Thursday: Elves and Bernal Neighbors Invited to the 2016 Cortland Holiday Stroll

Holiday Stroll

Tens of thousands of hundreds of many years ago, in the time of our mystical ancestors, a joyous community of elves lived on these Bernal Hill lands. Each year, during the winter equinox, these proto-Bernalese would gather in the meadow we now call Cortlandia to celebrate the arrival of the rains and the season of lights.

Today, the Bernal Business Alliance carries on this hallowed tradition, in the form of the glamorous Cortland Holiday Stroll. The 2016 Stroll happens this Thursday, December 8, from 6 to 9 pm, and all Modern Bernalese are invited partake of the many spectacles.

The shamans from the BBA tell Bernalwood:

7th Annual Bernal Heights Holiday Stroll, Thursday, December 8th, 2016

Join your neighborhood in supporting small businesses for Bernal Height’s 7th Annual Holiday Stroll, this Thursday night, December 8, from 6:00 – 9:00 pm on fabulous Cortland Avenue.

Your favorite local stores are extending their hours for family fun and holiday shopping. Many shops are offering discounts, music, tasty treats and beverages to make your evening even sweeter.

Come support your community and don’t forget to donate a new, unwrapped toy or monetary contribution to our Bernal Heights Neighborhood Center Toy Drive at 515 Cortland Avenue.

Thanks everyone, see you Thursday, rain or snow, from your friends at the Bernal Business Alliance.

12 Small Things, 513 Cortland – In addition to supporting fair trade artisans, we will be collecting spare change for UNICEF and donating 10% of our sales to victims of the Ghost Ship fire in Oakland.

Arts of Balance, 406 Cortland – Come on in for chai tea!

Bernal Beast, 509 Cortland – Toys and treats will be 20% off and will be serving Chocolate Cake!

Bernal Homeopathy, 406 Cortland – Limited number of homeopathic cold & flu remedy kits for sale $40

East West Bernal, 406 Cortland – We will be serving chai and offering 15 percent off gift cards.

Epicurean Trader, 401 Cortland – We will be having a free Wine Tasting from 6-8pm.

Good Life Grocery, 448 Cortland – We will have hot apple cider and several samplings inside the store from various suppliers. And just out that day, we will have our 2017 calendars to give out with the wonderful pictures of Bernal Heights and Potrero Hill from local photographers.

Healthy Spirits, 249 Cortland – We will be sampling our famous house-made hummus, hosting a wine tasting and have lots of fun freebies!

Heartfelt &, 409 Cortland – Brian Belknap the Cajun One Man Band will be playing refreshments will be served!

Inclusions Gallery, 627 Cortland – Celebrating our 9th year with our annual Retrospective show, featuring the work of 14 local artists. Live music with jazz duo Gary Zellerbach & Carl Herder and lots of holiday cheer!

Little Bee Baking, 521 Cortland – Surprise!

Paulie’s Pickling, 331 Cortland – Surprise!

Pinhole Coffee, 231 Cortland – There will be Japanese Curry by Chef Michael Black, Jewelry by Oakland Based jeweler Holly Bobisuthi and crocheted goods by Pacifica based artist Samantha Baron. Our coffee bar will be open and we will be sampling peppermint hot chocolate! Also Mitsuko Siegrist of Tsuchikara Pottery will be selling her wares (she is the ceramicist behind all our cups and plates).

Recycled Glassworks, 231 Cortland, I’m also going to be at Pinhole for the stroll

Sandy Owens Massage & Healing, Gift certificates, discounts and other surprises!

State Farm Insurance, 399 Cortland – Serving hot apple cider and holiday cookies

Succulence, 402 Cortland – 15% discount on all store inventory, plus snacks and beverages, with music by JD Limelight.


New Pinball Center Coming to Cortland Avenue


A few neighbors have written Bernalwood about the alcoholic beverage permit notice posted in the window at 1000 Cortland Avenue (at Folsom), at the former Cutting Edge Salon space. The notice says the space is slated to become the Skillshot Pinball and Bar. Pinball has been enjoying an enthusiast renaissance in recent years, so Bernalwood reached out to the Skillshot team to learn more about their plans.

Turns out, Skillshot is the brainchild of Bernal Neighbors Christian and Elisabeth, who live on Bocana. They tell Bernalwood:

Yes, we’re opening a pinball arcade in Bernal Heights at the old Cutting Edge Salon location at 1000 Cortland at Folsom. It’ll be called Skillshot Pinball and Bar. It’s been a dream of mine and my wife’s for a few years and we’re finally making it happen in our own neighborhood!

It’ll be a family-oriented spot with no age restrictions, though we will also be selling beer and snacks (gotta make the rent somehow!) We’re just getting started with our architect now, but the plan is for pretty bold and bright colors for a playful feel to appeal to kids. At night, with some magic by way of lighting, it’ll transform into a hip little gem to bring a date or challenge friends for high scores. We’re planning on selling craft beer from neighbors Bare Bottle and Blue Oak Brewing, and will have others on hand through crafty distributors.

