hard to find in San Francisco and Precita Park would be a lovely place for it. Oh well.)

Anyway, sushi would be a great addition to the Precita Park food mix, and even more so because the proposed Red Apron Pizza at the east end of the park is stalled because of an ongoing dispute with the property owner.

Neither the sushi place in Precita Park nor RakiRaki has planned opening dates yet; both establishments were reluctant to set a target given the fickle nature of San Francisco’s labyrinthine bureaucracy and permitting process.



Special thanks for Jessica Park at Hoodline for reporting assistance on this article.

PHOTO: Teaser sign posted in the window of 433 Precita, courtesy of Neighbor Brandon.

17 thoughts on “Two New Japanese Restaurants Planned for Bernal Heights

  1. Got any further information about what’s going on with Red Apron? I couldn’t help but notice as I walked by this weekend that there was a municipal notice posted on the front door, something about it being a blight or nuisance violation. I’ll try to get a picture on my way back home tonight.

    Sadly, the storefront itself still looks just about the same as it did in your article from nearly 18 months ago, only the “It Will Happen” sign has faded quite a bit since then.

      • I mean, it’s not explained THAT much, which is why I asked for “further” information. There’s no shame in just saying “no” if that’s the answer

      • My understanding is that the issues at Red Apron revolve around who’s responsible for what in the build-out. Sad, and sadly not that uncommon, given the astronomical costs involved. Big bummer.

    • If you’ve been around these parts for a while, it’s amazing, why would any small business owner want to start a business in San Francisco? Seems like nothing but headaches at every corner.

  2. Really — I’m not trying to be obnoxious, just informative: “misled,” not “mislead.” Thanks for always keeping the neighborhood informed. Amy


  3. Thanks for the news! Wasn’t there also supposed to be a new brewery at the corner of Bryant and Chavez? Maybe another stalled project.

  4. Seriously, what is with the seeming reluctance of Japanese restaurants really embrace offering real Yakatori?
    There must be something I don’t know, because to me, it seems like a no brainer.

    • I’ve asked.! The answer seems to be economics: Hard to make enough selling individual skewers. If one were to try it, I think it’d have to be a very small shop with basically just a cook and one or two servers (like the have in Japan, basically), but given the $1mm+ cost of opening a new restaurant in San Francisco, that setup doesn’t pencil out.

      • First of all, THANKS for asking.
        I suppose I am not too surprised with your answer, it does make sense for a city that is so expensive to get restaurants up & running.

        But man, think of how well a traditional Japanese Yakitori-ya (焼き鳥屋) would do on say Valencia at 18th (or nearby).

    • Retail failed at that site. A restaurant might succeed if it caters to the neighborhood.

  5. I really hope these restaurants serve decent portions of sushi and sashimi like authentic Japanese restaurants should instead of these half portions of fish restaurants here in SF try to sneak in at still astronomical prices! We sadly stopped going to to Ichi for that very reason. We usually end up making our own after shopping at Nijiya.

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