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This Beloved Gumbo Pop-Up Is Opening Its First Location in the Bayview

Dontaye Ball of Gumbo Social gained many fans through farmer’s markets and hopes to bring the hive to the east side of San Francisco

Gumbo from Gumbo Social Gumbo Social
Paolo Bicchieri is a reporter at Eater SF writing about Bay Area restaurant and bar trends, coffee and cafes, and pop-ups.

Fans of the Outer Sunset farmer’s market’s Gumbo Social rejoice: Dontaye Ball’s powerful gumbo has found a permanent home in the Bayview. The business will move into the former Frisco Fried location at 5176 3rd Street. The permanent location plans to feature a “build your own gumbo” menu in addition to vegan, smoked turkey, and the traditional sausage bowl. Five different po’ boys, Ball’s California greens, and a slew of other vegan options that the entrepreneur trialed at the farmer’s market will also be on deck. Ball will have desserts curated by Yes Pudding for the space, a relationship he built through both businesses being at the farmer’s market.

Dontaye Ball, or Mr. Gumbo as he is known, gained notoriety for his regular appearance with the Sunset Mercantile’s farmer’s market and when the San Francisco Chronicle declared his gumbo one of the best renditions of the dish in the Bay. The chef says gumbo is the most important dish in America, and that the rich stew is as significant as jazz. Ball worked at Delfina — recently reopened and renovated — after graduating college in the city. He says he feels honored to take over the location in the Bayview. “I think it’s really important to acknowledge Marcel Banks, the previous owner, who built something in the Bayview that we are looking to add to,” Ball says. “We’re going to make it really beautiful.”

Ball is launching a Kickstarter campaign on Monday, November 21, as he gets the permanent location up and running, and has plans to link up with delivery apps, as well. (This is increasingly a common pop-up to permanent location maneuver; Chicano Nuevo’s Abraham Nuñez is doing the same thing to get his Mission District restaurant open.) In the meantime, the business is offering a hardy Thanksgiving menu full of turkey, bacon fat confit, and roasted vegetables. Though the space is small, Ball says he feels confident. “If you can make it in the Bayview, you can make it anywhere,” Ball says. “My goal is to make gumbo America’s national dish, and this is how I’m gonna do it.”

Gumbo Social will open at 5176 3rd Street in March 2023.