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A Dip Bar From Bar Tartine Chef Nick Balla Hits Trendy Twitter Marketplace

It’s part of the chef’s efforts to repurpose B grade produce

Dips at Smokebread
Ellen Fort

Surprise: Chef Nick Balla’s sustainable dip project, Smokebread, has resurfaced after its stint as a pop-up within the Perennial ended last fall. This time, it’s operating as a permanent kiosk at the Market on Market in the bottom of the Twitter building.

Besides keeping his delicious dips available for fans, the kiosk — which opened yesterday — is also a launching pad for Balla’s wholesale and packaged business; he plans to expand production to accommodate white labeling for bigger companies and distribution to other markets.

For now, Smokebread takes up a bit of primo real estate within the Market, located on the corner of 10th and Market, next to the ice cream freezers, and adjacent to the uber popular Poké Bar. Balla’s plan is not necessarily to directly compete with the hopping lunch spots that already draw lines during the lunchtime rush. It’s more a place to grab a light lunch, or snacks.

“I could see these kiosks in airports and other places like that,” says Balla. “Really you can make anything into a dip.”

That includes pounds and pounds of B grade produce like zucchini, spaghetti squash, carrots, and more, all of which find their way into Balla’s selection of scoopable, dippable items. At its new location, order one item for $4, or three items for $10, choosing from smoked potato bread, veggies to dip, pickles, and then, of course, the dips.

The dips change based on what Balla sources from farmers markets, and purveyors like Good Eggs and Imperfect Produce. Currently, the menu features a spicy pumpkin seed tahini with zucchini and green chili, a paprika farmer’s cheese with sunflower and poppy, and other seasonal mashups. (Check out the menu below.) He plans to add some of his popular chopped salads and bottled brine drinks in the near future.

Meanwhile, Balla still has plans for Duna Kitchen, a restaurant that will also serve as his processing facility for wholesale production. Keep an eye out for some possible test dinners in the Market space down the line.

Smokebread is now open Monday-Friday from 11 a.m.- 2 p.m.

The Market

1355 Market St, San Francisco, CA 94103 (415) 767-5130