Cortland’s “Flower Lady” Will Make You Mom-Proud for Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day is this weekend!

Bernal Neighbor and sex-positive celebrity Annie Sprinkle would like to encourage all Bernalese to buy Mother’s Day flowers from Denhi Donis, the sidewalk flower vendor who’s often found on Cortland near the northeast corner of Wool.

Neighbor Annie tells Bernalwood:

Bernal has many wonderful mothers of all kinds. This Mother’s Day, I want to introduce Denhi Donis, the woman who sells her beautiful flower bouquets on Cortland and Wool street.

Denhi, raised her two children in Bernal as a single mother. Now that they’re in their 20s and grown up, they help their mom set up her pop-up flower shop, and are totally devoted to her.

Before becoming the flower lady, Denhi worked for many years as a social worker at many non-profit orgs. She worked in the Women’s Building for two years, at the Latina Breast Cancer Association for a year, Planned Parenthood for seven years, and many more. She has helped many mothers, and others, over the years, and has been a champion for Latina women in the area.

Denhi has survived some hard times. Before she came to San Francisco, Denhi lived in Chicago, where she left her man and lived in a domestic violence center for two years with her two kids. .

It was her son’s idea for Denhi to start sellng flowers five years ago. She was always buying flowers, making beautiful bouquets and giving them all away to people that needed a little pick-me-up.

Maya Donis, her daughter told me, “My mother has the biggest heart I’ve ever met. Everyone she encounters she adorns with flowers and her kindness. Her Light never seems to dwindle. She teaches me that there’s no limit to my love and compassion with the world around me. She is, in many ways, my biggest teacher.”

Emiliano Donis adds, “My mother is one of the strongest women I know. Throughout my whole life she has unequivocally been a pillar. The example she set in my life has shaped me into the man I am today. From her battles with being a single mother to her struggle with cancer, she never once gave up. I hope one day I too can be as trong a person as her and do for my kids what she did for me and my sister Maya.

I’m one of Denhi’s best customers. Denhi always sells us the most beautiful bouquets of fresh flowers. However it is her warmth and smile that are even more beautiful. I love to buy flowers from Denhi, and I know my money goes to a good place.

Happy Mother’s day to Denhi! And to all mothers in Bernal and beyond.

PHOTO: Denhi Donis on Cortland, courtesy of Beth Stephens

Neighbor Nicole Is Making Lip Balm for Locavores

Neighbor Nicole Spear lives down the block from me in Precitaville, and recently she mentioned that she’d launched her own small business to manufacture and distribute a line of handmade lip balm under the Metta Good brand.

Lip balm for locavores! Turns out, that’s a thing.

Bernalwood invited Neighbor Nicole to tell us more about her products, and she also shared news about a pop-up event happening this weekend. She says:

Metta Good is handmade, small batch, artisan lip balms inspired by love and nature.

It  began as an idea when I was at home with my newborn. I wanted to create a natural product that was not only safe for people and the planet but also looked good too. Creating a natural product married my interests of plants, design, and making things by hand.

It took me two years to launch, butI began selling products in December 2016, and now Metta Good is in six stores, including Succulence on Cortland and Perch in Glen Park.

Metta Good’s first Pop-Up Boutique Bazaar is happening at Woods Island Club on Treasure Island this weekend, Saturday and Sunday May 12-13.  I’m co-producing the event with another SF Made member Natasha Natasha Chatlein of Sheek Organics.

Pop-Up Boutique Bazaar is an opportunity to shop for  local handmade, small-batch goodies while hanging out at a beachy brewery on Treasure Island. Bring Mom and indulge her with luxe handmade bath and body products, gorgeous succulent arrangements, artisan jewelry, and candles all made by Bay Area local makers. You can also sample Treasure Island’s first brewery, Woods Island Club, located in a historic airplane hangar. There will also be tasty bites from El Porteño Empanadas and an inflatable slide for the kids.

The Pop-Up Boutique Bazaar happens at:

Woods Island Club
422 Clipper Cove Way on Treasure Island
Sat. May 13, 12-6pm
Sun. May 14, 12-5pm

All the details are on the Facebook Event page.

PHOTO: Courtesy of Metta Good

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.

UPDATED: 95 Year-Old Woman Assaulted by Tent-Dweller at Proposed Residential Shelter Site

A 95 year-old woman was assaulted Saturday morning by a man living in the tent encampment outside 1515 South Van Ness, the site of a proposed residential homeless facility.

The assault took place at approximately 9:30 am on Saturday morning. The victim is a 95 year-old woman who has been a Mission resident since the 1930s.  According to several sources familiar with the incident, the victim saw two people drinking at a tent on the corner of 26th Street and Shotwell, and chastised them for their insobriety. A verbal altercation ensued, and when the elderly woman reached for her phone to call the police, one of the tent-dwellers reportedly grabbed her arm and began twisting it.

Two bystanders who were walking near 26th and Shotwell witnessed the scene, and began yelling at the drunken man to release the elderly woman. The perpetrator tried to run away. One of the bystanders gave chase, catching the man on Horace Street and detaining him until police arrived.

