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Popular Malaysian Chain Brings Brown Sugar Boba Mania to San Francisco

Plus, Salvadoran pop-up Popoca finds a new home for an all-day cafe and bar in Oakland, and more intel

Daboba/Facebook

Welcome to p.m. Intel, your bite-sized roundup of Bay Area food and restaurant news. Tips are always welcome, drop them here.


  • San Francisco restaurants laden with debt as a result of the pandemic have a new option for relief: The city has launched a $12 million program to allow small businesses struggling as a result of the pandemic to borrow up to $100,000, interest free. The result of a partnership between the state and local nonprofit and economic development organizations, the SF Small Business Recovery Loan Fund says it will focus on businesses with fewer than 50 employees and gross revenues of less than $2.5 million (it’s also open to new business owners). Applications are open here. [SF Business Times]
  • Massive Malaysian boba chain Daboba, known for its trendy, aesthetic caramelized milk teas, is headed to San Francisco. It’s part of a major expansion for the chain, which is plotting more than 50 locations across Europe and in U.S. cities including Dallas, Houston, San Diego, Miami, and New York. Daboba has not yet announced where locations will open in the area, but a rep tells Eater they are expected to open by the end of 2021. The chain, founded in Malaysia in 2018, makes its boba pearls in house (both a standard boba and a golden-colored version made with honey) and in addition to milk tea serves cheese teas, fruit teas, and frappes made with yogurt.
  • Good news for fans of Popoca’s wood-fire tamales and pupusas: After plans to open a restaurant in Classic Cars West were dashed, chef Anthony Salguero has signed a lease in the Dimond District, Berkeleyside reports. The two-year-old Oakland pop-up will open as an all-day restaurant at 3525 Fruitvale Avenue serving coffee and pastries in the morning, lunch and dinner, and after-hours cocktails and snacks. Salguero expects to open Popoca in 2022, according to Berkeleyside, and is currently popping up at Degrees Plato in Oakland on Sundays and Mondays. [Berkeleyside]
  • The Mission is losing its popular outpost of chain sandwich shop Top Round Roast Beef (the only one in San Francisco), but franchisee Ricky Lopez is opening his own restaurant, La Vaca Birria, in its place. SFGate reports that the San Bruno taco truck will expand with a restaurant at 2962 24th Street serving birria tacos, birria fries, and birria ramen, as well as Mexican beers and cocktails, as early as August 18. The La Vica Birria taco truck in San Bruno will stay open. [SFGate]

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