Bernalwood has been following the ongoing adventures of the Hillside Supper Club pop-up restaurant since waaaaay back when it was called the Bernal Supper Club — and wasn’t even in Bernal. Since its renaming, the Hillside Supper Club has set up shop two days a week inside the Cafe Cozzolino space on the corner of Precita and Folsom, amid much rejoicing from Bernal Heights neighbors and glowing five-star reviews from the crankypants critics on Yelp.
During the summer HSC launched a successful Kickstarter effort to take over the Cozzolino space fulltime, and work is now underway to make that happen. Chef Tony Ferrari brings this progress report:
So things are really going well. We reached and went over our Kickstarter goal, which we have been using for new equipment and a remodel. We started some projects offsite (bar, communal table, wine shelving, hostess podium), and will bring it all in to install during the remodel. We are about 95% in final agreement with landlord for a new lease, and our lawyer and financial advisor have been supportive through this. The remodel plans are done, and we will soon close for about 2 weeks to built it. Most logistics and legalities are all set. We are meeting every day with POS people, merchant accounts, vendors, insurance brokers, CPA/bookkeepers, investors, reservation systems, etc etc. It never ends. We have most of the funding required but need a bit more, and at this point we are looking at bringing on an investor/partner. We have been meeting with people here and there, and we’ve got some good opportunities. Michael Bauer came in to eat about a month ago and did a great little mention of us; That was pretty cool.
We wish and thought we would be open by now, but there was and still is a lot to do. Its amazing, this city in particular, of how much requirements, terms, taxes, payroll etc have to be final before a restaurant can open. Most of it has been a waiting game that’s out of our control. Every day we learn a ton — mostly that there is even more to add to our check-off list. We are working extremely hard every day to move this along and open ASAP. We hope for late November or early December, but it’s hard to put a date on it.
The neighborhood has been extremely supportive, and we even have some private lenders from Bernal that are apart of the funding, which feels really good. Maria and Marcello (Cozzolino) are like family to us now. We have become very close, and they are giving us a smooth and great transition. We have been consistent with our Monday and Tuesday pop-ups, in addition to lots of private events, dinner parties, and even two weddings coming up at the restaurant. We are very involved with Slow Food, and have partnered up with neighbor Arno Hesse to offer pre-bought meals to help fund the project, as well as Bernal Bucks. We are and want to be very involved with the community and its growth, especially the younger generation.
Jonathan and I can’t even explain or express what this opportunity means to us. All the amazing feedback, the warmth of Bernal, and just being happy in the kitchen feeding people great food makes it all worth it. This is our dream finally has a great foundation and story to back it up. Its really happening.
On another note, we would love to move to Bernal but its either too expensive or there is nothing available that suits us. Ideally, individual studios would be best, but a 2 bedroom could work too. We were kicking around the idea to barter food for rent or whatnot? Suggestions?
So yeah… all in all, things are going well, and very busy. It’s all positive, and we can’t wait till the restaurant is open already. We even have the sign done for the outside of building.
PHOTO: Top: Chefs Tony Ferrari (left) and Jonathan Sutton of the Hillside Supper Club. Photos via Hillside Supper Club on Facebook