Welcome to day four of the 9th annual Eater Awards, honoring the most esteemed restaurants, bars, chefs, and more in cities across the world. Here’s how the Eater Awards work: All 24 Eater cities and the national site will award prizes in multiple categories, including but not limited to Restaurant of the Year, Chef of the Year, and Design of the Year. In each category, editors will choose an editor’s choice winner and readers will vote for a reader’s choice winner — all to be announced on December 5, 2018.
Today’s award is for the Bay Area’s Pop-up of the Year, a category that is dear to the heart of readers and chefs alike. It’s a great way to show off skills and cuisines, and to test out the viability of a restaurant and raise money to open it. This year, many of the region’s most popular pop-ups went permanent, with restaurants like FOB Kitchen, Tacos Oscar, Sorrel, and RTB Fillmore (now Avery) opening in brick-and-mortar locations.
They’re fun and less predictable than a regular restaurant, and the Bay Area is full of great options. Here’s a rundown of the contenders for Pop-Up of the Year:
From Francis Ang, a native Filipino, Pinoy Heritage serves traditional Filipino food inspired by Ang’s heritage and his experience as a chef in San Francisco. They’re frequently found at Mestiza Taqueria in SF and bars like Pacific Cocktail Haven.
Matt Horn’s Texas-style barbecue has been drawing lines all over Oakland and SF as word spreads of his fatty brisket, hot links, and stellar sides. Keep an eye out for Horn at breweries like Harmonic in SF and in West Oakland.
Chefs Julya Shin and Steve Joo have successfully woven together their experiences as chefs in some of California’s best restaurants — including Chez Panisse and Terra — with their Korean-American backgrounds. Ssam with short ribs and duck, skewers of grilled meat, and more are part of their menu; they pop-up frequently at Oakland restaurants like Boot and Shoe Service.
Serving primarily okonomiyaki, this Japanese street food pop-up is run by a husband and wife team. They pop-up frequently in outdoor spaces like Temescal Brewing and the courtyard at Izakaya Rintaro, cooking their savory pancakes al fresco.
Square Pie Guys
Detroit-style pan pizzas are the star of this pop-up from two pizza-obsessed chefs. They pop up at Vinyl wine bar weekly on Thursdays and Fridays, and at bars like Prizefighter.