Shish Ke Baba makes the Yelp Top 100 of 2020 list (#12)

Every year, Yelp puts out a list of the top restaurants of the year based on the following criteria:

To determine Yelp’s Top Places to Eat in 2020, Yelp’s data science team pulled the top restaurants by ratings and number of reviews in 2019 across the U.S., with representation based on each place’s share of top-rated restaurants nationally, then curated the list with the expertise of our Community Managers around the country to finalize the rankings.

Brenae Leary, https://blog.yelp.com/2020/01/yelps-top-100-places-to-eat-2020

This heavy dependence on high Yelp reviews ends up making for a pretty unique list that tends to favor more casual neighborhood faves.


Yelp just released their 2020 list earlier today, and Bernal Heights’s own Shish Ke Baba was the lone San Francisco restaurant clocking in at #12!

The mustachioed Turkish Grill still maintains a 5-star average on Yelp even after over 200 reviews (in fact at the time of writing, 92% of the reviews were perfect scores).

I’ve personally been derelict in my dolma duties and haven’t stopped by yet, but believe you me that’s gonna change. Yelpers seem to love the friendly owners and service, the delectable dips, and the moist meats, and there are plenty of claims that it’s the best Turkish food around.

I honestly thought that the 30th and San Jose corner was cursed to forever be the home of a pizza places whose names changed with the seasons, but it appears we have a kebab-filled fan-favorite that’s hopefully here for the long haul.

Another Cortland Closure: Bernalese heading to retirement

For us Cortland dwellers, it’s been a bit of a tough year for businesses on the avenue (RIP Heartfelt, Hunan Chef, 331, Discount Club, etc). Sadly, as announced on Instagram Saturday, Bernalese will be the latest store to shutter.

While there’s no official end date yet, the following note was posted to the shop window:

There was a great deep dive on Bernalese posted to bernalheights.com over a year ago, and in the article the owners Matt and Sean talked about how they wanted to take their love of antiques and turn it into a retirement gig. It appears now that the true retirement bug has bit them, and thus Bernalese goes as they go.

Personally, I’ll be there this weekend to pick up some of the killer barware (hello coupe glasses and tiki mugs) at 50% off, and I’ll also be wishing Matt and Sean best of luck with whatever the future holds.


Hear about a closure or opening in Bernal Heights? Please email bernalhype@gmail.com so that I can follow-up and write a post. Thanks to neighbor Julie for the tip here!

Time to ditch that Christmas tree

2019 has come and gone, and with it so has the season of homes filled with fir and spruce varietals. Now that it’s 2020 and time to pack up ornaments, what’s a Yuletide reveler to do with their tree?

Lucky for us Bernal residents, Recology offers free treecycling from January 2nd until January 15th: https://sfenvironment.org/treecycle

All you have to do to ensure your tree gets picked up and disposed of properly is the following:

  • Place clean, unflocked trees curbside the night before your scheduled collection day
  • Remove all tinsel, decorations, plastic bags, stands, and lights.
  • If your tree measures more than 6 feet tall, cut it in half before putting it on the curb.

So what does Recology do with the 500 tons of trees it expects to collect this year? According to SFExaminer:

They haul the trees to Recology’s transfer and recycling station at 501 Tunnel Ave. near the former Candlestick Park. There, Recology feeds all the trees into a ginder [sic], turning them into wood chips. The chips are then transported to Recology Blossom Valley Organics near Modesto where they are turned into mulch and sold for commercial projects or use in public parks.

“Christmas trees contain pine pitch. That makes it difficult to compost, but great for commercial landscaping projects because the pitch in the finished mulch helps suppress weeds at landscaping projects,” Reed said.

Joshua Sabatini, SF Examiner

Ring in 2020 without leaving the comfort of Bernal

Have you procrastinated accomplishing your 2019 resolutions? Setting your 2020 resolutions? Unfortunately I’m ill-equipped to help you with either of those. However, if you put off planning your New Year’s Eve celebrations then let Bernal Hype be your guide to bridge the Gregorian gap.

