Pinhole Coffee Has Finally Opened, and It Is Awesome


It was nine months ago when we first noticed the papered-over windows of 231 Cortland foretelling the coming of an intriguing-sounding cafe. Late last week, Pinhole Coffee’s doors officially opened for business, and by all reports, it is awesome.

Founded by JoEllen Depakakibo, Pinhole carries coffee from Linea Caffe, the baby of coffee-world superstar Andrew Barnett. This reporter was rather enamored of the Piccolo, a 1:1 ratio of milk and espresso in one of these pleasing little glasses.

The new kid on the block is also quite lovely, with stools made of acacia stumps, a mural by JoEllen’s brother Joey D, a wall of colorful stripes by local artist Leah Rosenberg, and a pegboard of succulents by Bernal’s own Succulence.

Speaking of Cortland connections, among the treats on offer at Pinhole is Anna’s Daughters Chocolate Rye Bark (yum!), made by the mother of New Wheel co-owner Karen Weiner.

And for those wondering where the cafe’s name comes from, as JoEllen explained it to coffee blog Sprudge,

Pinhole takes its name from photography, another of my appreciations. My brother Joey D in Chicago created my logo, and his wife Jen designed my business cards out of a thin strip of walnut–they have a pinhole that you can put over your camera or phone and it creates a pinhole image. I individually hole punch the cards each morning before I start my day.

Pinhole is open 6:30 a.m. till 5 p.m. on weekdays; 7:30 a.m. till 5 p.m. on weekends.

PHOTOS: JoEllen, by Telstar Logistics. Piccolo glasses and Leah Rosenberg wall, via Facebook.

Bernal Rockstar Dan The Automator Talks with NPR About “Got a Girl,” His New Musical Collaboration


As we all know, everyone who lives in Bernal Heights is a rockstar. But some express it more than others.

Music producer Dan Nakamura — aka Dan The Automator — is a Bernal resident who is famous in the music biz for the work he did to give artists like Deltron 3030, the Gorillaz, Del the Funky Homosapien, and Handsome Boy Modeling School their distinctive sounds. His latest collaboration is a band called Got a Girl that he created with actress Mary Elizabeth Winstead.

Got a Girl just released their first album, called “I Love You But I Must Drive Off This Cliff.” (IMPORTANT LIABILITY NOTICE: Any relation to recent events on Bernal Hill is strictly coincidental.)

This week, Neighbor Dan talked about Got a Girl on NPR’s All Things Considered:

Chance encounters can lead to profound changes in people’s lives. Just ask actress Mary Elizabeth Winstead.

She was shooting Scott Pilgrim vs. the World opposite Michael Cera when one of the film’s music consultants befriended her. He’d heard rumors she was also a talented singer, so he checked out a video of her belting out a tune in Quentin Tarantino’s Death Proof.

That person happened to be Dan “The Automator” Nakamura, the hot-shot producer known to pop and hip-hop fans for his work with Gorillaz and Del the Funky Homosapien. The two struck up a friendship, and a musical partnership was born: Got a Girl.

The newly formed duo just released its first album, I Love You But I Must Drive Off This Cliff.” Now, which draws on the members’ shared love for 1960s French pop.

You can listen to the entire interview here.

Bernalwood’s favorite track from Got a Girl’s new album is called “There’s a Revolution,” and it’s infectiously funky, frenchy, and James Bondtastic:

For the visually inclined, here’s the video for Got a Girl’s “Did We Live too Fast”:

Congrats, Neighbor Dan!

Mae Krua Kiosk Coming Soon to 331 Cortland, for Thai Food Like Grandma Used to Make


This is Anucha Kongthavorn, and he preparing to set up shop in the fabulous 331 Cortland marketplace. His business will be called Mae Krua, and he will serve up Thai food like grandma used to make. Anucha tells Bernalwood:

My name is Anucha Kongthavorn and I’m originally from Thailand. I’ve loved to cook since I was a child. I spent a lot of my early years watching her cook. She always consistently cooked the most delicious food and I strive to be like her. Every weekend, my mother left me with her and I always helped her to prepare. I fell in love with the joy of cooking watching my grandmother work long hours in a traditional Thai restaurant. That is where I learned how to cook authentic Thai food.

