Sandwich-Making Robot in Andi’s Market Looks Like Terminator, Tastes Like Proust


Last week, a new worker joined the staff at Andi’s Market on Cortland Avenue: a fully automated, sandwich-making robot. Created by Bistrobot, the newfangled machine makes peanut butter sandwiches on fancy white bread with your choice of honey, blackberry jam, sweet chili, or chocolate sauce.


Bistrobot CTO Hamid Sani tells Bernalwood:

The machine at the Andi’s market is our first deployed automated sandwich maker. The machine is placed inside the store and the customer can place an order through a tablet kiosk, pay $2 (cash or credit), and watch our robot make them a custom sandwich. Simple as that.

Bistrobot is a startup that recently graduated from Y Combinator. We have a small but dedicated team with the goal of making robotic platforms that can make food, starting with sandwiches.

Neighbor Flo adds that some Bernal Heights DNA flows deep within the Bistrobot’s mechanized heart:

I live on Ellsworth St. My nephew, Steve Littell, is a chef and machinist from Chicago who came to SF with five engineer start-up buddies for the purpose of making this machine and others like it with more sophistication. My nephew now lives on Ellsworth St. too!

Locavore robots! Perhaps this was inevitable.

Neighbor Darcy filmed a video of the sandwichbot in action:

Yesterday, your Bernalwood editor visited Andi’s to conduct my own taste test of our robotic sandwich future. I ordered a peanut butter and honey sandwich, and when it emerged from the Bistrobot’s mechanical maw, it looked like this:


And the taste? Well, it tasted just like a sandwich mom would have made — if mom was a faceless automaton who looked like a mutant Lionel train set encased in a transparent plastic box. As a culinary experience, it was certainly worthy of any school lunchbox. As an entertainment experience, it was far more tasty than anything you’d get at the Musée Méchanique — and much closer to home too.

But don’t take my word for it. Stop by Andi’s Market, 820 Cortland (between Ellsworth and Gates) and command the Bistrobot to make you a sandwich.  Do it while you still can, because today, the sandwich robot works for you. Someday, however, you may work for it.

PHOTOS: Telstar Logistics. Video courtesy of Darcy Lee

Chicano Nuevo Restaurant Opens Tonight in Former Emmy’s Space on Virginia


Neighbor Abraham Nunez has created some new yum for your tum. Neighbor Abraham is also Chef Abraham, and he’s opening a brand-new restaurant in the former (good karma) Emmy’s Spaghetti Shack space at 18 Virginia Ave, just across from our Taoist Safeway. Neighbor Abraham’s restaurant is called Chicano Nuevo, and it offers food from the borderlands, right here in our metaphorical front yard. Chicano Nuevo’s grand opening is scheduled for tonight, Wednesday October 28, and Bernalwood is told:

In the location of the old Emmy’s Spaghetti Shack, right around the corner from tequila bar mainstay El Amigo, arrives the new So-Cal inspired Chicáno Nuevo.

Chef and owner Abraham Nunez brings his family’s recipes from Chula Vista to Bernal Heights, and recreates his childhood— from the border taco joints to the traditional holiday meals— in the form of Ensendena style “Baja” fish tacos, three-cheese tamales with an infused chile masa, and queso fundido served in authentic  casuelitas de barra, sent here straight from Tijuana.

Nunez, a Bernal Heights resident and enthusiast, is an alumnus of Emmy’s, where he designed and managed its cocktail program. He is also well known in the neighborhood as one of the former lead bartenders at St. Mary’s Pub.

“I’m still in denial of it actually happening,” said Nunez about opening the place. “There really isn’t anything else like this in the city, and I am just really excited to share this kind of food with my friends and neighbors.”

Chicano Nuevo opens to the public Wednesday Wednesday Oct 28, with plans to serve late-night fare on weekends, staying open until 3am.

UPDATE Oct 28, 7:30 pm: Neighbors Susie and John where first in the door at the grand opening tonight with their son Eddie, and they shared this photo of Chef Abraham with Eddie. Neighbor Susie says:

We came to Chicano Nuevo based on the Bernalwood post. We’re their first customers. Potato taquitos! Everything was very delicious, especially the fish tacos w yummy soup on the side!


PHOTO: Top, Neighbor Abraham Nunez

Coming Soon: Ampersand, a Tiny New Shop from Team Heartfelt


Neighbor Darcy Lee, a resident of Alemanistan and owner of Heartfelt on Cortland, has a new shop in the works. The new place will be just across the street, in the tiny former storefront at 409 Cortland, near Bennington between Epicurean Trader and Vega.

