Anna Tvelova arrived from Moscow, took a look at San Francisco, and thought: Oh.
"I thought California would be warmer," says Tvelova, the 33-year-old owner of Anda Piroshki, which is slated to open in the 331 Cortland Marketplace in two weeks. "And I thought the buildings would be big, like in Tokyo, but it was all small houses." At least the people here were nice ― especially the ones at business incubator La Cocina, where Tvelova has been nurturing her piroshki and soup startup since last year.
Tvelova came to Northern California to learn English and increase her knowledge of wine (she'd gone to sommelier school in Moscow). By the time she found herself at La Cocina for the first time, she was just looking for a commercial kitchen where she could make some piroshki to try selling. Instead, she applied for the incubator program and got in. She wrote a business plan, reached out to S.F. Baking Institute for a hand with the piroshki dough (they helped her develop a recipe, for free), and traveled to Pike Place in Seattle to check out operations at popular Piroshky Piroshky ("over 700 reviews on Yelp!" Tvelova says).
For several weeks Tvelova was rolling out and baking piroshki Sundays in the Outer Sunset at Sea Biscuit Cafe (3815 Noriega at 45th Ave.). Now ― two weeks from opening at 331 Cortland ―- she's about to have a stall of her own: beef piroshki, vegan, also soups (borscht and rassolnik, made with pickles from 331 Cortland neighbor Paulie's). Coffee starting at 7 a.m., closing at 4 p.m., depending on traffic. And Bernal Heights itself, a neighborhood of small houses? Something tells us it's looking pretty good to Tvelova these days.
Opens May 25:
Anda Piroshki at 331 Cortland Marketplace, 331 Cortland (at Bennington)