To me America is the land for opportunity, coming from a poor family, I independently moved to San Francisco to make my dream come true. I went to City College of San Francisco (CCSF) and worked ay the same time to earn experience and know what’s it’s like to cook for Americans and adapt to the culture. I always keep my eye on this dream. I worked at Thaistick in San Francisco and Millbrae for 6.5 years. I have never had a business of my own, but it is still part of my dream.

In Thai, Mae Krua means a women who cooks to serve for her family. This is the name I’d choose for my business. Mae means mother. Kua means kitchen.

I love to present my food to people to people who live here so they can try authentic Thai food that is different and unique to what I’ve learned from my Grandmother and what I’ve learned here in America. My kiosk is going to serve only unique food which is adapted from my own experiences and my Grandmother’s recipes. They will love to have this food and bring it home for their loved ones.

I make a Curry Rice Balls stuffed with fine cheeses. These will be a delight for people who are vegetarian. Some will also be made with Tofu and Bean Cake. I will serve salad with my own dressing such as Curry Dressing and Sesame Dressing. The community will love to try my food because it will both be healthy and delicious.

I will be very happy if you decide to give me a chance to start my own business with you, even though I have never had a business here. I think you would be very pleased to have me as an addition as well.

Helpfully, Anucha also shared this launch menu:


PHOTO: Anucha Kongthavorn by Anucha Kongthavorn

3rd Cousin, Formerly Kinfolk, Launches Restaurant Kickstarter Campaign


There’s yet another Kickstarter campaign underway for a new Cortland restaurant going in to the old Pizza Express space. Formerly known as Kinfolk, the new restaurant will be called 3rd Cousin, and chef (and founder) Greg Lutes brings the details:

Since you have been following Kinfolk on Bernalwood, I’m sending you a link to my Kickstarter campaign. In addition to a new permanent home, Kinfolk is being renamed 3rd Cousin. With the new name, comes lots of community involvement and support, including Windows from A.G. River, local wines from Brian Harrington, video by Steve Sisler and a new logo designed by Bernal Heights own beloved artist, Toby Klayman. I’m very excited to finally be putting down permanent roots in the neighborhood and look forward to continued service to the residents of Bernal Heights and surrounding areas.

Here’s the summary, from the Kickstarter campaign page:

My goal is to provide a Michelin quality, fine-dining experience in a relaxed and welcoming family atmosphere. As a chef, my greatest joy is interacting with my customers throughout the meal service, sharing their experiences of the culinary partnership we have created.

I started Kinfolk out of desire to share my passion for creative organic food, and I continue to refine my unique take on New American/Californian cuisine. The concept has really taken off, and people really came out and supported me — and they continue to support me by dining with me and keeping the dream alive.

After 6 months of cooking from the heart — bringing folks together and creating community one plate at a time — I’ve been fortunate enough to find a permanent home for my pop-up Kinfolk, at 919 Cortland Avenue, just a few doors away from where I am currently cooking 903 Cortland. With the move and the new space we decided to give it a new name: 3rd Cousin.

You can back Chef Greg’s Kickststarter effort here.

New Andi’s Market Opens in Old Storefront on Cortland


Neighbor Andrea Cohen lives on Elsie, and she recently took over the former JC Market at 820 Cortland. Now renamed Andi’s Market, Neighbor Andrea tells us more about her plans for the business:

I took over 3 months ago. We FINALLY got our sign up on April 23, replacing the old JC Super sign; we expect the new awning within the next week and a half.

We’ve gotten an unparalleled amount of support and goodwill from neighbors. The store is getting scrubbed from head to toe; huge volumes of expired inventory purged from the shelves. Its cleaner, brighter. But slow going, so pardon our dust. Although it looks a bit empty, theres actually more food on the shelves than there’s been in years. For real.

