Seven great years of ‘Breakfast with Enzo’ 

Celebrating seven years of performing live music for Bay Area families, San Francisco-based Enzo Garcia will mark the anniversary of “Breakfast with Enzo” next week at the Bernal Heights Neighborhood Center in San Francisco.

The ongoing performances — which sprouted in 2002 from a late-night session at the Mission Creek Cafe on Valencia Street — feature Garcia playing traditional and original children’s music, accompanied by guitar, banjo, accordion, jaw harp and musical saw.

“Breakfast with Enzo” — the name coined by Garcia’s friend Zoli Lundy — first occurred at an after-hours party in the Mission district.

“It was at the tail end of a party and the DJs had stopped spinning — as well as the heads of many of the folks in attendance,” Garcia says. “I pulled out my guitar and began singing my songs to the remaining guests of the party. Zoli chimed in, ‘It’s breakfast with Enzo.’”

A self-taught musician, Garcia, 37, arrived in the Bay Area after graduating from the University of Michigan, where he found a calling for playing to kids and families.

“While living in Ann Arbor, I started a band with my friend and fiddle player Matt Combs called Drivetrain,” he says. “We would play at cider mills in the fall during harvest and entertain hundreds of families. Seeing how children just loved our music was a blast.”

In San Francisco, however, finding venues wasn’t as easy.

“It turns out my strength is as a musician and not a promoter,” Garcia says. “I realized that if I were to start my own performance, regardless of the venue, I could circumvent the uncomfortable step of trying to be accepted by venues so that I might be able to share my music with folks.”

An audience indeed has found Garcia, who currently estimates that he has more than 80 fans at each show.

The performances are casual and comfortable, featuring Garcia’s BYOB policy: “Bring your own blanket or yoga mat or something soft to sit on, and get ready to kick off your shoes and have a great time.”

During each show, audience members sit in a circle around Garcia, who opens with the catchy “Welcome to Breakfast with Enzo” played on accordion.

For the next two hours, Garcia commands the house, playing upbeat, fun songs such as “Jim Along Josie,” “You Are My Sunshine” and “Frere Jacques,” making the classics his own. Fans can just sit back and listen, but most clap, jump, twirl and sing along.

His most requested songs are “Lumberjack,” “Side of a Mountain Top” and the spoken-word “Let’s Make a Pizza.” Of course, there’s “Old MacDonald,” which is performed with such originality you might think he composed it himself.

In addition to public performances — in Mill Valley and San Francisco — Garcia plays private parties. His motto:  “Cheaper than a clown, cleaner than a pony.”

Breakfast with Enzo

Fridays at Presidio Dance Theatre, 1158 Gorgas Ave., Presidio; Saturdays at Bernal Heights Neighborhood Center, 515 Cortland Ave., San Francisco
When: 10 a.m. to noon Fridays-Saturdays
Tickets: $5 to $6

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Staff Report

Staff Report

A daily newspaper covering San Francisco, San Mateo County and serving Alameda, Marin and Santa Clara counties.
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