Get SF Weekly Newsletters

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Bernal Star Preserves What You Loved the Most About Liberty Cafe

Posted By on Wed, Jul 2, 2014 at 8:00 AM

click to enlarge PETE KANE
  • Pete Kane

Bernal Heights is a close-knit neighborhood, and when the Liberty Café decided to close after years of drawing the Cortland Avenue community in with chicken pot pies and such, there was a bit of consternation. Some people will miss it dearly, others saw a gradual slide into mediocrity after the original chef-owner, Cathie Guntli, passed away in 2009. Having shuttered and re-opened in only a couple days as Bernal Star, we had to investigate what's new at this anchor tenant of Bernal dining.

See Also: Chamalyn, a New Tea Lounge in Bernal Heights

Bernal Star -- which seems inclined to nickname itself "B Star" even though there's already a place with that name in the Richmond -- focuses on "brunch, burgers, and brews." Gone are the vegetarian pot pie and porcini turnovers, with somewhat trendier dishes in their stead: farro salad, a fried chicken sandwich with jicama slaw, oysters, a roasted chicken, and gluten-free pizzas. (It looks like the bakery department has been taken over by pizzaiolos.) The price range of the entrees is almost exactly the same, although there's a wider variety of slightly snackier items.

click to enlarge The back patio. - PETE KANE
  • Pete Kane
  • The back patio.

The indispensable Bernalwood launched a parallel inquiry that netted a further scoop from the new proprietor, Vega Freeman-Brady (who also runs Vega across the street). In short, Bernal Star will continue a number of the Liberty's traditions. They'll screen movies on the patio at sunset, Tuesdays will still feature half-off bottles of wine, you'll still be able to order at $15 burger-and-beer every day from 4-6 p.m., and they'll be hosting monthly dinners with rotating guest chefs. It also appears that the management and staff have largely been retained.

So if you were afraid this lovely institution had been given over to rampant trend-chasing, worry not. Bernal Star is basically a light rebrand, both to preserve the memory of the original restaurant and to keep the success going.

Bernal Star, 410 Cortland, 695-8777.

Follow @wannacyber

  • Pin It

About The Author

Pete Kane

Pete Kane

Pete Kane is a total gaylord who is trying to get to every national park before age 40


Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Popular Stories

  1. Most Popular Stories
  2. Stories You Missed

Like us on Facebook


  • Giants World Series-Bound
    If you haven't heard, the Giants beat the St. Louis Cardinals last night, 6-3, on Travis Ishikawa's walk-off, three-run blast. For the third time in five years, San Francisco is World Series-bound. Christopher Victorio caught up with the fans as they celebrated in the streets after Thursday's game.
  • The Concert for UCSF Benioff Children's Hospitals
    The Concert for UCSF Benioff Children's Hospitals featured Bruno Mars at Civic Center Plaza. The evening ended with an after-party at City Hall where guests were treated to small bites Photographs by Sugarwolf.