When we were looking for a new home two years ago, one of the characteristics of the Portola that attracted us was the high level of community involvement. As most of us know, there are a lot of dedicated and passionate people involved here. A fact, reinforced by the numerous community groups serving this small and mostly unknown neighborhood as well as our often maligned but beautiful McLaren Park.
That dedication was recognized a bit more widely yesterday in the San Francisco Chronicle. The piece titled, “How an S.F. Neighborhood Saved Its Diner, Breakfast At Tiffany’s” tells the history of the local breakfast spot and how it was almost lost like so many other little diners in S.F. After the passing of the owner the building was purchased by an S.F. restaurateur and Portola resident, Kash Feng. Much to the disappointment of the restaurant’s dedicated customers, it almost became a higher end noodle house (a concept that I think would be really successful on S.B.A. as well) until the community convinced Kash to revisit the old concept. As anyone who passes down San Bruno Ave now notices, the place is a success, with lines out the door during weekend brunching hours and a steady stream during the week.
About six months ago, I was sitting at the counter at B.A.T., having breakfast and reading a magazine when a guy, I later found out from North Beach, walked in and sat next to me. He looked around and asked me, “what neighborhood is this?” I naturally jumped at the chance to talk about the Portola. After I informed him about this diverse blue collar mecca, he responded with, “I didn’t think places like this existed in this city anymore, it’s so busy here and there are so many types of people that I thought had left S.F years ago.” We chit-chatted a little more until I think I scared him away with my overzealous love for the neighborhood, but that guy saw what I really appreciate about this restaurant. Aside from the Fried Chicken Benedict and the endlessly refilled old school yellow coffee cups, the crowd is what makes Breakfast At Tiffany’s so special. It’s one of the few real places left in this city where people of all walks of life come together for a meal.
The full story is worth the read and can be found on The Chronicle’s website here.