At first glance, it seemed more than a little discouraging when I googled Bayview Hunter’s Point Food", the first 5 sites to pop-up were all crap: McDonalds, KFC... the least offensive was Subway. After that, there was a local burger joint... a little better. But as I kept scrolling, the real taste of this off-the-beaten track SF neighborhood starting to bubble up, like a beautiful, shimmering layer of rich fat on a homemade chicken broth. From the expected (Frisco Fried features soul-food favorites like Chicken & Waffles and Carmelized Butter Crab) to the unexpected ( Gratta Wines is a compact winery), the list is long and really interesting. This proved to be a case of "as Google goes, so goes the neighborhood": sometimes you have to dig a little deeper to get to the good part, in this case, good food, which may not yet be top-of-mind when it comes to San Francisco's predominantly African-American neighborhood of Bayview Hunter’s Point.
The burgeoning Bayview Hunter’s Point food scene got a big boost when Radio Africa opened their location on Third St., and brought much-deserved attention to the area. Radio's Africa's Chef Eskender Aseged is a real talent and has captured the attention of the press, locally in the SF Chronicle and the Bay Area Guardian, and even nationally in HuffPost and the NY Times. Radio Africa & Kitchen (4800 Third St.) is "named for the ritual of sitting around the radio over snacks and conversation in his Ethiopian hometown" said Chef Aseged in a HuffPost interview last year. His North African cuisine is known for its fresh, local ingredients.
"A typical meal might include cauliflower soup with smoked paprika, wild barramundi with pistachio salsa and roasted pears with SF rooftop honey, hibiscus and vanilla ice cream", the interview continues with this reason for opening in the Bayview Hunter’s Point, "I wanted a neighborhood that was quieter and more up-and-coming than the Mission. I love the Mission but it's too much –- too busy, too saturated. We can do something bigger in Bayview Hunter’s Point".
What is the most exciting about this, beyond the obvious commercial benefit to a neighbor that badly needs it, is the opportunity to populate what has essentially been a food desert, or at least a food swamp with local purveyors of good food. This is a real community effort, providing opportunities not just to those who are not from the Bayview Hunter’s Point but are willing to take a chance there, but also for local entrepreneurs to sparkle. If change comes to neighborhoods like this, where we know there are health problems related to obesity and poor eating from within, it has a real chance to stick and be successful. After all, eating food prepared by a neighbor is just that, sitting down with friends. It feels natural, not forced, it feels good!
A perfect example of this fusion on community-building and food is Cora Jean’s Old School Café (1429 Mendell St.), which bills itself as a “Youth-run Supper Club”. One reviewer on Open Table described OSC as where “Social justice meets great food”. Old Skool provides job and training and paid apprenticeships for at-risk, urban youth, ages 16-22, in an 1940’s styled supper club, “confront[ing] the epidemic of violence by providing at- risk and previously incarcerated and foster care youth with a variety of career opportunities that would normally not be afforded them”. This effort to “re-connect the village” is a holistic approach that touches the very heart of what the Bayview Hunter’s Point food movement is all about.
And don’t think for a minute that food or the atmosphere at OSC is any less impressive than the program, itself. With an imaginative menu, which includes dishes such as Abu's West African Peanut Butter Stew (chunky chicken, creamy peanut butter, fresh herbs, coconut milk, topped with fried garlic chips and diced tomatoes) as well as old favorites like Pan Seared Shrimp N Smoky Cheese Grits, an award winning dish, (topped with Spanish chorizo & scallions) and Baby Back Ribs made blackstrap molasses & speakeasy beer BBQ sauce. There are also plenty of vegetarian options. Here’s is what people are saying about this spot,
“We came the first time to support a great cause, but we came back for the food! Both our recent visits to Old Skool were highlighted by live music, friendly service, and fantastic food. The servers are friendly and eager to help, just keep in mind that these are kids who are training for job skills. Occasionally there might be a stumble, but they are eager to please and correct any service missteps. I highly recommend the peanut butter stew, brussel sprout and kale salad, and shrimp and grits. Next on my list to try is the fried chicken- another table ordered it and it looked and smelled amazing! We'll be back!"
Home to numerous artists and artisan food producers, the Bayview Hunter’s Point is a little known gem in San Francisco. For decades this community has been home to many talents, and a pop up market next week will allow residents and visitors alike to sample and enjoy some of San Francisco’s best local producers.
