The way we eat in San Francisco has changed dramatically over the past few months - and with all of the constant shifts and uncertainty, restaurants and chefs have had to get creative. Tons of pop-ups have, well, popped up, in the Bay Area recently, especially as we adjust to a more takeout-focused lifestyle. From bottomless wings to cheesy, gooey pupusas, here are 27 pop-ups that you should know about right now.
THE POP-UP SPOTS
Last year, Eko Kitchen became SF’s first and only Nigerian restaurant. And after a fire burned down their commercial kitchen in July, they’ve since moved operations to Merkado’s space in SoMa. The menu at Eko Kitchen changes, but they have combo meals, which include things like smoky jollof rice, chicken with roasted pepper sauce, gizdodo, and puff puffs, available to-go every Sunday. You can use apps for delivery, or place an order for pick-up by phone or online.
The Uptown Oakland pop-up serves excellent Salvadoran food - pupusas, enchiladas, and trout smoked over a comal - out of Classic Cars West Beer Garden. They’ve also got a “dinner for two” (it comes with four pupusas and sides), and pints of escabeche, beans, and hot sauce to-go. They’re open Wednesday to Saturday from 5:30-9pm.
From Wednesday to Sunday, Abrazo in Russian Hill is hosting a pop-up called Miguelito’s. They’re selling charred octopus tacos with chorizo aioli and citrus slaw, carne asada street tacos, carnitas, chicken, elotes, and more out of Abrazo’s side door on Union Street. And if you want an extra kick, ask for their house-made habanero salsa, which they’re selling by the bottle.
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Come check out the new Mexican Pop-Up, located at the side door of Abrazo restaurant on Union@Hyde in Russian Hill. #sfrestaurants #eatsf #eatthissf #ieatsf #eatlocal #russianhillsf #hydhydestreet #sfchefs #sffoodie #sffood #eatersf #sfchronicle #sffoodies #nomnom #eaaats #foodgasm #bestofsf #russianhillsanfrancisco #foodofsf #sfdining #popup #sftogo #sanfranciscofoodie #sanfranciscofood #covid19 #bayareaeats #bayareagoodfood #bayareafood #abrazosf
In July, the pop-up spot for massive vegan burgers, sandwiches, and milkshakes secured a brick-and-mortar location on Piedmont Avenue. And since their truck is temporarily out of commission, they’ll continue operating as a pop-up until they open their store permanently (hopefully, in the next couple of months). You can find updates, current hours, and location on their Instagram. And look out for their next pop-up on August 31st at the vegan café Timeless Coffee.
Our favorite Italian spot in the Mission for small plates and cocktails is now on Divisadero, and offering outdoor dining and Happy Hour specials every day. So if you’re in NoPa and are suddenly hit with the all-consuming need for burrata, right now, you’re in luck. They’re taking brunch and Happy Hour reservations online, and also have a waitlist for dinner.
Al Pastor Papi
If (and by if, we mean when) you’re in desperate need of some al pastor, check Al Pastor Papi’s Instagram to see where their truck is at. The location changes every day, but they’re typically around SF. If, by some miraculous force, you don’t want al pastor, they’ve also got carne asada, chicken, and nopales - all of which you can get in tacos, open-faced quesadillas, burritos, or bowls.
Since 2017, The Vegan Hood Chefs have been bringing plant-based soul food to SF, and healthier options to local Black and brown communities that have historically lacked access. They’re mostly catering right now, but are occasionally popping up at community events and breweries. The menu varies, but expect to see things like lobster mac and cheese, oyster po’boys, or sweet potato and black bean tacos. Check their Instagram for pop-up updates, or head to their website if you want to place a catering order.
The team behind Low Bar, a new cocktail bar that’s put its opening on pause due to the pandemic, recently launched a Mexican pop-up called Chancho’s. They’re selling burritos and tamales with salsa verde chicken or roasted poblano chile that you can also order by the half-dozen. Chancho’s has operated out of Itani Ramen and Heart and Dagger Saloon in the past, but check their Instagram for the current location.
Whitechapel recently set up a socially distanced bar called The Barbican in their parking lot, and is hosting a series of bar pop-ups through September. Every Saturday from August 29th to October 11th, Whitechapel will feature cocktails from different bars that currently can’t operate due to citywide restrictions prohibiting outdoor drinking. The lineup includes bars like Kona’s Night Market, Smuggler’s Cove, Wildhawk, Sea Star, and California Gold. Head to Whitechapel’s Instagram for updates.