We have a temporary website up for the moment if you’re interested in finding out more about the project: There you can see some of our promotions and get a taste for our style (Kid’s Happy Hour!, birthday party rentals, league nights, etc…)

As we tell more friends in the neighborhood we get more encouragement. We had no idea so many people were into pinball. And kids, too. We’re even planning on stocking juice/milk boxes and baby food based on feedback.

We project that we’ll open in about 6 or 7 months.

Fingers crossed.

Over Halloween, Neighbors Christian and Elisabeth set up a pinball machine in their Bocana garage, and many people stopped by to play. Consider this a preview of coming attractions:


PHOTOS: San Francisco pinball game, photographed at the Pacific Pinball Museum in Alameda by Telstar Logistics. Dinosaur playing pinball on Bocana, courtesy of Neighbor Christian.

Bernal Monsters of All Ages Welcome on Cortland for Halloween


Neighbor Darcy from the fabulous Heartfelt store invites all Bernalese and Junior Bernalese to come stroll and be costumed  for Halloween on Cortland Avenue, this Monday, October 31.

Neighbor Darcy says:

Halloween seems extra special on Cortland this year, because Fiesta on the Hill is taking a break to regroup.

Halloween is a traditional night for all of us in the neighborhood to get together and show off our creative side, or just put on a hat or mask and collect a few sweets. Trick or treating for the wee ones begins around 5 o’clock.

Please advise your kids:

  • Cortland Avenue is NOT closed. Do not cross in the middle of the block. Please use crosswalks.
  • Trick or treat with a group. Kids often go to Heartfelt if they are lost and we call their folks.
  • We have asked for extra SFPD officers that night from Ingleside.
  • Remain on well-lit streets and only go up to homes with outdoor lights on.
  • Have fun!

PS: As you stroll on Monday, please share photos of your favorite costumes with us! Send them to bernalwood *at* Thanks!

PHOTO: Goldilocks and the 3 Bears on Cortland Ave, 2013

Pinkie’s Bakery on Cortland Shutting Down This Week


Over the weekend, several Bernal neighbors contacted Bernalwood to share the sad news that Pinkie’s Bakery at 833 Cortland will shutter at the end of this week. The Cortland closure comes shortly after the September announcement that Pinkie’s was closing its original SoMa store. Pinkie’s on Cortland opened just a year ago, after taking over the former Sandbox Bakery space.

Neighbor Julie visited Pinkie’s on Cortland on Saturday, and she reported:

I don’t have many details. I went in this morning to see if they had English muffins, and the two young women behind the counter said they were sold out— and, by the way, this was the last week to buy them because Pinkie’s was shutting its doors on Friday.

I said, “You mean the SOMA location, right?” and they said “No, this one too. We just found out yesterday.”

Neighbor Joshua heard the same:

While at Pinkie’s this morning for my Saturday doughnut, I was told by the staff that they will be closing. Their last day will be on Friday.  […]  I think it’s unfortunate. They do a killer doughnut these days and my dogs go crazy for their home made dog treats.

Awww. Bernalwood reached out to Pinkie’s proprietor Cheryl Storms to see if the reports were true. Cheryl replied:

Yes it’s true. Our Folsom location and our sister restaurant Citizen’s Band shut down last month… Basically it is taking Pinkie’s on Cortland down with it. That’s pretty much all I can say about the details.

It’s pretty devastating; the Bernal bakery was what I always wanted, the quintessential cute neighborhood spot with great customers and neighbors. We were pretty busy and with our booming wholesale pastry and bread business, it was actually profitable. It’s a total bummer that our failure with the Folsom location is so deep that it is affecting the Bernal bakery so much that we can no longer stay in business. The hardest thing is letting go of the employees. Many of them have been with me for years and have always been loyal and like family to me. I hate letting them down.

Personally, I will be working part-time as a pastry chef consultant while I figure things out and spend more time with my baby daughter.

Bernal was really good to me and I will miss the neighborhood and the bakery and all of our regulars, (some inherited from Sandbox and some newbies) especially all my fellow moms who I liked to chat with when I was at the bakery counter. There is such a great family community in Bernal Heights and I feel lucky to have been invited into that community when I took over Sandbox. Everyone has been so supportive and amazing.

Friday is our last day of business. I hope the next tenant at 833 Cortland is awesome, and keeps the neighborhood well-fed and caffeinated.

PHOTO: Pinkie’s Bakery last weekend, by Neighbor Julie

Sunday: Grand Opening Party for New 12 Small Things Store on Cortland


A new business is moving into the former Gifts on the Hill space at 513 Cortland. This Sunday, October 9, Bernal Neighbor Laurie Kanes will hold a grand opening celebration for 12 Small Things, her new store and showroom for artisanal crafts from around the world. Neighbor Laurie tells Bernalwood:

I’m the new tenant for the former thrift shop space at 513 Cortland that is next to the Bernal Heights Neighborhood Center.

