Bernal Cutlery was established in 2005 by Josh Donald and Kelly Kozak in Bernal Heights, San Francisco in the slanting utility room in the back of an apartment on Cortland Avenue. Using $40 to buy an extra stone and print some fliers, Bernal Cutlery was born. Sharpening soon grew into selling vintage and antique culinary knives and after several years of working from various home workshops around Bernal Heights, they opened their first brick & mortar shop as a part of the then new 331 Cortland small business incubator collective in 2010. They have since moved twice due to outgrowing shells and are now at home on Valencia Street in the dynamic Mission District. What began as an idea of how two new and broke parents could keep groceries in the fridge and pay some bills, has grown to include a dedicated crew with unique experiences and interests that fill out and refine the shop's character. They are immensely grateful to live in a place that supports small business and provides smart, talented, unusually good looking and like-minded weirdos for them to work alongside.
Bernal Cutlery still finds and refurbishes vintage and antique knives, but their main focus is on sourcing high-quality new knives from around the world. While they have a soft-spot for the 100% handmade knives that they source from makers who still employ old techniques and small scale industrial networks, they do understand the need and value of industrial knife production and offer a range of factory-made knives that meet high expectations for quality. Bernal Cutlery specializes in culinary knives, with a majority of our selection coming from Japan, France and Germany. They also have selections from the USA, England, Spain and Vietnam, among a few others. For outdoor adventurers and craftspeople, they have Nordic knives from Iisakki Jarvenpaa and Helle, as well as American-made Benchmade knives and a revolving selection of Laguiole, Opinel and other regional French folding styles. Vintage and antique knives are also a specialty; from spectacular and historically important, to utilitarian-minded second hand knives. In addition to knives, Bernal Cutlery stocks a full selection sharpening supplies, focusing on the Japanese whetstones for their sharpening service. In addition to stones, they stock sharpening steels and ceramic honing rods from the USA, Germany and Japan, as well as leather and cork strops, abrasive compounds and steel and wood care products. There is also an ever growing selection of kitchen tools, pantry items and books, all specifically selected for their awesomeness.
Bernal Cutlery takes the role of small businesses in the community seriously, working hard to fundraise and support local schools and develop rapport with organizations that resonate with their concept of food studies, approachability, and education.