A highlight of a recent adventure to Bernal Heights with my friend Rachel and our little ones, was one of the best sandwiches in recent memory at Sandbox Bakery. Check out this beauty: whole wheat roll with toasted hazelnuts, thick cut smokey bacon, roasted tomatoes and arugula. Can you say yum? In addition to this epic BLT we sampled a chili dog (one of their other sandwiches du jour), and of course some sweet treats including a cupcake with passionfruit buttercream. Big thumbs up from us moms for their excellent coffee and espresso drinks as well. The shop is tiny making it a little challenging as a sit-down lunch stop with kids. There are just a few stools inside and strollers definitely get in the way. If you get lucky, there might be a spot on one of the benches out front. For a good nearby picnicking option, try St Mary’s Park, one of Luca’s favorite playgrounds in the city.
There are a lot of other great reasons to make the trek to Bernal Heights besides amazing sandwiches. It’s a fabulous place for a stroll, a bite and a little shopping. Here are some of our other neighborhood favorites:
- Avedano’s Holly Park Market — (235 Cortland) A premium meat market where you can find grass-fed beef and lamb, wild and sustainably farmed seafood, free range chicken, artisan cheese, pastured eggs, panini and take out dinners.
- Bernal Cutlery — (331 Cortland) These guys know knives. Expert knife sharpening. They also can help you with your garden tools.
- Progressive Grounds — (400 Cortland) Your earthy, ultra laid back brand of coffee shop with a great patio out back which is perfect with kids. Middle Eastern menu, bagels and Mitchell’s ice cream.
- Liberty Cafe — (410 Cortland) This is the place that brought back the pot pie. In adddition to their restaurant, they have a nice little bakery with indoor and outdoor seating.
- Heartfelt — (426 Cortland) Stop in and browse this cute shop for toys, accessories, kitschy doo-dads and gift items. Grab wrapping paper and cards, too. Our big purchase was a yodeling pickle.
- Good Life Grocery — (448 Cortland) A well-appointed neighborhood grocery store with a good selection of organic and specialty items.
- Bernal Heights Branch Library — (500 Cortland) Always a great option with kids, especially on rainy or cold days.
- Sandbox Bakery — (833 Cortland) Great coffee and beautiful baked goods. Try the sandwiches du jour. Not much seating, so this is pretty much a “to-go” option especially with kids in tow.
- St Mary’s Playground — (Justin Drive and Murray Street) This is one of our favorite parks in the city with basketball and tennis courts; baseball diamond; huge, state-of-the art, handicap-accessible play structure good for smaller and bigger kids; climbing wall; picnic tables and a separate rec center and dog park area. We usually come here after the Alemany Famrner’s market, but it’s also reasonably close to all the good stuff on Cortland.