We’ve heard Neighbor Darcy describe Heartfelt as a “general store for the 21st century,” and her new place will take that idea in a slightly different direction.  She tells Bernalwood:

Wanted to let you know that I signed a lease for a storefront on Cortland in our block (409 Cortland Ave). It will be a small shop called Ampersand, and we will carry women’s clothing, accessories, books and good cheer.

When I incorporated Heartfelt, the name Heartfelt was taken so I added an “&” and it has brought me good luck ever since. Thus the name.

There will not be a ton of books, but I can special order almost any title and for those who like our smattering of clothing found at Heartfelt, there will actually be a changing room! And more choices! We plan on soft opening October 1st, if not before. Promise to keep you posted.

PHOTOS: Courtesy of Heartfelt

Tonight: Grand Opening Celebration for New East-West Bernal Clinic on Cortland


Neighbor Nicole Kurth, a resident of Bernal’s glamorous Santana Rancho district, invites you the grand opening gala for East-West Bernal, the new integrative therapy clinic located at 486 Cortland, in the former Integral Body space. The grand opening happens this evening, and Neighbor Nicole writes:

I’m writing to invite all of our neighbors to join us for our Grand Opening Celebration of East West Bernal on Wednesday, August 26, from 5:30pm-8:00pm. We’re located at 406 Cortland, in the space formerly occupied by The Integral Body.

This is a second location for East West Integrative Medicine, which is an acupuncture and massage therapy clinic that’s been in business for over 12 years on Chenery St in Glen Park.

Marnie McCurdy and her experienced team of acupuncturists, massage therapists, and homeopaths will be available to provide free sample treatments and demonstrations throughout the evening. Mini massages, pulse readings, ear seed acupuncture, and refreshments will be offered on an ongoing basis. At 6pm and 7pm respectively, we’ll offer a Kombucha class and a Jin Shin Jyutsu demonstration.

Come check out our space, meet our team, get a free treatment… We look forward to meeting our neighbors and providing Bernal with the best in health and wellness services.

PHOTO: Courtesy of East West Bernal

Fumi Curry Now Open on Mission Street in Bernal’s NanoTokyo District



There’s a new grand opening to celebrate in NanoTokyo, the emerging cluster of Japanese restaurants located around Mission and 29th Streets in Bernal Heights. Last night, Fumi Curry & Seafood opened for business for the very first time in the former Eagle Donuts location at 3303 Mission.

Neighbor Jen took the family for a test-drive dinner at Fumi last night, and she filed this report:


First night open was last night. We had a curry chicken, curry crab fried rice, and the kids teriyaki chicken meal (shown above). All were very good! Not like the best you’ve ever had, but definitely above average. Kids meal was a great value for $6 and even included a little toy yo-yo. Lots of families with young children there and one couple on a date who seemed a bit overwhelmed by the family crowd. Good service and the place looks amazing. As much as I miss Eagle Donuts, the decor is a distinct improvement.

Hurrah! Sounds encouraging.

Oh, and if you’re not familiar with the joyful world of Japanese-style curry, check out Bernalwood’s primer on the subject here.

PHOTOS: Telstar Logistics (above) and Neighbor Jen

Old Bus Tavern, a Clever, Creative New Brewpub in Bernal, Opens Tonight



Big news: The Old Bus Tavern (3193 Mission @Valencia), the new Southwestern-style brewpub that’s been in the works for months, opens for business tonight, Thursday July 23.

Your Bernalwood editor attended a glamorous preview dinner at Old Bus last night, but we’ll tell you more about that in a moment. First, let’s hear what the local fooderati are saying about this new addition to our neighborhood.

Writing for InsideScoop, here’s Sarah Fritsche:

The creation of partners and long-time friends, Jimmy Simpson, John Zirinsky and Bennett Buchanan, the unusually named brewpub Old Bus Tavern (named after Zirinsky’s 1978 Volkswagen Westfalia bus) is finally set to open its doors this Thursday (July 23).

Late last week, the trio were kind enough to give Inside Scoop a pre-opening peek at what to expect from the new Bernal Heights restaurant and brewery.

When you walk through the door, the first thing you notice is the gleaming, and open to the dining room, custom brewery made for the restaurant by Portland Kettleworks. Both Zirinsky and Buchanan, who began as avid home brewers eight years ago, will oversee the beer program. […]

Aside from the brew kettles, the other main focal point in the 49-seat dining room, which is designed by Sarah Greenwood Design (Greenwood also happens to be Zirinsky’s mother), is a collection of antique Navajo rugs that decorate the walls.

The rugs belong to Zirinsky’s uncle, who has been collecting Native American art and artifacts since the 1970s. “He’s had these rugs in storage for 25 years, so my mom had the idea, why don’t we ask Tom if we can take the rugs out of storage and put them up on the walls? It’s great to have a personal family connection, but also it just looks cool together,” says Zirinsky.

