Meeting people as an adult can be tricky, especially when you factor in a two-year pandemic. But add an outdoor pancake party to the mix, and it turns out grown-ups will show up in droves.
That’s what Bernal Heights resident Curtis Kimball learned in late January, when he advertised free pancakes on humorous flyers around his neighborhood and 75 new friends dropped by to partake in the festivities.
Kimball later posted about the event on Twitter. “If you’re hungry to connect, chances are good other people are too… There’s something incredibly rejuvenating about experiencing little joys with other humans,” Kimball wrote.
The post went viral. So Kimball planned a second pancake breakfast party for Feb. 12.
Today, after word about the first successful event had spread, hundreds of guests descended on Bernal Heights for pancakes, chocolate chips, whipped cream and sprinkles.
Most said they came out of a desire for old-fashioned community.
Rachel Amaya, who is single and lives in Ingleside, said she was looking for events this weekend that had nothing to do with Valentine’s Day. “I like to do things with the community,” said Amaya. “This is a good, simple thing.”
Others, like Deborah Giattina, saw the humorous flyers around the neighborhood and dropped by with their kids. “I’m a repeat offender,” joked Giattina, adding that she attended the first pancake event a few weeks ago. “My daughter loves pancakes. And for us, it’s just nice to see a lot of people.”
For Sophia Fin and Gregory Mazzola, who found out about the event on Funcheap SF, the pancake event offered an opportunity to ease back into socializing.
“I’m trying to get back out after quarantining and this is a first baby step. I’ve been overloaded by some of the same things that I used to do,” said Fin.
“It’s a beautiful morning and everyone is happy, and not just because of the pancakes,” added Mazzola.
Making people smile was a major goal for Kimball, plus setting the stage for more San Franciscans to host their own community events.
“The main goal of this, and the reason I’m putting so much effort and time into it, is I’m hoping to inspire other people to do something similar,” Kimball said.
That way, he said, we can “make San Francisco less whiny and more about people doing stuff.”
Kimball, who ran the famed Creme Brulee Cart until 2016 and has since been working construction and landscape design jobs, says he now knows a thing or two about throwing a successful party.
“Someone should hire me to do marketing, right? Clearly I’m not terrible at it,” he joked, as the line for pancakes spread down the residential block.
Sophie Bearman can be reached at [email protected]