After its overwhelming popularity got it booted from the Mission, the San Francisco Street Food Festival nearly ended for good. But in a happy turn of events, the festival has announced it will return to the streets of San Francisco this August 15-16, taking a space at Pier 70. Located in the industrial Dogpatch neighborhood, the pier has plenty of room for a big crowd and great views of the Bay. "We’ve considered what distinguishes this festival so inherently, and it’s the urban space," Zigas told Inside Scoop. "A food festival in a park is a lovely thing, but it’s a different beast. To have it in an urban space was important to us."
Started by local nonprofit La Cocina in 2009, the festival began with just a handful of food vendors, but over the years, it grew to encompass 80 restaurants and street food purveyors, attracting over 50,000 ravenous attendees last year alone. Sprawling over six blocks in the already cramped Mission, the festival caused headaches for neighbors and local businesses who complained of overcrowding and nightmarish parking scenarios, prompting La Cocina's Executive Director Caleb Zigas to start the hunt for a new location (or shut the festival down entirely). Happily, Pier 70 stepped up to the plate.
In an effort to streamline the event and ease those crazy lines, La Cocina has partnered with Noise Pop and Midway for production assistance; they'll also coordinate a new program of music and entertainment for the festival. Freed from logistical constraints, La Cocina will be able to focus solely on the smorgasbord of food options. Vendors will vary from high-end restaurants like Jardinière to more traditional "street food" options like Curry Up Now, Bini's Kitchen or El Pípila, and for the first time, drinkers won't be confined to "booze pens"— cocktails and beer will be able to be consumed throughout the festival. Mark your calendars for August; we'll keep you posted when tickets go on sale.