The Inside Scoop: New Bi-Rite Cafe coming to Civic Center Plaza

As a result of yet another major gift, the Civic Center Commons will soon offer a street cafe to serve as a central gathering space for Commons visitors.

The San Francisco Recreation and Park Department in partnership with The Trust for Public Land and Civic Center Community Benefit District (CCCBD) announced that Helen Diller Family Foundation expanded its $10 million donation (made in 2015 to fund the design and construction of two new vibrant, state-of-the-art playgrounds), with an additional $1 million street cafe, and idea prompted by extensive outreach regarding the playgrounds.

The original gift has served as a catalyst for a renewed focus on improving and activating San Francisco’s central public spaces through the Civic Center Commons Initiative.

CCCBD selected Bi-Rite, a family-owned San Francisco institution since 1940, to be the operator of the cafe, which will provide soft serve ice cream and a variety of fresh foods.

“Creating community through food is why we exist,” said Sam Mogannam, second-generation owner of Bi-Rite. “And we’re honored to be asked to be a part of the fun and togetherness that this project is going to create in the heart of the City.”

The Street Cafe is still in design phase, but shouldn’t be too far behind the completion of the Helen Diller Civic Center Playgrounds set to open in spring of 2018. But that doesn’t mean Commons visitors had to wait to sample some of Bi-Rite’s delicious, world-renowned ice cream.

San Francisco came out in force during the October edition of Commons Thursdays to redeem the several hundred tokens—good for one flavorful cup—Bit-Rite in collaboration with CCCBD donated and distributed ahead of the October event.

The street cafe, to be located at the corner of Grove and Larkin Streets, will offer a variety of food and drink selections as well as movable tables and seating for the public to relax and enjoy recreation activities at Civic Center Plaza.

Currently in the Commons, SF Rec and Parks Department offers Zumba classes, youth soccer, adult bocce ball, adult kickball, and volleyball games as well as food trucks in partnership with Off-The-Grid on a weekly basis.

Art, music, sports, and perhaps most of all, food, are among the things we look toward in bringing people together, illuminating that which we have in common. We hungrily await the arrival of the Civic Center Street Cafe, soon to be yet another vehicle for you to find what #wehaveincommons.

Read more on SF Eater and  SF Weekly.

Asian Art Museum to Transform Café Experience with Sunday at the Museum

Opening in early Spring 2018, Chef Deuki Hong of the pop-up Sunday Bird in partnership with Andrew Chau and Bin Chen of Boba Guys is bringing Sunday at the Museum to the Asian Art Museum, a new cafe experience focused a rotating menu featuring an array of Asian cuisine – menu items will include variations of bahn mi, dosa, soup dumplings, jianbing, milk buns, fried chicken wings, bao sandwiches, khao mun gai and much more. Reflecting the Museum’s mission of developing new ways to connect diverse communities to Asian art and culture, Sunday at the Museum aims at make their menu accessible to museum patrons and the local community by celebrating the diversity and ubiquity of Asian and Asian American cuisine.

The renovated cafe is the first part of the Asian Art Museum’s $90 million expansion – this project will include a 13,000 sq.ft. pavillion, rooftop terrace and exhibition space designed by architect Kulapat Yantrasast and is scheduled to open to the public in mid-2019. Sundays at the Museum will be open to match the Museum’s hours: Tuesday—Sunday from 10 a.m. – 5 p.m., and Thursdays from 10 a.m. – 9 p.m. Read more about this revitalized cafe concept at the NY Times and SF Eater.

Images from Asian Art Museum.

Compton’s Queens in UN Plaza

On February 21st, the Tenderloin Museum sponsored a pop-up drag performance during the Heart of Heart of the City Farmers’ Market, featuring the cast and creators from the The Compton’s Cafeteria Riot.  With appearances by Collette Le Grande, Shane Zaldivar, Donna Personna, Pleasure Bynight and Miss J, the outdoor performance drew crowds of Farmers Market shoppers, local workers and residents who got a sneak peak of the talented performers bringing the story of protest from drag queens and their allies against police harassment at the Tenderloin’s Compton’s Cafeteria.

The Compton’s Cafeteria Riot, an original, interactive theater experience inspired by the historic riots that launched transgender activism in San Francisco, runs through May 4, 2018. Play patrons convene for an evening breakfast at the New Village Cafe where a 12 person cast dramatizes the inequalities facing the transgender and drag queen communities and their acts of resistance.

