The Bayview, located in the Southeastern corner of the City, is one of the neighborhoods with the highest percentage of homeowners in San Francisco. As a result, it’s a close-knit community where lifelong and new neighbors walking down 3rd Street — the main avenue — stop to catch up. It’s on this street that a group of community-driven, small business owners collaborates together to drive the Bayview forward while maintaining its culture and character. These small business owners are all residents in their own right, creating their goods in the neighborhood for the neighborhood:
April from Auntie April’s Chicken, Waffles, and Soulfood
Born and raised in Bayview, April Spears wanted to make sure her business enabled her to invest back into the community and support the other merchants who were doing the same.
“I chose this location to have my business basically to have a positive image for kids to look up to. I wanted to counter any negative images [of the Bayview] with more positive ones.” – April Spears
Starting Auntie April’s in 2006 with a small takeout-only restaurant, April is an original small business owner in the Bayview, making her soul food from family recipes. “It’s my grandfather’s gumbo and jambalaya, my grandmother’s turkey and dressing and her own shrimp and grits.” It’s this homemade food and unwavering community support that connects April to all projects in the Bayview area.
“We have been able to see the benefits of coming together and working together as a community and that bridges generations and differences,” shared Spears. And that has moved beyond benefiting the community into bringing more tourism. “I’ve gained some customers from Airbnb hosts. I think it’s awesome we are having people coming and staying in the community.”
Josh from Bayview Pasta and Barbara from Gratta Wine
Every third Saturday of the month, you can find these two makers doing what they love — bringing together people, serving pasta, and pouring wine. Barbara Gratta of Gratta Wines has been making wine in her garage in the Bayview neighborhood for nearly 20 years. In 2015, she expanded the operation with a tasting room just off 3rd Street.
Josh’s story begins in the same way, just a few years later. After a successful stint in the restaurant business, Josh Felciano started his hand-milled pasta business, Bayview Pasta, about five years ago out of his home in an effort to bring healthy, fresh alternatives to the neighborhood. The collaboration you find between the Bayview makers is as natural as combining pasta and wine so it was easy to imagine “Bayview Pasta Meets Gratta Wine.” A Saturday evening opportunity each month to try fresh pasta and neighborhood wine brings neighbors from around the area together.
“This is a small town and we all have things to help each other out with.” – Barbara Gratta
The camaraderie and the spirit of the neighborhood are palpable in Barbara and Josh’s partnership and they speak of it as something they plan to grow and continue to develop. “I think our collaboration has only in some ways just begun because we’re now expanding past our threshold of being here in this [tasting room] space.”
Nate from Public Glass and Kristin from All Good Pizza
It’s not just in food and beverage pairings that you can find collaboration by Bayview makers in the neighborhood. The Fire Pit Project comes out of a collaboration between Kristin Houk, owner of All Good Pizza, and Public Glass, San Francisco’s center or glass, art, and education. The event takes place in the outside garden of All Good Pizza, full of string lights and succulents, centered around a hot furnace around which artists would blow glass.
“The intention of it really was to create a safe space in Bayview where people can spend time outside and for the neighborhood to have a place to hang out.” — Kristin Houk
The two agree that the project came along organically. “I felt like everyone was welcome at All Good Pizza and treated well, and really mimicked either what we were doing or what we aspired to do,” expressed Nate. The shared goal was to bring people in the neighborhood together more often and over food, giving them an opportunity to spend time in the evening connecting with old friends and making new ones.
Neighbors say of Kristen that she spearheaded the idea that you can really do a business out here if you wanted to with All Good Pizza. A 15-year resident of the Bayview, when Kristin opened All Good Pizza, she knew she didn’t want to have her business anywhere else. Nate, from Public Glass, describes a similar approach to why Public Glass planted its roots in the Bayview. “The neighborhood and our mission are such a nice match — there is no neighborhood we would rather serve.” Driven to support their neighborhood, the Fire Pit Project is a collaboration of two craftsmen passionate about working together to give back.
While the opportunities are growing, “there is not a lot of activity at night time in the Bayview so it was nice to have something that offered that.” The intentions to work in the neighborhood, for the neighborhood, drives these events.
The collective, collaborative spirit of the Bayview backdoor craftsmen is powerful, and the projects they take on together to better the community are only getting started. “All of us want more for the community.”
“It is our goal to maintain it as a family oriented, community-focused neighborhood.”