I’ve digitally crawled the Bernal Bar scene to compile the following list of places who have events the night of 12/31:








While these were the only events I was able to find, here are other places open past midnight tomorrow where you can create your own special New Year’s Eve memories:

  • Holy Water
  • St. Mary’s Pub
  • Wild Side West
  • Old Devil Moon
  • Rock Bar
  • Lucita’s Niteclub

Hope everyone’s 2020 starts strong and remains that way. Stay safe and have a happy new year!

Hunan Chef owners call it quits after 23 years

Strolling down Cortland Ave today, I noticed a new sign up in the window at Hunan Chef with the following message:

Dear Customers,

We are retiring on Sunday, Dec 22 (our last day). We’ve enjoyed serving you for the last 23 years! Thank you for your support. Have a Merry Christmas and a wonderful new year!

THANKS TO ALL

Sam & Susie

At this point I don’t have any additional info on the location or what’s next for Sam & Susie, but here’s wishing them well in their retirement!

Six Shops in One: Holiday Pop-Up at Heartfelt until 12/24

When I saw the letter about Heartfelt calling it quits at the 436 Cortland Ave location, I honestly felt pretty heartbroken. Where would I go should I need a last minute card for a birthday that I definitely did not forget? Sure you could still order things on the Heartfelt website, but nothing beat wandering around the store and convincing yourself that someone in your life absolutely needed a “noveltea” loose-leaf infuser or a break-your-own-geode.

Luckily for us, Heartfelt has thrown open the doors from 11am-7pm daily for six women-owned outlets to host their wares this holiday season (through at least December 24th). Below I’ll be doing a quick rundown of who you’ll find and what they sell:

Store #1: Wink SF

Wink is not dissimilar to Heartfelt itself. You may have heard of them before as they have a brick & mortar in Noe Valley at 4107 24th St. Wink has a bit of everything, and I found that their About section seems to cover it all nice and succinctly:

Think of it as your favorite museum store on overload. Travel gear and messenger bags by Jack Spade and Orla Kiely are mixed in with Malin + Goetz products, kitchen gadgets and a well-selected assortment of greeting cards

Marcy Israel and Teresa Hagiya, Wink SF

Store #2: Crystal & Gold

Crystal & Gold is the creation of Roxanne Miranda, who describes herself as a jewelry artist, mindset coach, and meditation guide.

The collection is handcrafted jewelry centered around natural crystals, with each piece being as unique as the crystals themselves.

Store #3: Handsome

Handsome is all about seeking zero waste. Stephanie Ciancio is the owner and is herself a consultant for getting your own home de-cluttered and on a path to less waste. This shop has products ranging from mason jars and bulk bags to reusable water bottles and coffee mugs.

Store #4: Beijo Brasil

From glass rings to patches to necklaces of enamel and metal, Beijo Brasil has an array of jewelry and other wearables to match your style. Misty Marie is the owner here and has been running this business since 2002.

Store #5: Josie Carter Designs

Josie Carter is a Bernal artist who makes customized art out of transformed objects like furniture, vases, jewelry boxes, and much more. She had a number of custom scarves/shawls at her location as well when I stopped by earlier this week.

Store #6: Recycled Glass Works

Lauren Becker is all about taking existing glass products (mostly window-glass) and transforming them into something special. She uses no brand-new materials, and yet her work looks like it was created from scratch.

She had a variety of bowls, plates, and platters at the pop-up shop, and you could always order more from her website (including setting up a unique wedding registry).

As mentioned above, this pop-up is running through Christmas Eve, so make sure you stop by in the next few days before we return to the world without Heartfelt on Cortland.

Help needed to recover a stolen pup

During a Saturday afternoon stroll with my big puppy pal, I noticed a whole host of flyers posted around the neighborhood with the following message:

It’s obviously incredibly heartbreaking to have your furry best friend go missing, but having them stolen while running a routine errand at a heavily foot-trafficked place like Good Life is a whole other ordeal.

As mentioned on the flyer, Jackson is a 30lb Mini Aussie with blue eyes (as really seen below), and the current reward is offered at $5000 if found. I’ve been following posts on Instagram, Twitter, and Nextdoor, and as of this evening, it doesn’t appear that the dog has been found yet (though I’ll update here if I hear anything).

