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Dish Special Edition: New Restaurateur Does Not Want Your Children's Business

Just in time for the holiday weekend, Tinderbox will open its doors for the first time tomorrow night, right in the heart of Bernal Heights on Cortland Avenue [note: it will be closed on Monday]. The small New American restaurant is the brainchild of owner Ryan Russell, who took the liberty of introducing himself to a Yahoo! Group of Bernal Heights parents with the following letter. Keep in mind that along with Noe Valley, Bernal Heights is San Francisco's epicenter of young families. Thus, it is with great pleasure that we present Mr. Russell's unintentionally-entertaining, anti-child manifesto:

My name is Ryan Russell, I am the owner of the new restaurant 'Tinderbox' on Cortland and I thought it would be a good time to introduce myself and my business. I have lived in the Bay Area for 12 years, I have lived in Bernal Heights for two of those years(SF for 6) and love the neighborhood and the residents, so I feel a responsibility to make it an even better place to live and am proud to be a part of that.

Some may think that all new businesses should cater to children due to the obvious prevalence of young families and that the neighborhood should foster an environment that is safe and nourishing for babies and youngsters, and I agree. But I am of the opinion, and am putting my money where my mouth is, that Bernal Heights could use a creative outlet that won't limit ourselves to what is perceived as a child's cognitive limitations. I suppose I am of the European school of child rearing(I don't have any kids yet) that a young mind is extraordinarily nimble and when given a chance, a child can adapt to a sophisticated environment; when surrounded by enlightening conversation or artistic or musical enriching atmosphere begin to develop an inquisitiveness about the world, begin to understand that the world is bigger than themselves: to form opinions and learn how to articulate them.

To be honest Tinderbox will be an adult place, that is if your child cannot control their behavior we would rather not have them disturb others [sic] diners. But we ourselves are young and weren't children too long ago, so in talking months ago about how we could contribute to a neighborhood kid's life and development we decided that once a month we would bring the Bernal youths in for a "kids in the kitchen" day where we would show them some technique and recipes that might expose them to the world of modern cuisine and sustainable food systems that we are so enamored with.

We all live in this community because of its diversity cultural richness and should continue to cherish it.

I have included my bio as well as my business partner/chef's bio if you are interested, and I assure you that we have lofty goals for Bernal Heights and its young minds.

You can read more of Russell's Dickensian prose and his complete (and we mean complete) biography, along with the original message on Mouthfuls. Remember, do not let your children youths play on or near Tinderbox's lawn. Ever. Well, except that one day a month.
· Tinderbox, Bernal Heights, Chef-owner's overwrought mission statement [Mouthfuls]

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