Finally! All-New, Expanded Ichi Sushi + Ni Bar Set to Open Next Week

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Mmmmm. This is a post I’ve been looking forward to for a long time…

As veteran Bernalwood readers may recall, in November 2012 we shared the news that Chef Tim Archuleta’s critically acclaimed Ichi Sushi planned to move into a larger location just across Mission Street.  Now, at last, the new space is ready.

The new Ichi Sushi + Ni Bar will open for business next week at 3282 Mission St. at 29th, and Erin Archuleta provides the details:

It’s been 22 months since we started this project, and it feels really joyful now that it’s all coming together.

ICHI Sushi will be in the front and NI Bar will be in the back. Executive Chef Tim Archuleta will head up the two spaces, with Sous Chef Erik Aplin overseeing the constantly changing sushi menu, and consulting Chef Chris Kiyuna contributing to the hot dishes. ICHI Sushi will continue as a sushi bar, an NI Bar will specialize in Japanese bar food and izakaya.

For ICHI, the sushi bar will remain the primary focus, but the new space gave us the opportunity to lay it out a little better with tables accommodating groups and families. Assistant Manager Shasta Webb will support with the reservation and special event requests.

NI Bar’s Bar Manager, Ken Furusawa, has crafted a beverage list offering a larger selection of sake, shochu, specialty beer, and introduce low alcohol cocktails. At NI Bar, look for grilled meats and warm stews in season — traditional izakaya food changes all the time, and we will too.

The original ICHI space will only be open until Saturday, Feb 15. Then we will lightly renovate for a few weeks, and it will reopen as a Japanese-style oyster bar.

Your Bernalwood editor visited Chef Tim at the new location a few weeks ago, as he was deep in the final stages of Construction Mode.  Ichi 2.0 looks terrific, with a smart design that divides the restaurant’s generous floorplan into a series of smaller, more intimate spaces, and a bold mural/etiquette guide dominating the south wall:

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Erin also shared this interior photo, taken Alanna Hale:

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If Ichi 1.0  is any indication, the food at the new joint will be oishii. Plus, as destiny would have it, the new Ichi Sushi + Ni Bar sits right across the street from the Pizzahacker’s new shop, so all of a sudden we’ve got a serious food cluster happening right here in the Dominion of Bernalwood. Lucky us.

Big congrats to Neighbors Tim and Erin, good luck, and we’re excited for the yum.

PHOTOS: Top, Chef Tim in the new Ichi Sushi + Ni Bar, January 20, 2014,  by Telstar Logistics. Bottom photo, Alanna Hale

New Mural Takes Shape on Helipad House

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Bernal Hill is swell place to go for a nature walk, but it’s also becoming a great place to view large-scale art. The mural on the old grain silos on the eastern waterfront is now complete, just as a new installation takes shape on the northern-facing facade of the “Helipad,” the contemporary home at the top of Folsom near Ripley.

Neighbor Regina previews what’s coming:

Life’s too short to live in a plain white house. Plus, the hottest neighborhood in America should have a hot pink element. The artist is Casey O’Connell and we just let her do her thing, which currently involves sharks with gold grills of the San Francisco skyline.

PHOTOS: Top, Monique Soltani. Below, Joe Thomas

Tonight! Seriously! FREE PIZZA from the PizzaHacker

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It’s an impressive thing that Bernal Heights was just named the 2014 Numero Uno Hottest Sexiest Neighborhood in the United States, because that award was given to us before the very delicious PizzaHacker opened for business on Mission at 29th Street.

Today, the PizzaHacker is having its grand opening. That’s great news for pizza lovers, but it may also put Bernal on track to become the Numero Uno Hottest Sexiest Neighborhood in the Entire Galaxy by 2015.

And on top of all the good news, there is one more tasty tidbit to share: Tonight, January 16, 2014, the Pizza Hacker will say hello to Bernal Heights by serving pizza for free.

You read that correctly: PIZZA FOR FREE

The PizzaHacker’s Jimmy Simpson tells Bernalwood:

We just finished painting and the bar is done, so we are having an opening party tomorrow for the Bernal residents. We told a few people, but mainly we wanted to invite locals to try the pizza and introduce ourselves.

We are going to charge for drinks but the pizza will be free. Word on the street is that we are opening at 6 but any Bernal resident is welcome to show up at starting at 5.

So bold. So simple: Free pizza. Tonight. Courtesy of the Pizza Hacker at 3299 Mission Street at 29th. No coupon required, but displays of the secret Bernal Heights hand signal are strongly encouraged.

They’re expecting you.

PHOTO: A marinara pizza from the Pizza Hacker, by Telstar Logistics

GreenLid Fills Green, Smoothie-Sized Void at 331 Cortland

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Bernalwood must have slept through the alarm, because somehow we missed the news that GreenLid Smoothies had opened in the glamorous 331 Cortland food marketplace. But for the fact that we recently had to refill our supply of Paulie’s Pickles, it might have taken even longer for us to bring you this important green drink news. For this Bernalwood can only apologize.

