Russian Baker Cooks Up Big Dreams in San Francisco

Before coming to California, Anna Tvelova would stare at the map on the wall of her bedroom in Russia and daydream of big cities with more opportunities. Driven by these ambitions, Anna came to San Francisco with $1,000 in her pocket. She spent the first several months here learning English, but it wasn’t long before Anna began galvanizing her dreams of serving her homemade piroshki to every San Francisco neighborhood.

Getting Anna’s Dreams Off the Ground


“When I first started, I did not know what I was doing, I felt a little (or a lot) lost, but super committed,” Anna told Centro. Although we hear many entrepreneurs say this, we have discovered that they just need some guidance. Helping the entrepreneurs successfully put their ideas into action is the mission of Centro and its MBA Advisors.

After meeting Anna at a La Cocina workshop in 2011, we invited her to join Centro’s Centro’s Entrepreneurship Readiness Program. She was paired with her MBA advisor, Mariya Lyublina, and the match proved to be lasting. Anna recently told us, “My MBA Advisor is a really amazing person. It’s been a really wonderful experience to work with her and she still helps me a lot.”

Anna Receives Largest Kiva Zip Loan Ever

With the support of Centro’s program and her MBA Advisor, Anna created a working business model for her first AйDa Piroshki kiosk in Bernal Heights and developed a model to evaluate possible locations for future growth. With Centro’s endorsement, she also received a $5,000 interest-free loan from Kiva Zip to purchase a car to help her piroshki catering business grow. Since her start in 2011, Anna has hired 5 part-time employees and will hire more as she continues to grow.

After successfully paying her first loan back on time, Anna launched another Kiva Zip loan for $25,000 (their largest ever) to open a second kiosk location. The new AйDa Piroshki opened early last month in Second Act on Haight Street and offers the same delicious, fresh-baked menu as the Bernal Heights location.

San Francisco Falls in Love with AйDa Piroshki

San Francisco’s media and blogs are abuzz with raving reviews for AйDa Piroshki. One Yelper even said that he “…traveled 100 miles round-trip to try these piroshkis based on Yelp reviews and it was worth it!”

The Bernal Heights kiosk’s revenue has doubled since last year and the Haight Street location’s revenue is already comparable. As for more locations, Anna would like to open her third AйDa Piroshki on the Embarcadero.

Watching AйDa Piroshki grow, develop loyal customers and provide local jobs has been a joy to Centro and an inspiration to budding entrepreneurs. Anna continues to impress us with her personal and professional growth, and we are excited to remain close to her as she continues to make her dream of bringing piroshki to every San Francisco neighborhood a reality.

Go to AйDa Piroshki’s website
Visit AйDa Piroshki in Bernal Heights (331 Cortland Avenue, SF) or in the Haight (1727 Haight Street, SF).