Precita Park Pizzeria Plan Comes to an End

3214 Folsom, on Sunday, Oct. 29, 2017. (Photo by Telstar Logistics)

Alas, it’s not happening.

Back in 2015, Bernal Neighbor Eliza Laffin announced plans to open a pizza shop called Red Apron Pizza at the corner of Folsom and Bessie, at the western end of Precita Park.

She knew that opening the shop would be tough. Still, it had been a lifelong dream to open her own pizzeria, so Neighbor Eliza was determined to renovate the space at 3214 Folsom and navigate San Francisco’s labyrinthine permitting process. To symbolize all that, she papered the windows of the storefront with handmade graphics that said, “It Will Happen.”

Yet it wasn’t to be. The renovation effort soon bogged down in negotiations with the property owner about who was responsible for various structural improvements, water damage abatement, and sewage system repairs, with the result that work on Red Apron Pizza was suspended for more than a year.

The “It Will Happen” signs have now been taken down from the windows of 3214 Folsom, and over the weekend Neighbor Eliza shared this update with the Bernal community:

On September 18, 2017, I made a very difficult decision to terminate the lease for Red Apron Pizzeria at 3214 Folsom Street.

We were headed for trial a week prior, but the judge directed us to a mandatory settlement conference. We spent two days in the settlement conference negotiating before agreeing to the terms of our arrangement.

I agonized over this decision.

My heart was set on what was the perfect place for my pizzeria. The bad news is I’ve lost that spot, and it means starting all over again. The good news is that we avoided going to trial.

The even better good news is that the relationship between the landlords and me is over. They did not comprehend what turned out to be myriad hidden issues with their building, which has three residential units in addition to the storefront. […]

My restaurant – while currently a figment of my imagination – remains the same, as Red Apron Pizzeria.

In the meantime, I had a major foot surgery two weeks ago. After recovering from that, I hope to find a leasable restaurant space in my ‘hood.

The sign in the front window is gone. I feel like I let my neighborhood down.. I’m sorry. But please continue to hope. You never know when opportunity comes knocking on the door.

With mixed feelings and perpetual pizza dreams,

Eliza

Eat! Drink! Celebrate! It’s Old Devil Moon’s First Anniversary

This week, the fabulous Old Devil Moon at 3472 Mission (near Cortland) will celebrate its first anniversary. Hooray!  Congrats!

The big first-anniversary bash happens this Saturday, Sept. 23, but Old Devil Moon has a series of events lined up for this week. Co-owner Chris Cohen wants to tell you all about them:

Old Devil Moon is one year-old, and we want to invite our Bernal neighbors  to join the celebration.  We couldn’t do what we do without your support.

We’re having a anniversary event on Saturday, Sept. 23 from noon to 2AM featuring an insane list of rare and special beer. We’re also releasing permanent updated food and cocktail menus to ring in year two.

ODM is rolling out an updated food menu. We’re retaining established hits such as the Fried Gulf Shrimp, Oyster Rockefeller, Fried Chicken, and Roast Beef Po Boys. New dishes include: Fried Pickle Spears made with Paulie’s Pickling ODM pickles; a Louisiana Hot Link Po Boy; a BBQ Beef Sando; a super juicy ODM Cheeseburger made with two ¼ lb patties; & Devil’s Pups, hush puppies topped with powdered sugar, Ghirardelli chocolate, & whipped cream.

We’re also rolling out an updated cocktail menu that keeps old favorites but adds lots of new options including: the Devil’s Daiquiri, a rhum agricole daiquiri with Averna; the Bitter Mai Tai, made with Campari and Jamaican rum; a classic Boulevardier on draft; the Spirit Raiser, our tequila-based take on a Corpse Reviver; The Moon Also Rises, our mezcal-based take on a The Sun Also Rises; plus a few others. Our cocktails will remain in the $8-11 range they’ve always been in.

At the anniversary party we’ll also be grilling 1/4 lb Coney Dogs on the back patio until 4PM (with our newly updated food menu going into effect from 6PM to midnight). Live music will be provided by local bluesman Derek Fairchild starting at 7PM. We’ll have new ODM tees available featuring a ouija board inspired design.

