Home News Pandemic-era pop-up bakery Bernal is set to open its first permanent coffee shop.

Pandemic-era pop-up bakery Bernal is set to open its first permanent coffee shop.

by Celia

A beloved bakery that gained popularity during the COVID-era shutdowns is set to establish its first permanent residence this winter. Bernal Bakery, founded by partners Ryan Stagg and Danielle Banchero, is slated to take over the space previously occupied by Little Bee Bakery at 521 Cortland Avenue in Bernal Heights. The establishment will operate under a new moniker, Bernal Basket.

Stacie Pierce, formerly a pastry chef at Chez Panisse and the owner of Little Bee Bakery, has decided to close the cafe to concentrate on other aspects of the business, according to Stagg. The transition holds sentimental significance for Bernal Bakery, as Little Bee was its inaugural wholesale account. Stagg notes that Little Bee Bakery has been the venue for Bernal Bakery’s weekly appearances. He adds, “[Pierce] wanted to see it go to somebody that would keep it local and carry on the space. That was something that we couldn’t refuse, and it’s the perfect fit for us.”

Bernal Bakery made waves in 2020, notably for its innovative basket delivery system, where loaves of bread were dropped down to customers on the street. Stagg and Banchero initiated the bakery after facing job losses during the pandemic, turning their attention to baking. The demand for their sourdough loaves grew, leading to sales within the community. The distinctive basket delivery system emerged as a creative solution to adhere to COVID safety protocols. Stagg reflects, “That’s when the basket came into play, and that little basket really sparked everything that we have today.”

While continuing to participate in farmers markets and pop-up locations across the Bay Area, Bernal Bakery’s transition into a permanent space marks an exciting expansion. Stagg expresses his enthusiasm for maintaining their market schedule, considering it a significant blessing. He states, “So that’s very much going to continue being in place.”

The new establishment, operating as a “classic San Francisco-style sourdough bakery,” plans to offer around a dozen varieties of bread. Additionally, they will feature laminated pastries like croissants, danishes, quick breads, and scones. Drawing on Stagg’s experience at the now-closed Pollara Pizzeria in Berkeley, the cafe will introduce Roman-style pizza al taglio, breakfast sandwiches, a diverse selection of pizza al taglio, and antipasti. Future plans include the addition of beer and wine to enhance the beverage options for patrons stopping by to pick up dinner.

With the space already set up, Stagg anticipates a swift opening by March, provided everything progresses according to plan.

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