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

UPDATE October 2018: The Civic Center Plaza Bi-Rite Cafe is now open!

Original post: 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.

It’s Springtime at the Heart of the City Farmers’ Market!

Springtime in the Commons means that the Heart of the City Farmers’ Market is brimming with new produce offerings. Whether you’re a longtime customer or new shopper, now is a great time to visit the market, which takes place in UN Plaza on Sundays from 7:00 am to 5:00 pm, and on Wednesdays from 7:00 am to 5:30 pm. Lookout for new springtime produce offerings like mulberries, zucchini, snap peas, and more. And grab some Tulips while you’re at it!

The Heart of the City Farmers’ Market has been operating in UN Plaza since 1981, and it’s no secret that this market is a major attraction in Civic Center Commons. But, did you know that the market plays a critical role in making fresh, healthy  food accessible to those in need? Heart of the City Farmers’ Market:

  • Distributes over $1 million annually in food assistance at the Market information tent;
  • Executes the largest farmers market EBT program in California (nearly 70% of EBT benefits used at San Francisco farmers markets are used at this market!); and
  • Makes over $250,000 per year in grant-funded incentives available to promote purchasing sustainable, local produce with an EBT card.

The Heart of the City Farmers’ Market has been a true pioneer in making healthy eating accessible to all by accepting various forms of payment (such as EBT and WIC). We hope you’ll stop by the market to do your shopping and support the many small farmers who are bringing the bounty of spring to UN Plaza!

 

Commons Block Parties, It’s a Wrap!

San Francisco celebrated the final Commons 3rd Thursday Block Party event last week, and while the inaugural season has come to a close, it’s just the beginning of what #WeHaveInCommons.

Throughout the inaugural series, music promotion stalwarts from Another Planet Entertainment, People in Plazas, and Noise Pop were the curated an astounding array of exceptional talent. The Commons visitors danced to Cuban all stars, shook to hip rockers, and grooved to beat bumping DJs. Off-the-Grid punched the flavor ticket, bringing food and drink. Visitors also perused museum exhibits, shopped at pop-up book stores, and got crafty with DIY workshops all in the City’s central public spaces. While you were there, you may even have noticed the trees getting wild.

In the final two events of the series, visitors rented free roller skates and with varying degrees of skill went round and round (and sometimes down) at the Church of 8 wheels roller disco. We’d be hard pressed to create a better people-watching spectacle.

The Commons Thursdays grew out the greater Civic Center Commons initiative, a strategic effort led by the City of San Francisco and community partners to transform daily experiences in our central public spaces and create a unified, inclusive civic “Commons.” The Commons Thursdays event was a collaboration between the City of San Francisco, Another Planet Entertainment, Off the Grid, Noise Pop, and the Civic Center Community Benefit District.

We can’t wait to see City Hall turn yellow, red, and blue again for the next Commons Thursdays in 2018. The inaugural series may be over, but is’ just a salvo, the very beginning of exploring, entertaining and engaging with what #WeHaveInCommons.