All Good Pizza to Host the Third Bayview Hunter’s Point Mercantile Pop Up Market Event
This will be the third of a series of pop up markets, taking place this coming Sunday, September 8th from 11 am to 4pm, in the sunny Bayview Hunter’s Point district. Celebrating the wonderful diversity of one of San Francisco’s most eclectic communities, the event will feature gourmet food, San Francisco-made wine, art and music. Many are pop-ups, so take advantage of this opportunity to "catch" them.
- All Good Pizza 1605 Jerrold Avenue at Newhall- this business started with the desire to bring delicious, healthy food to the ever-expanding Bayview Hunter’s Point dining options of this San Francisco district. For residents of the 94124, food choices had been somewhat limited. The owners of All Good felt the area lacked a "good, sincere pizza" spot. So they talked to their neighbors and they agreed: "we need great pizza! So we’re doing it, Neapolitan style, and we know you’ll love it".
"All of our food is made from scratch, utilizing age old recipes borrowed from friends, adapted from local favorites, or invented in our kitchen on Hudson Avenue. The menu changes frequently based on what’s in season and we use locally sourced organic produce and products from vendors right in the 94124 like Veritable Vegetable and Crepe and Brioche. We serve brick oven pizza, paninis, links, and fresh salads. We have a kick ass smoker lent to us by the amazing Evergood Fine Foods company- makers of the world's best sausages and residents of the 94124 for over 80 years".
- Batter Bakery- a boutique bakery specializing in unique, handcrafted baked goods. All of our sweets are made using premium ingredients and fresh, seasonal flavors. Baked in small batches.
- Bueno Eats
- Comfort Foods National- It's no surprise that everyone has a favorite CFN chicken salad. We're taking PRE-ORDERS for this weekend's Bayview Hunter’s Point Mercantile Pop Up Market at All Good Pizza. Just reply to this post. Everyone will want to know your favorite!!! Cranberry Curry Pecan, Citrus Apricot Almond, or Smoked Cocoa Chile Mesquite. All salads are yogurt-based, health conscious and part of our Lifestyle Comfort fresh foods - energizing - no weighing you down and no snoozing allowed! Founder and co-chef (with her husband) Angelique Tompkins explains CFN’s point-of-view,
“I had a new customer who told me that our chicken salad was his new indulgence...from that we talked about it being healthy and the health benefits of yogurt…. I have another customer who is a Weight Watchers's coach and said he would have no problem recommending our chicken salads to his group".
Available to take home in 8oz containers - $7 each or 3 for $20, as well as a “dine-in” option at the event.
- Earl’s Bread - Naturally leavened Challah bread will be ready in limited quantities on September 5th for pickup (check FB page for where). Choose your favorite location and enjoy! I will also be at the first Pop Up Community Market on September 5th and challah can be picked up there as well. These loaves will be $7.00 and will be baked in rounds for the high holidays. L’shanah tovah! From Earl's FB page, "Challah will have raisins and/or dates, please let me know me know what you prefer: the bread without or if there are any allergies. Please make a note of this in the comments section when you order. Thanks!"
- Yvonne’s Southern Sweets- inspired by her late grandmother Vermell Hines, Yvonne Hines has been living out a family legacy of serving mouth-watering homemade southern sweets since 2003.A San Francisco native, Yvonne began at home sharing her special recipe of pralines, a confection pecan candy originating from the Old South. Perfecting a recipe given by a close family friend, Yvonne began sharing her creations with family, friends and co-workers. Everyone who sampled her pralines would rant and rave of the delicious authentic flavor and encouraged Yvonne to share her tasty treats with others. She opened her Bayview Hunter’s Point location in 2006.
- Gratta Wines- Beginning with sustainably grown grapes from the old vines of Teldeschi Vineyards in Dry Creek Valley, through the crush, fermentation, pressing, barreling and bottling, each step is done by hand. In Italian, Gratta means "from scratch". Our wines are made with a gentle hand encouraging the natural process to evolve. Gratta Wines are produced in the spirit of my grandmother's philosophy...she would always say "What recipe? Just do like this."
So see you, this Sunday, at the corner of Jerrold and 3rd!