Regardless, lovers of blended green kale-based smoothie drinks will be pleased to know that Andrea Talley has opened her GreenLid kiosk in 311 Cortland. She tells us:

Neighbors and fellow green juice lovers,

There is a green mmoothie bar located in Bernal Heights! It’s in the marketplace at 331 Cortland Avenue. At long last the wait is over.

What’s a green smoothie, you ask? Unlike juice, green smoothies maintain all of the fiber and nutrients of the whole fruit and leafy green. Each smoothie is made with fresh, local fruit and vegetables like kale, avocado, apples and oranges. There are no added sugars, no preservatives and each smoothie is gluten-free and vegan!

GreenLid Smoothies began making fresh, all natural green goodness last year- delivering smoothies to commercial offices around the city. Toward the end of the year, they decided to open the doors to the public. When you go to the smoothie bar, you’ll see (and recognize) every ingredient that goes into the blender and taste the freshness.

Right now there are three flavors on the menu: Almond Banana, Apple Ginger and Orange Mango. These smoothies are seriously good! Check them out at 331 Cortland Avenue.

PHOTO: Andrea Talley, by Telstar Logistics

“PizzaHacker” Opening in Bernal, Ending Our Pizza Deprivation

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Citizens of Bernalwood, our long neighborhood nightmare of subpar pizza has come to an end. No longer shall we have to venture beyond the cozy confines of our familiar Bernal terrain to enjoy pizza done right. Destiny and market opportunity have conspired to bring us some very fine pizza. Rejoice!

The PizzaHacker is setting up shop at 3299 Mission Street at 29th, in  the former bank building that was formerly home to Inca’s Peruvian restaurant after it was formerly home to a record store. The PizzaHacker is Jeff Krupman, and he’s not new to the pizza game, having spent the last few years doing pop-ups around town. Foodie critics love love love him, but now he’s planting roots in Bernal Heights, and I’m here to tell you, we are extremely fortunate.

The PizzaHacker will be open for a soft-launch tonight and tomorrow, Friday 12/20 and Saturday 12/21, but we’ll get to that in a moment.

First, let’s talk about the pizza…

Your Bernalwood editor visited the PizzaHacker last night to sample the merchandise. Apart from the installation of a new pizza oven, the old Inca’s space remains largely unchanged for now.

PizzaHacker Jeff was there, so I introduced myself and I ordered a straight-up Marinara pizza to-go. The pie cost $15, and apparently, I was the PizzaHacker’s very first paying customer in the new space. Whoohoo!

Bernalwood’s Cub Reporter was waiting eagerly when I got home, so we quickly began our taste test. The Cub Reporter spent a lot of time studying the pizza arts during summer sojourns on the greasy streets of New York and New Jersey, so her palette in these matters is impeccable. And after just one bite, we both declared our pizza from the PizzaHacker to be “OMG! INCREDIBLE!!”

Here’s the Cub Reporter conducting her taste test:

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And here’s why our pizza was excellent:

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No joke, that was by far the best pizza I’ve had in San Francisco in recent memory. Rejoice!

PizzaHacker business partner Jimmy explains the restaurant’s plan for the next few weeks:

Right now we are still working on the space and will be serving pizza here and there to test things out.  After the soft-opening on Saturday, we are going to shut down completely to build out the bar and work out any finishing touches. We hope to be fully open and servicing the Bernal Community by January 15th. All in all its going to be a pretty simple restaurant.  A few pizzas, a salad or two, beer and wine on tap.

So there you have it.

Run! — don’t walk! — to the PizzaHacker tonight and tomorrow night on Mission at 29th to taste a preview of the coming attractions. Then rest assured that Bernal will soon be home to a pizza place we can all be proud of… at last.

Thank you, PizzaHacker, and welcome to Bernal Heights.

PHOTOS: Telstar Logistics

Cold-Pressed Raw Juice Pop-Up Opens at Hillside Supper Club

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The Hillside Supper Club on the western end of Precita Park began life as a pop-up restaurant, but now it is hosting one of its own. Which is sweet.

Thistle is a weekday cold-pressed juice pop-up operating out of Hillside Supper Club on Monday through Friday from  7 am to 4 pm. Neighbor Ashwin is one of the partners in Thistle, and he tells us:

My partners and I are launching a new health and organic brand called Thistle with our first product being a high quality 100% raw cold-pressed juice. We craft our juice in Berkeley and maintain a commitment to using local, organic and sustainable ingredients. Through farmer’s markets and sourcing with intention, we seek out and develop relationships with only local purveyors who share our commitment to promoting individual health and a healthy environment. We are currently working on developing our branding material but we have a basic website up .

I met Tony and Jonathan [from HSC] through another project on which I am working called WeGoFair, and we wrote a piece about Hillside Supper Club and their commitment to sustainability.

When we started working on Thistle, these guys were on the top of our list to reach out to to discuss partnering. If that wasn’t enough, my wife and I moved to Bernal last month (Folsom + Ripley) and now HSC is a short walk down the hill. (The walk back feels less short.)

It sounds rather awesome.

Still, if you happen to see Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein sipping juice at Thistle, just smile and try not to seem surprised.

PHOTOS: Courtesy of Thistle