Café St Jorge Getting New Ownership

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Andrea de Francisco created something lovely when she opened Café St Jorge at 3438 Mission Street (near Kingston) in 2013: She created the kind of establishment that became the focal point for a community at the southern end of La Lengua. But now change is afoot, as Andrea tells Bernalwood:

Andrea de Francisco, owner of Café St Jorge, has announced that her beloved Californian/Portuguese café will soon change ownership.

The new owners, the Saleh family, are expected to keep the warm, welcoming café exactly as is. The staff, menu, décor and programing will all remain. Opening in 2013, Café St Jorge quickly became one of the core businesses in Mission/Bernal and San Francisco.

With a fresh menu featuring the best local and organic ingredients in a creative take on California/Portuguese cuisine, alongside traditional Portuguese pastries and dishes, Portuguese wines and Stumptown coffee, people and especially neighbors and the Portuguese community fill Café St. Jorge’s tables from morning to night, each and every day of the week. The happy hours, art shows, music performances and game nights have entertained and delighted people of all ages.

All of which are expected to continue under the new ownership of the Salehs. “We are honored to steward this amazing café that Andrea has built. Café St. Jorge is a warm, inviting, frankly perfect café and we are so excited to continue to work with the amazing staff that makes it the great neighborhood spot that it is. We can’t wait to meet our customers and neighbors.”

“Creating Café St. Jorge was always my dream, and I couldn’t be more proud of the café. I have loved serving our amazing customers that I will truly miss, and being a part of the Mission Bernal community,” said Andrea de Francisco, current owner of Café St. Jorge. “I’m so sad to move on, but delighted the café will be run by an amazing family who truly values it and the special place it holds for our customers. As for me, I will continue to consult and I’m looking forward to spending more time with my family and more time in Portugal, and dreaming up my next adventure.”

The transfer of license is expected to be complete at the end of February.

PHOTO: Courtesy of Café St. Jorge

Pop-Up “Eye of the Avocado” Serving Breakfast & Lunch at 833 Cortland

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Someday soon, Black Jet Baking Company will hang its sign above the former Pinkie’s/Sandbox space. But in the meantime, Chef Jes Taber has opened up a pop-up eatery at 833 Cortland called Eye of the Avocado that’s serving gorgeous breakfast and lunch sandwiches right now.

Chef Jes says:

Eye Of The Avocado, is a Pop Up Cafe at 833 Cortland @ Gates, the old Pinkies Bakery. We are excited to part of the beloved Bernal Heights community. We offer one of the best dang egg sandwiches you will ever have, the “Roy G. Biv Sandi”. Plus we have: coffee, lattes, tea, scones, chocolate chip cookies, and etcetera. We are strictly locally sourced & organic. Check out the Pay It Forward program & inquire for details. Can’t wait to meet you!

Eye of the Avocado is already crushing it on Yelp, and the cafe is open from Wednesday to Sunday from 8 am to 2 pm, with plans to remain at 833 Cortland until the end of the month.

(Also, If you have tips about potential permanent locations around greater Bernal, Chef Jes would love to hear them.)

PHOTO: The the Roy G. Biv Sandi + Bacon, courtesy of Eye of the Avocado

Black Jet Baking to Open in 833 Cortland Bakery Space

Team Black Jet Baking, with Gillian Shaw at center

Team Black Jet Baking, with Gillian Shaw, center

It was a sad day when Pinkie’s Bakery announced plans to shutter in October, but now the cycle of rebirth and re-use is set to take another turn. Last weekend, rockstar baker and former Bernal neighbor Gillian Shaw launched a crowdfunding campaign to relocate her Black Jet Baking Co. to the former Sandbox/Pinkie’s space at 833 Cortland.

Justin Phillips from Inside Scoop brings the backstory:

Black Jet owner Gillian Shaw sees potential on the block, so much so that she recently launched a Kickstarter campaign to drum up support (and $75,000) for the move. Black Jet’s loyal customer base has responded in droves, donating almost $11,000 within the first 36 hours.

“People have been so sweet. They’re donating and writing notes,” Shaw said. “Everyone seems to be excited. This year, we’ve just been lucky to grow and grow.”

After opening in 2010 as a niche shop delivering cookies and pops mainly to San Francisco office workers, Black Jet is known more now for its nostalgic takes on classic treats like layered chocolate cakes, banana cream pies, and oatmeal cookies. (Shaw’s”Lil Jennys” were featured in this Sunday’s Chronicle, with a recipe.)

Shaw said this year, the business had its most profitable November since opening six years ago. Black Jet sold more than 900 pies around Thanksgiving – no small feat for three bakers working out of a commercial kitchen space.

Neighbor emeritus Gillian Shaw has a lot of fans here in Bernal, not just because she used to live here, but also because she was the baker at the former Liberty Cafe , back in the days when the Liberty Cafe was known for its amazing baked goods. So congrats to her, and hooray for us.

If you’d like to join Black Jet Baking Co. crowdsourcing fund, you can contribute here.

PHOTO: Courtesy of Black Jet Baking

After Chef Tim’s Medical Scare, Ichi Sushi Moving Back to Smaller Shop

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These are challenging times for Bernal Heights neighbors Tim and Erin Archuleta, the husband-and-wife team behind the much-celebrated Ichi Sushi and Ni Bar.  Yesterday, Neighbor Erin told Bernalwood that Chef Tim has been navigating some very serious health issues, with the result that the couple has decided to shutter the the Ichi Sushi and Ni Bar restaurant at 3282 Mission and relocate to their original, smaller restaurant space across from the Bernal Safeway.