The owner has created a webpage for the search at bringjacksonhome.com, and has set up a GoFundMe here with proceeds going to Rocket Dog Rescue if Jackson isn’t found.

As a dog-lover who is particularly haunted by these tales, I’ll happily donate $250 to Rocket Dog Rescue if Jackson is found so that we all root for the win-win scenario here.

Barebottle now offering free co-working space 9am Mon-Fri

Ever find yourself needing a change of scenery from the home office or the office office? Annoyed that some of the 3rd wave coffee shops are anti-wifi and anti-power? **cough** Ritual, I see you with those covered outlets **cough**

Our pals down the hill at Barebottle are now opening every Monday through Friday at 9am with a wonderful co-working environment and brews of a slightly different style (think beans not hops).

I reached out to Lester and Michael, two Barebottle founders, to get more information on just what’s being offered if you spend your mornings working with them: 

– We roast our own coffee (currently a Guatemalan Huehuetenango and and Ethiopian Guji dry process) and do individual pour overs

– Mike constructed three phone booths in the lounge for quiet phone call space (including power outlets)

– We have power outlets in the building, but also power packs you can rent for free

– Free wi-fi 

– Get a lot of natural light coming in from the front of the building 

Lester Koga, Barebottle Co-Founder

– We noticed people piling into coffee shops, and felt like we could help out the Bernal community by opening up our space for people who wanted a place to work.

– It’s totally free! No reservations or membership required, just come on in.

– This is where we work as well, so if you’ve ever wanted to rub elbows with brewers, this is a great chance!

Michael Seitz, Barebottle Co-Founder

I’m a huge fan of multi-use spaces, especially in a city as square-footage challenged as San Francisco, so it’s really nice to see Barebottle taking some of their large warehouse space and opening it up to the community.

Best part of the whole deal? If you need a little break from hunching over your laptop, you can always grab a delicious beer and let off steam with some rousing table tennis, shuffleboard, cornhole, pinball or other arcade games.

Tuesday Taste of the Week #2: Pizzahacker Yo Vinny!

  • Item: Yo Vinny! Pizza
  • Location: Pizzahacker
  • Price: $18 (after tax)

Pizzahacker is one of the best pizza joints in San Francisco, a town with a LOT of good pizza joints. You honestly can’t go wrong with any of their pizzas, but the Yo Vinny! kicks it up another level, showcasing a perfect blend of salty, sweet, spicy, and tangy flavors.

The Yo Vinny! is a standard red pie of tomato sauce and mozzarella cheese topped with Marinated Onions (yum), Mama Lil’s Pickled Goathorn Peppers (double yum), and Pizzahacker’s own House-Made Hot Italian Sausage (yum^2). The sausage and goathorn peppers have just enough heat that the chewy, flaky crust becomes that much more desirable as a pit stop on the road to the next slice.

I’ve also since picked up a jar of those Mama Lil peppers, and they’re a lovely treat on a wide variety of dishes (or eaten straight from the jar as I’m often wont to do).

While it’s tempting (and usually correct) to order the Top Shelf Marg at Pizzahacker, do yourself a favor and add the Yo Vinny! to your order next time you stop in for a pie. It’s a pizza that would make Pesci proud.

Note: Every Tuesday I’ll be highlighting a particularly delectable food or drink item that I had in the neighborhood in the last week. If you have your own recommendation for something I must try, shoot me an email at bernalhype@gmail.com

Weekly Chess Night at Progressive Grounds

Want to proclaim yourself as King or Queen of the Bernal Chess scene? Looking for something fun to do one knight [sic] a week? Consider yourself a chess expert or a rook-ie? (OK I promise I’m done here)

This Wednesday night from 6-8pm at Progressive Grounds, the Bernal Chess group will be hosting their weekly event:

San Francisco chess players, let’s play and learn together! All levels and ages are welcome. Bring a chess set if you have one. There’s no charge to participate, but a purchase of food or drinks helps support our generous venue. Find out about all upcoming game nights: bernalchess.com.

http://bernalchess.com/ & https://nextdoor.com/events/3349916/

This night generally happens weekly, so make sure you sign up for the mailing list if you are interested in getting notified about when the event takes place.