The Southwestern motif also carries over to the cocktails and food.

That’s a key thing to understand about Old Bus: They have a serious Southwestern thing going on, with an emphasis on the “serious.” But more about that in a moment, really, because headline of Thrillist’s story says the Old Bus “could be the best SF opening of the year”:

Located in Bernal Heights, this casual brewpub serves game changing drinks and eats in a cool, friendly atmosphere. Chef Max Snyder worked in four Michelin-starred restaurants before coming to Old Bus and offers way-elevated pub fare like pickled quail eggs served on a bed of fried onions. The beers are awesome, from the Old Bus Tavern Lemon Basil Saison to their OBT Chili Porter, which is brewed with Valrhona cocoa nibs and 60lbs of roasted Poblano chiles. Cocktails aren’t to be missed either…really, you should just order everything on the menu.

Zagat is excited too. So is SFist. So is Tablehopper.

Okay, yeah, so a whole lot of people who don’t live in Bernal Heights say they are excited about this new place in Bernal Heights. But as a card-carrying Citizen of Bernalwood, with Old Bus Tavern at your doorstep, should you be excited about the place too?

Oh hell yes.

The team that created the Old Bus has worked incredibly hard to make it happen, and the results of their effort are impressive. During last night’s glamorous preview dinner, your Bernalwood editor remarked that the interior of the space is warm and interesting. It’s modern and refined, with an unmistakable southwestern vibe. In fact, that basically describes every aspect of The Old Bus Tavern: modern and refined, with an unmistakable southwestern vibe.


I did a robust exploration of a few signature cocktails, and they were terrific.

One clever standout was the OBT (with tequila, orange curaçao, lime, and a homemade poblano pepper syrup). It’s like a craft margarita with a spicy kick that lends itself to slow-paced sipping. Loved it.


The beer program is just getting up to speed, with an Old Bus Lemon Basil Saison on tap now. A homebrew Opening Day IPA and Chili Porter are expected to be ready later in the week. And all of it is made right onsite, in the kettles near the center of the dining room:


Otherwise, you can also get any of this:


The food was much more ambitious than I’d expected — divey cuisine, this is not. The pickled quail eggs with fried onions was sublime. The chilled eggplant soup tasted like something that came from Santa Fe by way of Cairo. The onion spaetzel was creative and fresh. The chili with pequin chiles was tender, rich, and intense:



Here’s the full menu. NOTE: Before snarking about the prices, please read the fine print: “Service and tax are included in all of our menu prices; no tipping is necessary. Our revenue sharing system allows us to pay our entire staff a living wage.”

Oh, and did I mention that it opens to the public tonight? As with any new restaurant, expect a few bumps at first, but Bernalwood recommends trying out the Old Bus Tavern sooner rather than later, because this place probably won’t be a local secret for very long.

Big congrats to the Old Bus Team, and welcome to the neighborhood.

PHOTOS: Telstar Logistics

Bel, the New Belgian-Style Gastropub, Now Open on Mission


Belgian beer lovers and moules frites fans rejoice! Inside Scoop brings the news that Bel has at last opened for business at 3215 Mission Street near Valencia. They write:

Some foods were just made to go with beer. This is nothing new to Richard Rosen and Jennifer Garris, the team behind the Mission’s craft beer and pizza joint, Pi Bar.

With the opening their brand new Bernal Heights’ gastropub, Bel, the pair are at it again — this time, tackling the beers and foods of Belgium. Located in the former Locavore space on Mission, at Valencia Street, the restaurant opened its doors Sunday night (5/25).

On the beer front, expect a range of saison, Trappist, sours and fruit beers, among others. According to Garris, of the twelve drafts, four will be dedicated to a rotating roster of Belgian beers. Also available, a variety of California-made Belgian-style brews and a bottle list of about 45 Belgian bottles. Wines will be mostly French and German. (The full drink list is online.)

Rosen’s menu, which is comprised of small and large plates, looks promising, and of course, includes an obligatory interpretation of moules frites. Other classic Belgian offerings include a Ghent-style fish chowder made with prawns, mussels and cod called seafood waterzooi and carbonades flamandes — a dish made with beef brisket and Flemish sour beer, Rodenbach. On the side, in addition to frites, you’ll find a chiffonade of Brussels sprouts and a Belgian endive gratin.

Here’s the menu.

Oh, and be advised, Bel has even installed their very own Manneken Pis. What’s a Manneken Pis? Apparently, that’s Belgian for this fella:


PHOTOS: via Bel