Angela Pinkerton, who was previously a pastry chef at Che Fico, is now making excellent pies for pick-up. The menu changes weekly depending on what’s in season (so keep an eye on their website), but expect pies like Gravenstein apple, pluot raspberry with a brown butter shortbread crumble, key lime, and passionfruit and bay leaf meringue. Five- and nine-inch pies are available for pick-up at various restaurants (like Fiorella, Dear Inga, or Nido) in SF or Oakland.
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Summer staycation is here! how are you celebrating the lazy days of summer? Surprise your friends and bring a Plum Apricot Strawberry Crumble, Passionfruit Meringue and/or Bittersweet Chocolate Custard to your circle at Dolores Park or Lake Merritt this weekend, or create a virtual pie party on zoom! Pies, large and small, cookies and shortcake kits are available for this Saturday with pick ups at @ritualvalencia @nido510 and @nightbirdsf Order through link in profile.
What started as experimental, hybrid recipes between an Indonesian-Singaporean chef and her Mexican partner became a pop-up serving Indonesian and Mexican-inspired brunch. On certain Sundays, stop by IndoMex (operating out of Xingones in Old Oakland), where you can either pick up your order or sit outside and eat beef rendang chilaquiles, a salsa-y sambal, and pandan flan. Be sure to order ahead, and check Instagram for pop-up dates.
The Mana'eesh Lady
The Filipino pop-up, which currently lives at Pacific Cocktail Haven in Union Square, is preparing delicious meal kits, seven-course dinners, and prepared food to-go. Their offerings change periodically, but standbys include things like chicken inasal, lumpia, pancit luglug, and sisig fried rice. They deliver on Fridays, or you can pick up or dine outside at PCH. Place your order online.
Over the last few years, Chef Smelly’s massive plates of Creole dishes have drawn lines around the block. And even now in pandemic times, things are no different. Here’s how you do it: head to Au Lounge in Uptown Oakland on Tuesday, Thursday, or Friday from 5-9pm, and wait your turn for blackened prawns, surf & turf fries, sweet chili garlic chicken, garlic noodles, and more. Check Instagram for the menu and updates - and note that it’s walk-up orders only.
If you’re like us and a fan of eating things by the water, you’re probably at the Ferry Building four times a week, minimum. So, while you’re there, pick up a box of colorful, beautifully decorated tarts from Smooch Tartshop. Flavors range from ube coconut to lemon and ginger meringue or chocolate millionaire. You can order them in their normal size (3.5 inches) or bite-sized (less than 2 inches). Delivery and pick-up are available online.
Fowl + Fare
If you’re always on the lookout for the newest fried chicken sandwich (we definitely are), check out Fowl + Fare in Oakland. What goes on them changes occasionally, but one they always have is the classic with chipotle aioli, pear slaw, and a fried chicken thigh. Other sandwiches you’ll want to try include a Mediterranean fried chicken sandwich with feta tzatziki, za’atar, and tomato mint jam, and one with bacon black garlic ranch. Fowl + Fare is usually around on weekends, but check their Instagram for pop-up days and location.
In the Things Bay Area People Love hierarchy, there’s fried chicken sandwiches. Then there’s freshly baked sourdough. Every Thursday and Sunday, Haight Loaves in SF is making sourdough, sandwich bread, pizza (on Fridays), and focaccia. You can place an order for pick-up online or by DM-ing them on Instagram.
This Vietnamese spot doesn’t pop up often (so far, they’ve only done it twice). But if you check their Instagram and find out that a date is approaching, prepare to nab one of their dinner sets for two. For $65, you’ll get five courses with things like papaya salad, braised pork belly, and pandan butter mochi.
Unless you count last year’s one-day pop-up, Che Fico is now serving breakfast for the first time ever. On Saturdays and Sundays from 9am-12pm, you can choose from a menu of things like cherry and almond cornettos, prosciutto and egg breakfast sandwiches, and bowls of fresh fruit, all of which you can wash down with coffee from Sightglass.
Smish Smash Burgers
Smashburger enthusiasts, rejoice - Smish Smash is making thin, crispy, caramelized smashburgers out of Cookiebar Creamery in Downtown Oakland, Thursdays through Sundays. Fried chicken sandwiches, fries, and weekly specials, like this uni burger or this Mk’Rib, are also on the menu. And for dessert, you can order Cookiebar’s thick milkshakes or a scoop of ice cream.
