As you may recall, Bernalwood recently explored the history of the Bernal Heights branch of the Doggie Diner restaurant chain that ruled the corner of Mission and Cesar Chavez from the 1960s until the 1980s.
You may also recall that three giant Doggie Diner fiberglass mascots survive to this day as a traveling trio of cultural ambassadors mounted to the back of an old trailer:
And you may even remember that many Citizens of Bernalwood were overjoyed by these same doggie heads last October, when they were spotted on Folsom Street wearing sporty knit wool cozies:
I and a small handful of friends have been bringing these local icons to charity events, parades, and art happenings for the last 20 years FOR FREE and for the sheer joy of it. These local icons are the only things that seem to brighten the day of everyone who sees them—every time—and for me, that is worth all the labor and expenses that I have poured into them years.
Twenty years of hauling them around on a rickety trailer and 50 years in the sun has taken its toll, and they are in desperate need of repair. But restoring a vintage, 10-foot-tall, 300lb fiberglass and metal sculpture is complicated, labor intensive, and expensive—and we have three of them! We need to raise $48K in just 30 days to get the work done.
Though these Doggie Diner heads do not live in Bernal, history has made them a part of us. And as further evidence of this project’s bona fides, Billy Collister, one of the metalworkers participating in the restoration effort, was the contractor who completed my home renovation years ago, so your Bernalwood editor is quite comfortable endorsing both his workmanship and industry.
Most importantly, amid constant socio-economic change and the multi-generational transformation of our neighborhood’s landscape, seldom do we have the chance to preserve a such a tangible slice of an older, even weirder San Francisco.
Especially one that’s so easy to park.
This is one such opportunity. You can donate to the Doggie Diner Restoration effort right here.
PHOTOS: Top, Historic photos of Bernal’s Doggie Diner at the corner of Mission and Cesar Chavez.