Meanwhile, the other bystander stayed with the elderly woman and escorted her home to her family. Police soon arrived, along with an ambulance, and the victim was transported to St. Luke’s Hospital. Along the way, the victim reportedly drove by the incident scene to positively identify the man who had assaulted her. The two bystanders who intervened to help the victim also served as witnesses in the police report. At St. Luke’s, the victim was treated for bruises and sprained arm.

The victim’s family says they intend to press charges against the perpetrator.

“It’s really scary when I think what could have happened if not for those two witnesses,” said the victim’s daughter, who lives near the incident scene.

“They don’t allow alcohol or drugs inside Navigation Centers [like the one proposed at 1515 South Van Ness], so we’ll have more of this happening on the sidewalks,” she said. “To have this happen now is very distressing.”

According to several sources familiar with the incident, an officer on the scene reportedly said the perpetrator would likely be released from police custody within 24 hours. Bernalwood contacted Capt. Bill Griffin from Mission Station for an update on the case over the weekend, but we have not yet received a response.

This story will be updated as additional information becomes available.

UPDATE: May 9: Reporter Filipa Ioannou from the San Francisco Chronicle spoke with the SFPD about the incident:

The woman got into an argument around 9:30 a.m. Saturday with two people that escalated into an assault when a man grabbed and twisted her arm near the intersection of 26th and Shotwell streets, according to the San Francisco Police Department.

The woman was not seriously injured, but was taken to a hospital for treatment partially because of her advanced age, according to Officer Robert Rueca, a spokesman for the San Francisco Police Department.

A man suspected in the assault was arrested, but his name was not immediately released.

That said, the Chronicle misstates the victim’s age. Her family confirms that she is 95, and not 92, as reported in the Chronicle.

PHOTO: Encampment at the incident scene, 1515 South Van Ness, Sunday, May 7, 2017, 5 pm, by Telstar Logistics


To Prepare for Another Decade, Avedano’s Launches Crowdfunding Campaign

Avedano’s Meats at 235 Cortland is a culinary treasure and a Bernal Heights success story. Founded in 2007 in a space that has reportedly been a butcher shop since 1901, proprietors Melanie Eisemann, Tia Harrison, and Angela Wilson were true pioneers, opening Avadano’s several years before the idea of whole-animal, artisanal butcher shops became a well-understood thing.

But San Francisco is tough on our small businesses, so Avedano’s is now launching a crowdfunding campaign to raise additional capital needed to maintain the viability of the store in the years ahead.

This week, in an email to customers, Team Avedano’s wrote:

For 10 years this neighborhood, Bernal Heights, has trusted us to bring you nothing but the best. We know our sources, personally. It’s been an amazing 10 years, this business has provided us with a multitude of caring friends and neighbors. We’ve watched you and your families grow and change just as you’ve watched our’s do the same. Avedano’s has been a cornerstone of a thriving community on our strip that our neighbors always generously compliment. We are always humbled when we can provide the best quality, locally sourced meats, in the Bay area, to you the community we care so much about. We are very proud of what we do. We do it because we love and believe in it. We’ll never be rich, but it’s a rewarding life and we work with great people.

When Avedano’s opened it’s doors, we had 3 employee’s. Since then we have grown and improved and stand 10 members strong. We have been voted “Best in the Bay” 6 times in 3 different publications. However the food industry is NOT easy, and exists on razor thin margins. It has always been a challenge for us to maintain high standards, pay our employee’s a fair wage, repair facilities, and maintain equipment. So we do everything we can to keep it going.

To finance the growth, we’ve invested the small amount of profit we generate back into the business each year improving equipment, fixing our historic building, and maintaining our commitment to small farms and quality products. In this city and industry one needs to grow and evolve to stay alive. Now at the start of our second ten years we need to find new ways to continue to meet your needs. Please invest in your neighborhood butcher shop ensuring we can hit the next decade strong and vibrant, meeting you nourishment needs.

We are raising $50k to help us explore various avenues of growth and secure our future, while keeping the doors open for you. We would love your help; please visit our GoFundMe campaign!

You can learn more and contribute to the crowsdsourcing fund here.

PHOTO: Avedano’s during the March 2015 Orangepocalypse, by Telstar Logistics

Tonight: Design Review Meeting for Northeast Bernal Housing Proposal (CORRECTED)


For several years decades, the owner of a large, interior lot bounded by Hampshire, Peralta, York and Cesar Chavez streets in northeast Bernal Heights has been trying to build new housing on the property. The last round of planning to build the infill homes took place in 2014 and 2015, but now the project is active again, with an all-new proposal and a design review board meeting slated to happen tonight, Thursday, May 4  beginning at 7 pm at the Bernal Heights Library. lower level(500 Cortland)

The new plan envisions eight small homes on the site, with access via the street-facing lot at 1513 York Street. A mid-April memo from project architect Stephen Antonaros summarizes the proposal:

The new layout responds to the topography much more, requiring significantly less excavation and this savings is more than made up by the extent of new landscaping, patios, pathways and stairs needed to access the cottages which all have grade level entries and are not close to the reduced car parking. But there is substantially more opportunity for ground level gardens and open space development.

