Warm it up, Crissy: Beloved hut is back

A warming hut conjures images of an outpost in the middle of the forest, a respite from the elements and a storehouse for survival equipment.

The Warming Hut that reopened Monday at Crissy Field is more likely to accommodate stroller-pushing parents with a taste for organic greens than a grizzled backpacker in search of trail rations.

After shutting down in January when an electric car operated by the National Park burst into flames and set the building afire, the combination cafe, bookstore and gift shop has bounced back with only a few minor changes.

“The public’s reception was pretty amazing,” National Park Service spokesman Rich Weideman said, adding that the hut is still popular with families. “The stroller brigade came out in force.”

The space, located on the park’s West Bluffs, used to be a storehouse for engineering equipment. The Warming Hut opened to the public in 2001 with a local, organic menu and sustainable building materials.

Weideman said the menu has changed slightly to accommodate complaints of slow service. The salad and children’s selection has grown while hot sandwiches are no longer on the menu.

The gift shop offers unique recycled finds, such as a birdhouse made of old license plates and stuffed animals made from donated clothing. Every dollar earned past operating expenses goes to education programs at Crissy Field, Weideman said.

The January fire started when a lightweight electric vehicle chained to a bike rack next to the wooden building caught fire. Only 5 percent of the building burned but smoke and water damage destroyed the interior.

Weideman said it wasn’t the first time an electric vehicle has caught fire on Golden Gate National Recreation Area. A similar fire happened on Alcatraz when a plugged-in Chrysler Gem exploded.

The Park Service has since decreed that the cars be parked far away from historic wooden buildings. Builders also added a fire sprinkler system in the latest renovation.

The cafe and visitor center is open daily from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. to weary travelers braving the trails of Crissy Field, and with the fog blowing a chill over the Bay, the Warming Hut may serve the same purpose as its backcountry counterparts.

bbegin@examiner.com

Just Posted

SFUSD going back to basics with school lunches made from scratch

Upgraded culinary center could serve as model for expanded in-house food production.

Sliding doors could open up more space on Muni buses

A simple engineering change could soon make Muni’s 900 buses roomier across… Continue reading

City struggles to find alternatives for inmates in seismically unsafe jail

Mayor London Breed has given City Hall a deadline to close down… Continue reading

E-scooter company Skip announces layoffs after losing SF permit

San Francisco-based e-scooter company Skip this week announced pending layoffs for roughly… Continue reading

Juul suspends sale of flavored e-cigarettes

San Francisco-based e-cigarette maker Juul Labs announced Thursday that it is suspending… Continue reading

Most Read