Heart & Soul

Heart & Soul was created out of necessity, a necessity to revitalize the backbone of our community—local businesses and their owners. Whether we were born here, grew up here or ended up here at some point in our lives, all of us who have spent time in the city, understand that what makes our home so great isn’t the Amazon grocery stores or the invasion of Salesforce skyscrapers.


It’s the smell of greasy piroshkis from the Russian bakery down the street, it’s the nostalgia of watching a movie in a theater with not nearly enough seats, it’s the abrasive chorus of an amateur guitarist working out the kinks of a song on Muni during rush hour. The true essence of the city is the people and the businesses they built with their hands.


Thus, Heart & Soul started as a campaign to interview small business owners about their craft, their history, their passions and their pandemic struggles. It is an ode to what really makes this city, San Francisco.


You can connect with the SF community around you by checking out stories on SF history and features on the people behind some of the best businesses in your neighborhood. You can also purchase merchandise or a detailed day plan for your time in SF tailored to your needs located in the website shop.  

About me

I grew up in San Francisco and am currently a second grade teacher. I love my students, writing, finding hidden history and making connections in the city I grew up in. With the writing and outreach I’ve done and I plan on continuing to do with Heart & Soul, I have been able to hone my love of writing through journalism and I’ve also connected with the communities around me in a way I never have before. 

-Val Batra