For years, the area bordered by Interstate 280, Mariposa, the bay, and Tubbs Street (an alley just south of 22nd) has been a small historic district carved out of Potrero Hill. A handful of neighborhood hangouts—Dogpatch Saloon, Just for You Café—have sat sprinkled between the Hells Angels clubhouse and more than 800,000 square feet of warehouses rented out to artists, photographers, design studios, and production kitchens. But with UCSF’s Mission Bay medical center creeping in from the north, the T-Third Street Muni line ushering people in from downtown and SoMa, and a plan in place to revitalize the waterfront at Pier 70, Dogpatch has been feeling the influence of the millions of dollars going into its surrounding turf.
“The growth around the ballpark brought attention to the eastern waterfront. Dogpatch was next in line,” says Margherita Stewart Sagan, who in 2006 cofounded Piccino Café at the corner of 22nd and Tennessee streets. Sagan notes the turning point came with the transformation of the Esprit de Corps office campus on Minnesota Street into 142 residences in 2007. “It immediately provided a hub for the neighborhood. With a core of solid, long-term homeowners, great weather, a vibrant community of workers and residents, and the new Third Street rail, a nucleus was in place for the rebirth of Dogpatch.”
That rebirth is turning what was once a central artery used by locals as a shortcut downtown into a sunny urban outpost that’s slowly becoming a destination unto itself. Like other changing neighborhoods, the spark that started the transformation began with food: Yield wine bar, Serpentine (from the owners of Slow Club on Mariposa), Kitchenette gourmet takeout lunches, Poquito tapas bar, and most recently, Mr. and Mrs. Miscellaneous ice cream. Soon, Piccino will make its move around the corner to an old yellow house to be shared with Hayes Valley original Modern Appealing Clothing, specialty wine shop DIG, and Blue Bottle Coffee. In Piccino’s place, chocolatier Michael Recchiuti—whose production kitchen is in a warehouse on Illinois Street—plans to open a cafe serving (rumor has it) wine, beer, chartcuterie, and cheese. And in the coming year, Haight Street’s Magnolia Pub expansion and Sutton Cellars wine-tasting room are both expected to settle in.
Dogpatch’s Pier 70 also has 67 acres of waterfront land (at the moment home to a radio transmitter and tower, a scrap metal collection site, and artist studios) open to future development, a rarity in SF. If plans to revitalize Pier 70 with restored historic buildings, new restaurant and retail spaces, and a major toxic cleanup are any indication, Dogpatch could become the Marina of the east. But that’s far off, and even community leaders like designer Susan Eslick are tepid in their enthusiasm. “I won’t see Pier 70 in my lifetime. It’s such a huge undertaking,” says the 15-year resident. “The rest of the neighborhood is a little SoHo-y. It’s hot because of the creativity that happens here all day long. People make things here. You can feel it in the air. In Dogpatch, they came to work. Now they’re coming to eat and drink.”
July 1997: Michael and Jacky Recchiuti move their choc-olate business from the East Coast to the American Industrial Center on Illinois Street.
Aug 2006: Yield Wine Bar opens on Third and 22nd streets. The following year, Slow Club brings its second venture, Serpentine, across the street.
April 2007: Muni begins full service of the T-Third Street rail route, connecting the rest of the city to AT&T Park and the Caltrain station and providing easy access to Mission Bay, Bayview, and Dogpatch.
October 2007: The first condos at Esprit Park go on sale, housed in a 150-year-old brick building that formerly served as Esprit de Corps.
August 2010: Sonoma-based winemaker Carl Sutton sets up shop at 22nd and Illinois with his wine and vermouth brand Sutton Cellars.
October 2010: Local chocolatier Poco Dolce opens up its Third Street kitchen and storefront.
November 2010: Indie ice creamery Mr. and Mrs. Miscellaneous is served a letter of trademark infraction for their fudgesicle. It’s now known as the Trademark Bar.
December 2010: Dave McLean, owner of popular Haight brew pub Magnolia, announces he has his eye on a new space in Dogpatch slated to open this summer.
December 2010: The Potrero Launch Project gets $80.4 million in financing from three investment groups. The new, LEED-certified, $80.4 million housing and retail sprawl will have 196 rental units along the central waterfront and create more than 200 construction jobs for local union workers.
March 2011: Several architecture firms and community groups vie to develop 69 acres of land surrounding Pier 70, a naval shipyard for the past 150 years, into commercial space suitable for tech campuses. Construction is slated for 2012.
March 2011:The Yellow Building Project houses popular Italian eatery Piccino, MAC Apparel’s second SF store, and DIG Wine Bar in a renovated, 150-year-old stable house.
Late 2014: The final bricks will be laid for the $1.5 billion UCSF campus development in nearby Mission Bay to the north. The complex will feature a new hospital for children, women, and cancer patients, and it will use 50 percent less energy than the average U.S. hospital.