After all that, we’re also doing an Oktoberfest + Sloppy Seconds event from Thursday Sept. 28 through Saturday Sept. 30. The “Sloppy Seconds” refers to the fact that we’ll be tapping all the remaining kegs of awesome beer on tap from our 1 Year Anniversary event, so folks who missed that event will get a second shot at trying a bunch of them (with 20 special kegs on for the anniversary, undoubtedly most will be pouring a few days later). We’ll also be pouring a bunch of German lagers and doing special Bratwurst Po Boys.

PHOTO: Old Devil Moon, courtesy of Brett Walker

Saturday: Taste Guacamole Glory at the 6th Annual Guac-Off Competition!

2015 Guac-Off Champion Elle “Monster Guac” Garcia clutches the Guacamole Glory Trophy

Attention all ye Acolytes of the Avocado: The 6th Annual Guac-Off Guacamole Competition is coming this weekend, and once again it’s happening right here in Bernal Heights.

Yes, that’s right: Guac-Off 2017 happens this Saturday, September 9 beginning a 1 pm at Dr. Rick’s glamorous Farmhouse Mansion, at 3340 Folsom near the top of the hill at Ripley.  That means if you you want to compete, you’d best get on the phone to beg your abuela for her secret recipe. The event is free, but  check out the website for complete details.

Here’s the guac-and-roll pep rally, courtesy of Guacstar Luke:

As this weather has surely reminded you, Indian Summer is here. So that means that it’s time again for the Annual Indian Summer Guac-off!

We’d love for you to join us this Saturday, September 9th, as we’ll once again be at Dr. Rick’s house for our 6th annual celebration of the almighty avocado.

This year promises to be even more fun, as we’ll have 10 different prize categories, a restaurant showcase with guacamoles from some of our favorite restaurants, chips provided by Tacolicious, and of course, an even bigger Guacamole Glory Trophy.

The rules this year are simple: Your our guacamole must use at least 8 avocados, and it must arrive by 2pm. Other than that, let your creativity run wild!

We love having lots of Bernal neighbors show up. As always, the event is completely free, although guests are obviously encouraged to bring guacamole!

Spicy Bites Gets New Owner and New Raves from Bernal Neighbors

This article was written and reported by Nathan Falstreau from Hoodline.

Spicy Bite—the popular Bernal Heights Indian eatery at 3501 Mission (at Cortland) —has a new new owner and a slight name change. Now called Spicy Bites, former Dropbox Tuck Shop chef Tilak Gurung has taken over the helm.

The menu is extensive, with an array of options like paneer bhuna (cheese cubes with cashews, bell peppers, herbs and spices), channa saag (spinach with garbanzo beans in curry sauce), and lamb korma (boneless lamb in a creamy sauce topped with cashews).

Neighbor Laura, who lives down the street from the restaurant, alerted us to the change earlier this month. She said that while Gurung hasn’t made any changes to the menu, he’s revamped the interior.

But how’s the food? She tells Bernalwood:

It’s good!! The samosas have improved dramatically (the dough is better), and he suggested butter chicken for me. My friend is vegetarian so she had chana masala. We both had garlic naan. Everything was delicious!

Others have noticed the change as well.

“Change in ownership and therefore chef. Chef Tilak is on premises, and the food has gone up a few notches in taste for sure!” Todd M. wrote on Yelp.

Gurung also recommends items for guests to try that aren’t on the menu.

“Best Indian food in SF, don’t forget to ask for chaat which is not on the menu and try the butter chicken and biryani!” Ruchi Sanghvi wrote on Facebook.

PHOTO: Dinner at Spicy Bites, by Neighbor Laura

Proposed Pinball Center Finds New Home on Misson Street in Bernal Heights

sfpinball

After all the fuss and cranky backlash, Neighbors Christian and Elizabeth have finally found another location for their proposed pinball spot in Bernal Heights.

As you may recall, Neighbors Christian and Elizabeth are proud denizens of Bocana, and they’d originally planned to open their pinball center at 1000 Cortland,  in the site of a former hair salon on the corner of Folsom. That plan, alas, foundered in the face of opposition from a few nearby residents, leaving the proposed pinball palace in search of a new location.

Happily, they’ve found one: Under the new name Outer Orbit, Neighbors Christian and Elizabeth now plan to set up shop on Mission Street in Bernal Heights, near the intersection of Valencia, in the storefront that’s currently home to Bel, the Belgian restaurant.