The new arrangement responds separately to each of the two street and parcel grids which come together at the center of the site, separated by a slight angle. Four cottages align with each orthogonal grid, leaving the center space open for the main entry paths and more accessible green space.

The new smaller dwellings are 2 stories and around 1300 sq ft each as are the two units fronting York Street which remain unchanged from the previous design. The steepest part of the site is used to accommodate circulation and provides for an abundant amount of bike parking tucked into the hillside and covered with ramped access from either the street via the parking garage or residential door off of York Street.

Correction: Bernalwood was initially provided with an incorrect location for tonight’s meeting. The text above has been corrected to show the proper location.

IMAGES: Top, aerial view of proposed housing site. Below,1513 York project renderings, via Stephen Antonaros.

Thursday: Second Meeting on Planned Homeless Facility at 1515 South Van Ness

Amid mounting community concern about D9 Supervisor Hillary Ronen’s effort to use the existing building at 1515 South Van Ness as a temporary residential homeless facility, Supervisor Ronen plans to hold a second meeting about the plan tomorrow, ThursdayMay 4 at John O’Connell High School (2355 Folsom at 20th St.) beginning at 6 pm.

In an email obtained by Bernalwood, Ronen wrote:

Dear Mission resident,

I am holding a second community meeting next week, on Thursday May 4th at 6:00pm at John O’Connell High School to provide more space for community discussion on the proposal for a temporary Navigation Center at 1515 South Van Ness Ave. The content of this meeting will be identical to the content of our first meeting at Mission Cultural Center this past Monday.

I will be joined by the Director on the Department of Homelessness Director Jeff Kositsky, the San Francisco Police Chief William Scott, the Captain for Mission Station Bill Griffin, and representatives from both Public Works and the Mayor’s office.

For those of you who may not be able to attend this second meeting, I will be holding community office hours (first come, first serve) to discuss this proposal at Rincon Nayarit on Monday May 8th from 8:00am-10:00am.

Please see details bellow.

Community Meeting

Thursday May 4th, 2017
John O’Connell High School
2355 Folsom St, SF 94110

Community Office Hours

Monday May 8th, 2017
Rincon Nayarit
1500 South Van Ness Ave, SF 94109

If you have any questions about this meeting or my community office hours, please contact my Legislative Aide Carolina Morales at 415-554-7743 or via email at

The proposal to use the existing building at 1515 South Van Ness as a temporary homeless shelter emerged from a deal Supervisor Ronen made with the Lennar Corporation last March.

Under the terms of the deal, Ronen agreed to unblock Lennar’s plan to build 157 units of permanent, mixed-income housing on the site, with 25% of the units designated affordable, in exchange for a $1 million payment to a “cultural stabilization fund” operated on behalf of Calle24, a Latino cultural organization with close ties to Supervisor Ronen.  The deal also allowed the City to use the existing structure on the site as a temporary residential homeless facility.

The homeless facility, which the City calls a Navigation Center, would feature 120 shelter beds.  It would operate until Lennar obtains the permits needed to demolish the building and begin construction of the housing development. The facility would operate 24 hours a day, and Hoodline reports “the property’s parking lot will be configured to encourage shelter clients to congregate there instead of on the adjacent sidewalk.”

Though Ronen describes the May 4 event as a community meeting, she’s also indicated  it may largely be a one-way conversation. During a contentious April 24 meeting about the proposal, Supervisor Ronen told critics that community input on the matter would have no bearing on the proposal. “The decision has been made,” she said, according to a MissionLocal reporter who attended the meeting.

The next next day,  Ronen introduced an ordinance at the Board of Supervisors to expedite the creation of the shelter:

[Temporary Housing for Homeless People During Shelter Crisis – LMC San Francisco I Holdings, LLC – 1515 South Van Ness Avenue]
Sponsors: Mayor; Ronen

Ordinance approving an agreement between the City and LMC San Francisco I Holdings, LLC, to allow the City to use the property at 1515 South Van Ness Avenue to utilize and operate a facility to provide temporary housing and services to homeless persons; directing the City Administrator, Public Works, Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing, Department of Building Inspection, and other City departments to make repairs or improvements, consistent with health and safety standards, to use the property for temporary housing to address encampments in the Mission District; authorizing Public Works, Department of Homelessness and Supportive Housing, and Department of Public Health to enter into contracts without adhering to competitive bidding and other requirements for construction work, procurement, and personal services at the facility; and affirming the Planning Department’s determination under the California Environmental Quality Act.
ASSIGNED to Land Use and Transportation Committee.

UPDATE, May 3, 7:30 pm According to the Bay City Beacon, further evidence that “the decision has been made” emerged from today’s meeting of the SF Board of Supervisors. The Beacon reports:

Supervisor Ronen and Mayor Lee’s agreement with the developer Lennar Multi-family passed the Board of Supervisors today, establishing a temporary Homeless Navigation Center at 1515 South Van Ness. 1515 South Van Ness is currently owned by Lennar, who is loaning it to the city for homeless services.

PHOTO: 1515 South Van Ness at 6:32 pm on April 19, 2017, by Telstar Logistics