Cornering the Market

Reclaiming a once desolate corner

The Corner Store is testament to the power of charm.

The corner of Geary and Masonic, dominated by a half-empty shopping center and fast-moving traffic, has felt like a non-place for years.

But not since Miles Palliser and Ezra Berman set up shop last month, with an Americana-inflected restaurant and bar.

During the day, the covered, heated patio hosts a surprising number of working and nonworking locals, many of them devoted to fried-chicken sandwiches ($9) framed in a lime-spiked cabbage slaw; the warm potato salad on the side, flecked with dill, is even better.

At night, the affordable bistro food from chef Nick Adams is luring diners who normally head out of the hood to eat.

His food is merely solid when it falters, and good more often than that. It ranges from supple cured salmon with a crisp potato pancake ($10) to a cornmeal-crusted trout fillet served with broccolini, salsa verde and sweet-onion purée ($16).

There is a burger ($12). It is topped with bacon jam. Need we say more?

And there's that buzzy vibe, fostered by terrazzo flooring and handsome butcher-block accents, encouraged by the relaxed ministrations of the waiters.

A non-place feels like a neighborhood once more.

The Corner Store, 5 Masonic Ave. (at Geary Blvd.); 415-359-1800 or thecornerstore-sf.com