My husband and I moved to the neighborhood in 1989, and we’ve raised our two daughters here. After 30 years working in-house for corporate retailer’s creative departments, I started to showcase handmade products from artisans in need of support around the world.

Working out of my home, I expanded the business to include wholesale representation for these groups at gift trade shows for retailers. I was outgrowing my living room office and also needed a showroom when the BHNC space became available. They were looking for a small business they felt would work well in the neighborhood and had some non-profit or social responsibility connections.

I feel very grateful to be in this new space and part of the Cortland corridor, where I will be selling my products in the showroom/store. As a member of the community and the Bernal Business Alliance, I already have a strong connection to the neighborhood, but getting a chance to say hi to everyone while I’ve been renovating the place has been very welcoming and encouraging.

I am having an opening party this Sunday, October 9th, from 3:00 – 6:00 at 513 Cortland with music and light refreshments and would like to invite you and your readers to stop by and say hi.

Can’t promise that everything will be up and running smoothly right away, but hopefully I’ll have some time here to figure out the details along the way.

Many thanks!


Anda Piroshki Closing This Weekend After Kitchen Rent Increase


Big bummer: After learning about a big commercial kitchen rent increase, Anda Piroshki, the tasty purveyor of Russian food at 331 Cortland, will be closing permanently after this Sunday, August 28.

Anda Piroshki as has thrived since founder Anna Tveliva first opened in 331 Cortland during 2011, and over the years the business grew to include a second outpost on Haight Street. Along the way, Anna herself became a familiar fixture in the Bernal community, as well as a US citizen.

In a message for Bernalwood readers, Anna writes:

Dear Bernal friends,

I need to share with you a sad news. Anda Piroshki’s commercial kitchen lease is up, and the new offer we got is almost 3 times higher. Unfortunately it is killing the business.

Considering the short notice I was given (I have to leave the kitchen by 9/1) and some family issues I am currently dealing with, I made a hard decision to close the business at the end of this month.

I dearly love Bernal, our customers, our landlady Debra at 331, folks from Paulie’s Pickling and Anusha from Mae Krua. Going to miss all very much. I am so grateful to be able to serve Bernal with my motherland food all these years and get so many fans!

Our doors will be open till 8/28. Please stop by to get your last Anda Piroshki fix and say goodbye 😦

Sad. Heartbroken. Truly yours,

Anna Tveliva

She also made this video:

Sigh. Truth be told, it’s hard to imagine a bigger fan of Anda Piroshki than Bernalwood’s own Cub Reporter, who insists we stop by Anda Piroshki every time we visit Cortland Avenue together. Literally: Every time.

As a parent, I’ve been happy to indulge the Cub Reporter’s piroshki obsession, not just because Anda’s food is delicious, but because I like to think my kid’s love of Anda Piroshki was hardwired into her DNA by her great-grandfather, an immigrant from Russia who died two decades before she was born. Savoring one of Anna Tveliva’s piroshkis may be his way of speaking to Bernalwood’s Cub Reporter through the generations.

Anyway, Bernalwood’s Cub Reporter was really sad to hear Anda Piroshki is closing, so  we stopped by 331 Cortland last weekend to load up while we still can.  This morning, the Cub Reporter asked me to put an Anda Piroshki in her lunchbox. So while all the other kids eat peanut butter and jelly or grilled cheese in the cafeteria today, Bernalwood’s Cub Reporter will be excited to dive into this:


Thank you for all the delicious memories, Anna, and best of luck.

PHOTO: Top, Anna Tveliva at 331 Cortland for Halloween, 2011. Courtesy of Anda Piroshki.


Nutes Noodles Seeking Permanent Place at 903 Cortland


Pastafarians and multicultural noodle-freaks, rejoice! Nute’s Noodles, the Asian-infused  noodle soup and ramen restaurant that has long been doing pop-ups inside the space at 903 Cortland, now plans to become a permanent restaurant at (you guessed it) 903 Cortland.

Sarah Fritsche from Inside Scoop got the inside scoop:

Inside Scoop reached out to [chef Nute] Chulasuwan, who confirmed that she is indeed in the process of buying the Bernal Heights space from [former Sandbox Bakery owner Mutsumi] Takehara. (Also listed on the ABC license are partners Makiko Nakagawara and Supreeya Pongkasem.)

Chulasuwan says that the new incarnation of the space will be a continuation of her popular noodle pop-ups, which currently run four nights a week. For more details on what to expect from the forthcoming restaurant, check out Chulasuwan’s menu, which feature Thai noodle dishes, including a promising version of Northern Thai coconut curry noodle soup called Khao Soi, as well as Japanese-inspired ramen.

Chulasuwan says that the transfer will take a couple of months, but she hopes to open the restaurant by September.

IMAGE: 903 Cortland by Telstar Logistics