We checked out Smish Smash - read about it here.
Our favorite place in the Marina to ride a mechanical bull (and by ride, we mean desperately cling onto) has transformed into a BBQ pop-up on Fillmore Street. Their space now has two new outdoor dining platforms where you can enjoy their live music, cocktails, and bottomless wings on Wednesdays. And if your idea of a perfect breakfast involves smokey brisket and saucy ribs, they start serving them at 11am on weekends.
Once a week, you can head to Zeitgeist’s spacious, socially-distanced beer garden for their new breakfast pop-up, Zeitcafe. From 8am-1pm on Thursdays, they’ll serve Bloody Marys, beer, and espresso and cold brew from Four Barrel Coffee, and an egg, spam, and jalapeño aioli breakfast sandwich. They’ll also make burgers after 11:30am.
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Four Barrel and Zeitgeist are partnering again for ZeitCafe! This morning from 8am-1pm. Four Barrel’s baristas will be serving fancy coffees out of the Zeitgeist front door. Chef @no.days.off.matt will be serving his new breakfast sandwich “The Mission Subi”- scrambled eggs, Spam, seaweed, and jalapeño aioli on toasted sourdough. Coffee served in the garden. Bloodies served in the garden. Zeitbooths. Strong Wifi. Sunshine. @fourbarrelcoffee 🍺 Zeitgeist SF 🍺 Valencia St x Duboce Ave The Mission St - SF #zeitgeist #fourbarrelcoffee #fourbarrel #beergarden #restaurant #beer #food #bar #divebar #bartender #barista #baristalife #sanfrancisobars #bloodymary #draftbeer #coffee #neighborhoodbar #localbar #brunch #barsofinstagram #beerbars #coffeetime #coldbeer #missiondistrict #coffeeaddict #daydrinking #burgersandbeer #coldbrew #sanfrancisco #coffeelover
The North Beach institution is forgoing takeout for now, and turning into a pop-up for the summer. They’re serving pre-fixed, four-course meals - and pizza by A16 - out of the garden courtyard at St. Joseph’s, a former-church-turned-arts-space on Howard Street. Expect to see things like a mixed grill of meatballs, sausage, and hanger steak, or fresh salads on the menu. You can reserve your table here.
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Join us in partnership with @toscacafesf for Tosca: Summer at Saint Joe's. Our transformed courtyard will transport you to dining al fresco on Capri. Our menu this week features Italian classics like Caesar salad paired with grilled swordfish and Pizza Napoletano @a16sf. Make your reservations on Tock today from the link in our bio.
It used to be hard for East Bay-ers to track down Señor Sisig’s food truck. The truck made occasional appearances at East Bay Off the Grids, and had a brief stint in Oakland’s Dimond District. But now, if you live in the area, you won’t have to travel all the way to their brick-and-mortar spot in the Mission to get their excellent, flavorful burritos and nachos. They’re operating a semi-permanent pop-up at 1628 Webster in Downtown Oakland, every day from 11am to 8:30pm.
The people behind one of our favorite wood-fired bagels are now in the Mission - Daily Driver is taking over Mission Cheese’s space on Saturdays from 9am-2pm, and Sundays from 10am-5pm. They also teamed up with the creamery to create a ham and jack cheese bagel and grilled cheese bagel sandwiches.
Back in March, the chefs behind Lord Stanley and Mister Jiu’s teamed up to offer a weekly-changing five-course dinner, with things like smoked duck, stuffed zucchini blossom, and coconut rice pudding that you can reheat or assemble at home. You can pre-order yours here for pick-up at Lord Stanley, Tuesday through Saturday. Each kit serves one and is $80-100.
The chef behind Baia, a brand-new vegan Italian spot in Hayes Valley, has also created a plant-based sushi pop-up called Woodblock. It’s operating out of the Baia kitchen and has a menu of veggie-focused rolls, like a spicy crab roll made with hearts of palm and an unagi tempura roll made with eggplant and tempeh.
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We are OPEN today 5pm - 9pm for take away and delivery!⠀ Click the link in our bio to see our menu and ordering options.⠀ ⠀ We’re so excited, and we hope you are too! Don’t forget to tag us in your posts and stories @woodblocksf.⠀ .⠀ .⠀ .⠀ .⠀ .⠀ .⠀ #woodblock #plantbased #vegan #matthewkenneycuisine #sushi #vegansushi #sanfrancisco #open @yourkompas