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The 20th Century is a cafe and time machine poised to immerse you in the experience of Old World cafe society. All aboard!
The 20th Century is a cafe and time machine poised to immerse you in the experience of Old World cafe society. All aboard!
202 backers pledged $34,391 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

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$34,391

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The 20th Century Cafe at 198 Gough Street in San Francisco, California was conceived out of years of hard work in front of the oven, thoughts about food, old movies, and drunken discussions about the future (and the past). Searching through vintage cookbooks and traveling through the cites of Vienna, Budapest and Prague brought tremendous inspiration to what will soon be a little "grand" cafe. The menu draws heavily from my more than twenty years cooking and baking experience, as well as my love of California's produce. Nestled on a sunny corner in Hayes Valley, an early 20th century building once owned by famed cartoonist R.L. "Rube" Goldberg will be home to all these ideas and many more. 

Despite our meticulous planning and budgeting, we've encountered some unexpected slips climbing the ladder of cafe society. Now I'm reaching out to you to pull us up to the very highest rung. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to offset the cost of a secondary hood system. Not to get too boring, but the existing duct was corroded from years of neglect, and the modern code requires a serious upgrade. Even a time machine such as ours requires some modern mechanics. There was a moment when we feared we would not be able to cook with gas at all! Then a rather elegant solution of two different kinds of hood systems was proposed. Our beautiful copper kettles of jam and toffee can now bubble away, while the goulash simmers, the dumplings boil, the bagels bake and the knish knot. 

We are slated to open the beginning of June 2013. We have come so far. Now you can be the hero that gets this beautiful cafe open! 

We hope you've enjoyed our movie. Thank you for taking the time to visit, and for bringing the 20th century into the future! 

Very sincerely,

Michelle Polzine

State Birdseed bagels
State Birdseed bagels
Damson plum tart
Damson plum tart
Coconut rice pudding in a fig leaf
Coconut rice pudding in a fig leaf
Photography by: Joe Budd, Styling by: Tess Marie Wilson
Photography by: Joe Budd, Styling by: Tess Marie Wilson
Knishes (click here for the 25 hour long recipe)
Knishes (click here for the 25 hour long recipe)

Risks and challenges

As you can see from our movie, it took mountains of effort, paperwork and waiting, waiting, waiting, but we now have all our necessary permits, and construction has begun. Although our contractor is very experienced with building restaurants in San Francisco, the codes here change constantly, and there may still be a few bumps ahead. We have faced many challenges with our permitting process, and we've managed to overcome them, thanks to a very experienced team willing to keep coming up with ideas until solutions are found. It is the same with any challenge we face. An open, creative mind will always find the answer. We designed our own space. We've assembled a fantastic collection of china and flatware from scratch. And we have hundreds of amazing recipes. The portal is opening, but all of our efforts are nothing without your willingness to jump in.
Installing our separate hood systems is the last major obstacle. Please do support us in this task so we can close up the walls and start cooking - for you!

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  1. Select this reward

    Pledge $5 or more About $5

    A special thank you for your support on our website!

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    Pledge $10 or more About $10

    A special thank you on our website and a 20th Century Cafe refrigerator magnet to help you display flyers, cute photos of your friends and perhaps your child's latest masterpiece.

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    Pledge $18 or more About $18

    A special thank you on our website and an 8 oz. jar of housemade organic fruit preserves or sauerkraut. sorry, no shipping available on kraut. The canning process destroys beneficial microbes, plus it makes the texture kinda poopy. If we're shipping, please add five dollars and specify strawberry, raspberry or seville orange.

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    Pledge $25 or more About $25

    A special welcome from our chefs to the 20th Century with dessert and a beverage off of our best china, and a small jar of our preserves to take home. Of course we will thank you on the website, unless you're trying to keep a low profile.

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    Pledge $45 or more About $45

    a 20th Century Cafe t-shirt, and a personal thank you on our website!

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    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    Let's get down to brass tacks: your name engraved on a brass plaque, affixed to our new hood, so we can always remember who made this happen, along with a virtual thank you and an actual thank you of your favorite pastry when you come in. Naturally!

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    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    Michelle will call you on the telephone and sing you an early 20th century ditty to express her thanks. Yup, she sings too! Your name will also appear on the hood, and our website, and our magnet on your fridge. Also some of our delicious toffee!

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    Pledge $150 or more About $150

    In addition to a special thank you on our website, you will attend a class on how to make a delicious seasonal tart at the cafe with Michelle and up to 4 other kickstarter supporters. You will make your own beautiful tart to take home and share!

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    Pledge $200 or more About $200

    A special dinner, this time for two, on the good china, with the 1920's flatware. All this, and a t-shirt too!

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    Pledge $350 or more About $350

    An invitation for you and a guest to attend our friends and family pre-opening event! Plus your name on our hood.

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    A one on one intensive strudel making lesson with chef Michelle Polzine in the cafe's kitchen, a t-shirt, a personal thank you on our website and your name on our hood. You will get a copy of the strudel recipe, and you will take the strudel we make home to share with your loved ones. Or you can eat the whole damn thing yourself. I won't judge.

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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    A special dinner for 6 in the cafe, and yes, the good china.

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    Pledge $1,000 or more About $1,000

    Just for that, we're going to name a dessert after you. Come in and order yourself, and gaze up at your name, which we'll have engraved in brass on our hood. Don't mind us if we fawn over you a little too. Of course you will be thanked on our website, get a t-shirt, a jar of preserves, a song, and a magnet, although you won't need one because of your magnetic personality! You must also come, with a guest, to our friends and family pre-opening!

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    Pledge $2,500 or more About $2,500

    Coffee Klatsch. Reserve the entire cafe for yourself and up to 29 of your closest friends for a memorable afternoon or morning of coffee and pastries while Franz plays 78 RPM records from the first 45 years of the 20th century. A very special thanks to you on our website, your name on our hood, and a gift of preserves and shortbread for each of your guests to take home. This a a perfect setting for a bridal or baby shower, or one of those really civilized bachelor parties.

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    Pledge $5,000 or more About $5,000

    Oh thank you! Your name will go along with the hall of famers on our hood, and a special thank you on our website. You and up to 29 friends get the whole restaurant for the evening, while we pull out all the stops to host your party.

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    Pledge $7,500 or more About $7,500

    Ring in the new year in the last century! We'll reserve the entire cafe for you and up to 29 guests to celebrate New Year's Eve. Stops will most definitely be pulled. All of them. Plus all of that horn tooting on our website and your name emblazoned on our hood.

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Funding period

- (28 days)