My goal is to welcome the diversity of the neighborhood into the store by focusing on convenience and value. And that’s a daunting task. There are Filipino, Latino, union worker, and more recent Bernalese folks. But everyone needs a convenience store open early, closing late and having necessities–from ice cream, frozen food, snacks, beer, to little drugstore and hardware things. We’ll try to do this by having some pallet sales, sensible prices and ease of shopping on Cortland. Oh, and did I mention the deli? Its coming. Don’t have a date, but soon. Simple, down to earth, two-handed sandwiches and prepared foods.

Keeping lots of the old products–traditional snacks and convenience foods, but gradually adding in the foods neighbors request, like organic milk and basic healthy alternatives. More family oriented products. We love hearing what those requests are, so please stop in and let us know the kinds of things you’d like to see in the store

The building is this historic and really large space. It was built as a Safeway in 1926, and then in the 1970’s, the landlord (at that time he ran the grocery) took a crane and lifted 2 truck trailers over the houses in back to create permanent warehouse space. As we get the store running more smoothly and get to know our customers, we are thinking of lots of innovative way to best use the volume of space we have.

Me and most of the workers live in Bernal, so community isn’t just a buzzword–its a truth.

UPDATE: No fair to mention that the store used to be a Safeway, without providing a photo. So here you go; you can see Safeway/JC Market/Andi’s just left of the old Cortland Theater:

BERNAL1045 Cortland

PHOTO: Courtesy of Andi’s Market

New Red Hill Station Seafood Restaurant Coming to Cortland


Alongside the planned perma-Kinfolk, EaterSF brings the news that Bernal Neighbors Taylor Pederson and Amy Reticker plan to open a new seafood restaurant at 803 Cortland, in the soon-to-be-former Blue Star Elephant space:

The new restaurant will be taking over from Thai spot Blue Star Elephant, which will shutter at the end of this month. Named for the Bernal neighborhood’s nickname of ‘Red Hill’, the new spot will be seafood-focused, with a raw bar (think oysters and clams) plus a rotating menu of seasonal, California-style cuisine. Pederson will helm the kitchen, and hopes to focus on sustainably-sourced seafood.

The new space will also serve as a fish market of sorts. Reticker, who’ll be running the front-of-house operations, says they hope to open at 4pm daily with an offering of market fish so that people can drop in, learn cooking tips from the seafood pros and take home something to prepare for dinner themselves.

In the meantime, Red Hill Station has planted flags on the Twitter, the Facebook, and the Interwebs. There’s a late February Facebook post which says:

we are excited and pleased to announce the birth of “Red Hill Station”!

we will be a small, 28 seat neighborhood place

there will be a raw bar, oysters, clams, mussels, tartares, in addition to an 8 item menu which will change daily…we plan on doing brunch saturdays and sundays.

New Mural, Very Hot Pink, Now Complete on Helipad House


The paint is dry and the scaffolding has come down. And now, the new mural is complete on the facade of the Helipad House at the tippy-top of Folsom Street just below Bernal Hill.

As you no doubt recall, the mural was created and executed by Casey O’Connell, on behalf of Neighbor Scott and Neighbor Regina, who encouraged the artist to do her thing.

The result is very pink, which will be terrific news to all pink fans in Bernalwood. It’s also gritty and cute, all at the same time.

Plus, the cool lady with her finger in the shark’s eyeball has a cool tattoo that says… YOU:


Fortunately, the shark does not seem particularly upset by the presence of the finger in its eyeball:


And if you look closely, there’s a San Francisco skyline in the shark’s teeth:


What does it all mean???!!!  What is the message??? What is it telling us???

As we contemplate such deeper questions, this much is certain: All of us now have a new piece of art to ponder, discuss, and debate. Some of us will cheer. Some of us will not. But all of us will say: Hot pink!

PS: In case you missed it during brunch, Neighbor Scott and Regina’s Helipad House also appeared in last weekend’s Sunday New York Times Magazine.  In this way, hundreds of thousands of brunch-eaters across America and around the globe were introduced to Bernal’s own… Junior Neighbor Iris!


That’s it. Bernalwood is calling it, right here: New mural + NYT Mag shout-out = PEAK GLAMOR. This is our moment.

MURAL PHOTOS: Telstar Logistics