As you probably know, Ichi Sushi has won nationwide accolades and drawn big crowds since expanding from the small shop at 3369 Mission to the full-service space down the street near 29th Street. But in a statement, Neighbor Erin says Chef Tim’s heath necessitates a change:

After Tim suffered a significant health scare, we are returning us to our roots and moving ICHI back into our little space at 3369 Mission. We are grateful to our talented team who helped us win local, regional, national and international acclaim, and we will keep many of our beloved crew with us. We are also actively searching to secure placement for the rest of our skillful team.

Our final night of service in our 3282 Mission Street space will be New Year’s Eve — A party for the books! And, we’re planning to reopen in our 3369 Mission Street space just after the New Year.

This move will allow Tim to get back behind the sushi counter and to reconnect with all our guests. Our gorgeous space at 3282 will go on the market with our friends at CGI Retail and we’re excited to offer it up to a new generation of small business owners.

We’ve been so grateful for the support we’ve received from our friends and guests over the last few months, and look forward to Tim getting back to the sushi counter soon when he is on the mend. Food, restaurants, and the community bring us all together, and through Tim’s recovery, our guests have been incredible. We never forget how loved we are and we are thrilled to return the favor and care for everyone back in our original sushi bar, where Tim is looking forward to reciprocating that hospitality.

We’re accepting reservations at our current venue via ichisushi.com and OpenTable. We’ll also be accepting reservations for the return to 3369 Mission in the new year on our website and Open Table, as well.

Sadly, Chef Tim’s medical expenses have been a huge strain on the couple’s resources. To help defray their costs, a crowdsourced fund has been established to help with some of the bills. If you’re so inclined you can assist Tim and Erin by donating here.

It goes without saying that all this is sad and troubling, but it’s also true that Tim and Erin have nurtured (and fed) a huge local community.  Now, many members of that community will be eager to support them, in any way possible.

Get well soon Tim.

PHOTO: Chef Tim Archuleta in the then-new Ichi Sushi + Ni Bar space, January 20, 2014,  by Telstar Logistics. 

Yay! We Can Now Get Tartine Bread at Epicurean Trader

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You may have had a hard time getting tickets to go see “Hamilton” here in San Francisco, but on the bright side, it’ll soon be a lot easier to get the amazingly heavenly sublime bread produced by Tartine Bakery, right here in Bernal Heights.

Starting this weekend, Epicurean Trader at 401 Cortland (@Bennington) will begin receiving regular shipments of Tartine’s bread, delivered fresh from the oven to Bernal.

Neighbor Holly from the Epicurean Trader tells Bernalwood:

We’ve partnered with San Francisco’s Tartine Bakery to sell their loaves. We will be the first and only store outside of their own bakery that they will allow to sell it.

If you’re not familiar with Tartine, they’re considered one of the best bakeries in the country (known especially for their bread) and have won many industry awards, including the highly coveted James Beard Award.

To start out, Tartine will deliver the loaves fresh (literally straight from their ovens) at 11am each Friday, Saturday and Sunday mornings. There will be limited supply, so people will need to come early, however, we will accept pre-orders in-store if someone wants to be guaranteed a loaf.

We’d like get to seven days a week for these deliveries, so if demand is strong (which I hope it will be!), we’ll quickly ramp to a daily offering.

We plan to launch with the following loaves: Country Loaf, Whole Wheat Sesame, Oat Porridge and the Sprouted Rye. These loaves are HUGE! Excellent value really for the size, quality of the grains and craftsmanship.

Also, for those that are worried about missing out each week (let’s be honest, it’s going to happen…), we’re setting up a weekly subscription option whereby you are guaranteed a loaf (or loaves) each week with pick up available on your choice of Friday, Saturday or Sunday. Weekly subscribers will be invoiced monthly (vs. each pick-up) to keep everything moving quickly.

PHOTO: Tartine bread, courtesy of The Epicurean Trader

The Old Bus Tavern Now Has 2.5 Bauer-Stars and Music on Sundays

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The Michael Bauer returned to the fabulous Old Bus Tavern at 3193 Mission (near Valencia) recently to take new chef David Zboray’s food out for a test-drive. Two-and-a-half stars later, he says he liked the experience:

The most substantial main course was grilled swordfish ($29), expertly cooked and presented next to a salad of kohlrabi, pickled fennel and charred scallions. The only flaw was the mushy butternut squash risotto underneath.

While [former chef Max] Snyder’s top-class chili didn’t make the cut for the new menu, Zboray retained the must-order quail eggs ($10), brined, poached and arranged on a nest of fried leeks, hot from paprika. He’s also included the cheeseburger ($14) made with sharp cheddar, pickles, a secret sauce and ketchup, an ingredient I usually avoid for anything but french fries — but in this case it worked well.

The waiters are good salespeople for their products; they know the menu and are adept at explaining the beers and cocktails. They are also attuned to the finer points of service, a surprise in such a casual environment, where the crowd becomes more animated as the night wears on. Oftentimes there are gaggles of people dining or standing at the bar, separated by a counter from the 49-seat dining room.

Meanwhile, as a special bonus, neighbor Ned Buskirk of Elsie Street is working with the Old Bus Tavern team to fill the space with music on Sundays. Neighbor Ned says:

The Old Bus Tavern owners are about as down-to-earth & sweet-hearted as any good Bernalite would hope for AND the food/beers fit the tastiest of additions to our local options.

So, I’m booking regular music there every Sunday now, and we want to start making a name for the local spot, for all the right reasons… music being a big one of them.

This Sunday, December 4, the lineup includes amazing food by Soul Cocina and live music by John Elliott (aka The Hereafter)! Bar opens at 5pm and food starts at 6pm. Check out details about Sunday’s menu right here.

PHOTO: Old Bus Tavern facade, via InsideScoop