Neighbors Christian and Elizabeth tell us:

For all of you who’ve been following the trials and tribulations of us trying to get our little pinball spot off the ground, we are delighted to announce that we’ve found a location and signed a lease! We tried mightily to open a place on Cortland Ave, but we fished through all the prospects and instead found our oasis on Mission Street (where it meets Valencia), so we will still be able to serve the families of Bernal Heights.

We expect to open in early spring after doing some light renovation. Our plan is to have nine machines ranging from vintage (EM, for those in the know) all the way to brand new games, while providing a fun and inviting atmosphere to match the pins.

In the evenings when the kids have settled off to La La Land, we’ll have plenty of beers and wines to keep the evening exciting. And the big reveal: Hawaiian-inspired eats! I grew up in Hawaii and have been dreaming of bringing well-executed novel touches of Hawaiiana to accessible dining.

So thanks again for all the interest and support you kind folks on Bernal have shown us. It’s been the fire that’s kept us going.

So that means family-friendly pinball, drinks, and Hawaiian food, all just a convenient bumper-bounce away all the other fabulous restaurants and bars in the delightfully vibrant, delightfully low-key Nano-Tokyo District and La Lengua Nightlife Zone. Game on!

Of course, Bel has a lot of fans in the neighborhood too, so it’s sad to see them go.  According to MissionLocal, Richard Rosen, the chef and co-woner of Bel had a motorcycle accident recently, after which it became more difficult to operate the business.  Rosen and his partner and co-owner, Jennifer Garris, also own the excellent Pi Bar on Valencia near 25th. We wish them all the best.

PHOTO: San Francisco pinball game, photographed at the Pacific Pinball Museum in Alameda by Telstar Logistics.

Former Neighbor Lists Where to Eat and Drink in Bernal Heights

Until recently, writer Caleb Pershan was known to us as Neighbor Caleb, a resident of these Bernalese lands. Alas, Caleb recently decamped to another part of the City, but he still knows Bernal Heights well, and that shows in his list of “Where to Eat and Drink in Bernal Heights” that was just published on EaterSF.

Caleb writes:

Bernal Heights is sometimes described as an urban village rather than a neighborhood, which is to say it’s a little isolated and very family-friendly. The name Maternal Heights has been bandied about, but kids or not, it’s a great place to explore, eat, and drink.

To be sure, there’s certainly room to quibble about some glaring omissions. Nevertheless, this is an undeniably credible greatest-hits summary of Bernal’s fooding and drinking scene as it stands in the summer of 2017.

So dig in to see the list, and let the argumentation begin.

GRAPHIC: Eater SF

 

Warning: Carbo-Crazed Tater Tot Fans May Invade Cortland This Evening

Warning: The eastern end of Cortland Avenue may be packed with people this evening, as an exceptionally large number of foodies are expected to descend upon Barebottle Brewing, where a food truck will be on had to sell some ostensibly special tater tots.

Fanned by several local media outlets, the news that Jackrabbit Kitchen will be on hand at Barebottle this evening, Friday, July 14 starting at  4 pm has ripped through the Interwebs like a grease fire, such that that 10,000 people have said they’re interested in attending.

SFGate writes:

Jackrabbit Kitchen, which operates food trucks and a catering business, will be hosting Tater Tot Fest, a Facebook event at Barebottle Brewing Co.

Jackrabbit is known for its crispy cheddar-scallion tot — served with Sriracha ketchup — but it reportedly will be offering some new tot creations, including sweet-potato with ancho aioli and a fresh corn with a jalapeño vinaigrette.

So far, more than 10,000 people have expressed interest in attending. If even a portion of them do, Jackrabbit better have lots of tots.

Indeed. Even if we assume an exceptionally high Facebook event flake-rate, such that only 0.5% of those people will actually attend, that still means there may be 500 carbohydrate-crazed souls wandering the streets of Cortlandia this evening.

Likewise, if we also assume a bunch of those people may be jacked-up on ancho aioli and jalapeño vinaigrette, well, Bernal residents living in and around the impacted area are hereby advised to shelter in place until Tater Tot Fest subsides.

PHOTO: Very special tater tots by Jackrabbit Kitchen