Downtown workers looking to spice up their lunch routines and tourists seeking a taste of something uniquely Bay Area will have a new dining option at the city’s landmark Ferry Building as of next week when pioneering Filipino-American food truck Señor Sisig fires up its latest location. Taking over the former Brown Sugar Kitchen space, the third permanent Señor Sisig restaurant sticks to the bold favorites that have made the company a smash hit for the past decade — but co-founders Evan Kidera and Gil Payumo also have some new tricks up their sleeves.
The new location menu ports over many of the restaurant’s vegan options and, thanks to some collaborations with other Ferry Building tenants, debuts a handful of new items, too, including a sisig torta and bite-sized churros painted with purple ube-macapuno sauce. Being able to put down roots under the iconic clocktower among the ranks of other well-loved local vendors marks a special milestone for the owners. “It’s exciting to be a part of it,” Kidera says. “For me, to have this happen now, it’s humbling, but it’s also exciting.”
Of course, the heart of the menu remains the same as ever: Señor Sisig’s modern take on the staple Filipino dish, sisig. Payumo, the driving force behind the menu, explains Señor Sisig’s version of the Kapampangan cuisine classic substitutes leaner pork shoulder for the usual blend of pig face and belly, but still requires long hours of marinating before being finished off on a grill to achieve the ideal crispy texture. Diners can get the “San Francisco-style sisig,” as Kidera says he once saw it called on a menu in Manila, stuffed into burritos, scooped into tacos, piled onto nachos or fries, and plated simply with a side of rice.
But longtime Señor Sisig stans will have some new options to explore as well. For one, the co-founders are proud to be bringing over plant-based protein to the newest location. Customers will have the option to order any menu items with vegan “chicken,” which the company sources from Oakland’s Layonna Vegetarian. They’re also teaming up with Acme Bread, which bakes perfect sour baguettes and impeccable apple turnovers just around the corner in the Ferry Building, to bring a pork torta to the menu. As you’d expect from Señor Sisig’s audacious culinary minds, it’s a fully loaded affair layered with beans, guacamole, pickled onions, and more, then griddled to give a nice crunch upon the first bite.
To wrap up the meal, nab a portion of the new ube-macapuno churros, which come cut into bite-sized pieces, perfect for snacking on while wandering through the food hall or around the Saturday market. Payumo says they teamed up with Acme on the churro batter, so, naturally it achieves the ideal airy, almost custardy interior with a golden, sugar-and-cinnamon-coated shell. Through the first month of operation, the restaurant will also stock the wildly popular Humphry Slocombe ice cream collab dubbed “churron,” a delicately sweet banana ice cream threaded with cinnamon caramel and broken up with hunks of churros.
Down the line, there are even more delicious things to come. The co-founders and best friends (Kidera and Payumo met way back when in high school before coming together to launch the first Señor Sisig food truck) can’t wait to revive their partnership with empanada king Joseph Ahearne of El Porteño, who they’ve known since Señor Sisig’s early days. They hope to bring back a pork and pineapple-filled empanada they first worked together on about a decade ago. They’re also still firming up the licensing for the Ferry Building’s locations alcohol permits, after which they’ll launch Señor Sisig’s first cocktails. Keep an eye out for options like an alcohol-spiked version of their ube horchata and the Señorita, a margarita that’s gone sailing through the Southeast Asian archipelago where it picked up ingredients like Datu Puti vinegar, Nixta Licor de Elote, and tamarind.
The approximately 600-square-foot space might feel tight to some operators — and to be fair, it is — but for a team accustomed to squeezing into food truck footprints, the counter service spot will more than suffice. Plus, there’s a surprising amount of seating for customers; in addition to that 30-seat back patio overlooking the bay and the elegant bridge stretching across its length, they plan to drop a handful of high tops across from the counter to provide an additional 20-odd seats. For now, they’ll serve lunch and dinner 7 days a week, opening earlier on Saturday and Sundays for anyone who wants to silog (as in, toss a fried egg on) a plate of rice and sisig to start the day. For both founders, being able to serve Señor Sisig’s Filipino-American street food as a part of the Ferry Building community calls back to their days setting up shop at food truck events like Off the Grid — well before they knew they’ll grow to become a beloved Bay Area destination for guilty pleasures like the Sisig Crunchwrap. “It kind of comes back full circle,” Kidera says.
Señor Sisig Ferry Building (1 Ferry Building in San Francisco) opens on August 24 and will serve lunch and dinner 7 days a week.