Don’t miss this unique play about a key historic movement in the Tenderloin community – buy your tickets now!

Images from Civic Center Commons.

Have you seen the new mural in UN Plaza?

San Francisco-based muralist Jason Jägel has completed a new mural in UN Plaza, at the former Carl’s Junior restaurant site. The Carl’s Jr. restaurant’s lease expired in November of 2017, and while the property owner works on finding a new tenant, the Office of Economic and Workforce Development worked with the property owner, artist and 826 Valencia to help organize the installation of the mural to provide a bright new public art amenity in Civic Center Commons.

Jägel’s mural in UN Plaza uses spray paint and acrylic paint pens to intersperse images in a collage-like fashion, relying on abstract connections to foster viewers’ imaginations. The images that appear in the mural in UN Plaza are inspired by Jägel’s experience in taking the words and writings by young authors from the Tenderloin who are participating in programs at the 826 Valencia Tenderloin Center – a non-profit youth center devoted to supporting under-resourced students with writing skills. Jägel directly quotes snippets of students’ writings, empowering those voices as they play with his images. The next time you’re in UN Plaza, check out the murals! You can also visit 826 Valencia to get a first-hand glimpse of the program just two blocks away at 180 Golden Gate Ave.

If you have questions about this mural project, please contact Juan Carlos Cancino, Office of Economic and Workforce Development at juancarlos.cancino@sfgov.org.

Images from booooooom.com Artist Spotlight. 

 

Major Makeover in the Making, Helen Diller Civic Center Playgrounds Rising to Completion

The new state-of-the-art play areas in Civic Center Plaza will be completed in early 2018. Here’s a bit of background on how they came to be.

In 2015, San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee announced a $10 million donation from the Helen Diller Family Foundation through The Trust for Public Land (TPL) for a major renovation of the two Civic Center Plaza Playgrounds. The gift, at no cost ot the city, will transform two aging structures into vibrant, state-of-the-art play spaces.

The Civic Center Commons’ central location make the soon to be Helen Diller Civic Center Playgrounds an invaluable resource to nearby visitors from neighborhoods where open space is limited including Tenderloin, Civic Center, Hayes Valley and South of Market. The Commons playgrounds will also serve children attending nearby daycare centers, schools, and nearby cultural institutions as part of their education.

“For nearly 20 years, under Helen Diller’s leadership, the Helen Diller Family Foundation has dedicated their efforts in nurturing our communities through education, the arts and medical research and innovation,” said Mayor Lee in a statement. “We are grateful to have known Helen Diller, as a park lover, and a champion for children and families in San Francisco, and her legacy lives on through many of our City’s parks and playgrounds which will now include the Civic Center Plaza Playgrounds.”

“The Helen Diller Family Foundation’s unique gift to the city will bring a distinguished formal civic space to life through creative placemaking,” said The Trust for Public Land Director of City Park Development Adrian Benepe. “This project elevates the importance of art and children in the urban landscape and creates a national model for public engagement in central civic spaces.”

In February of 2017, Mayor Lee along with students from nearby shcools and other city officials broke ground on the new Helen Diller Civic Center Playgrounds.

Indeed, if the succesful rebirth of Boeddeker Park (thanks in part to a gift from the Helen Diller Foundation) is any indication, the new playgrounds will serve as a beacon of joy, well being, laughter, and play for years to come.

Keep an eye on the playgrounds rising above the fences as construction draws to a close. Pretty soon, Helen Diller Civic Center Playgrounds will be complete. It won’t be long before we can proudly celebrate them as a major part of what #wehaveincommons.

About Helen Diller Family Foundation
The Helen Diller Family Foundation supports programs and institutions in both the Bay Area and throughout the world, with a focus on education, science, and the arts. In 2003 the Foundation gave the University of California San Francisco the largest one-time gift from an individual donor in the hospital’s history. The $35 million gift funded the Helen Diller Family Comprehensive Care Center. The Foundation has given other major grants and gifts to UC Berkeley, UC Santa Cruz, the De Young Museum, and has supported the renovation of Julius Kahn Playground and Mission Dolores Park, both located in San Francisco.

About The Trust for Public Land
The Trust for Public Land creates parks and protects land for people, ensuring healthy, livable communities for generations to come. More than 7 million people live within a 10-minute walk of a Trust for Public Land park, garden, or natural area, and millions more visit these sites every year.  For more information on The Trust for Public Land, go to: www.tpl.org.