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The SF and Oakland Pop-Up Heatmap: Where To Go NOW

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These days, pop-ups aren't just a way for chefs to experiment on the side: they're often the launching pads for future hot restaurants, as fans of Rich Table, PizzaHacker, Hillside Supper Club, Ichi Sushi + Ni Bar, Juhu Beach Club, and numerous other acclaimed pop-ups gone permanent can attest. So where can you check out the next big thing before it happens? Here are 15 pop-ups that have recently caught our attention (all are currently in operation or have done an event within the last month), with intel on what they serve and where to catch them. It's by no means a comprehensive guide—pop-ups are too ephemeral and change too frequently to provide anything of the sort—but it should hopefully serve as a starting point to explore SF's culinary underground.


We know we probably missed some great pop-ups (they're not always easy to track!) Please share your favorites in the comments, and we'll consider them for future editions of this guide.

· The Bay Area Heatmap: Where to Eat NOW [~ ESF ~]
· All Pop-Ups posts [~ ESF ~]

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Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.

Berlinetta Playlist

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Every other Friday night, the bartending duo of Brian Felley and Mo Hodges (of the sadly shuttered Big) pop up at this lounge inside the Mystic Hotel to serve cocktails. They're around from 9 pm-1 am, and local DJs usually spin as well.

Hapa Ramen at Wing Wings

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While Richie Nakano continues to work on his brick-and-mortar, he and his team can be found nearly every Monday night (6-10 pm) at Wing Wings, where he serves up quirky ramens (this week's is lamb with shiso jelly) and occasionally even tacos. Updated menus usually show up day-of on Tumblr.

The Mill's Monday Pizza Party

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Monday-night pizza is now a regular fixture at the Mill (6-9 pm), with Josey Baker turning his bread mastery to California-style vegetarian pies that rotate weekly (in the tradition of Cheese Board and Arizmendi). Caramelized onion-pepper and potato-leek have been topping combos so far. Call ahead to pick up a whole pie, or eat a slice in-house. Baker's Instagram usually features the pie of the week.

WesBurger

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Regular readers may recall our interview with burger expert Wes Rowe, who's now using his research to produce superlative combos like the Dalton Burger, with portabella confit, caramelized onion pesto, and smoked provolone, or the Bruschetta Burger, with basil garlic aioli, balsamic tomatoes and mozzarella. Find him every Wednesday (6-10 pm) at Mojo Bicycle Cafe; he also makes occasional Thursday-night appearances at the SOMA StrEat Food Park.

Bespoke Doughnuts

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This Sunday pop-up at Castro bar Beaux takes doughnuts to the next level, with artfully decorated, freshly-fried pastries that usually include at least one savory option. Toasted beet with dill and tarragon, pulled pork, dark chocolate s'more, and strawberry lemon are among the three weekly rotating flavors.

Every Friday and/or Saturday, this Mexican pop-up peddles tacos from a window at Tartine Bakery, with freshly-made tortillas and fillings like birria, carnitas, and carne asada. They usually run from 7:30 or 8 until 11, but sellouts happen; check their Twitter feed for the latest.

Thistle

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Juice pop-ups have come and gone in SF, with many eventually scoring their own brick-and-mortars (like Juice Shop and Project Juice). The latest is this Berkeley-based juicery, which appears at West of Pecos from 9 am-4:30 pm on weekdays with combos like apple-grapefruit-burdock and carrot-orange-turmeric.

Naked Kitchen SF

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This private home has become one of the city's best spaces for pop-ups to take wing, regularly hosting high-end BYOB dinners by Mullen & Smith, Ante and Post Meridian, Sous Beurre Kitchen, and other projects from chefs who've trained in high-end kitchens. This Friday's dinner features Azorean cuisine from Ronny Miranda, while Ante Meridian will serve black truffle waffles for Sunday brunch.

Dear Mom

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Dear Mom's kitchen is a reliable spot to catch pop-ups for Saturday and Sunday brunch. Mr. Kim's (Korean deli) and The Naughty Hindu (Indian) are currently scheduled, and Marla Bakery, Ante Meridian, and the infamous Eastside Bagels have all been past participants.

Trilogi SF

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24th Street wine bar La Movida plays host on Tuesdays (6-10 pm) to this "Thai tapas" pop-up, which offers Tessa Phosrithong and Vivien Li's takes on green curry chicken, Hawaiian fried-chicken sliders, and glass noodles with shrimp and pork, among other options, as well as La Movida's full wine and beer offering (each dish has a suggested pairing).

Balls Deep Arancini

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Situated at the intersection of fried, carbs, and cheese, arancini are pretty much the best drunk food you could ask for. Staffed by Seven Hills and Henry Miller Library alums, this regular Saturday night pop-up takes the goods to hungry drinkers at El Rio, with flavors like eggplant-pesto and avocado-jalapeno. They're around from 9 pm-1 am.

Peko Peko

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Sylvan Mishima Brackett now has a space in the Mission for his farm-to-table Japanese fare, but until Rintaro arrives later this summer, he continues to do his thing via pop-ups. Get on his e-mail list for info on events, which typically go down on Wednesday or Thursday nights in Oakland.

Bistro Ordinaire

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While he plots his Kronnerburger brick-and-mortar in Oakland (arriving this summer), Chris Kronner has been making regular "bistro" appearances at cute Grand Lake wine bar Ordinaire on Thursdays and Fridays. He mostly eschews burgers for the more upscale and market-driven fare he perfected at Bar Tartine. His Instagram and Ordinaire's Facebook are good places to get updates.

curATE by Quince

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As Quince's regular space goes under the knife for renovations, Michael and Lindsay Tusk have launched curATE, a pop-up series at Hedge Gallery that runs through August 30th. Each week has art from a different curator and food themed around it. It's open Wednesdays-Saturdays, and Kim Kardashian and Kanye West took 30 people there last week, if that's an incentive.

Abura-ya

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This pop-up based out of Oakland's Garden House offers Japanese-style fried chicken and a variety of izakaya-style sides. Catch them Thursday-Sunday, 6-10 pm; they also appear at other venues, like Virgil's Sea Room, from time to time.

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Berlinetta Playlist

Every other Friday night, the bartending duo of Brian Felley and Mo Hodges (of the sadly shuttered Big) pop up at this lounge inside the Mystic Hotel to serve cocktails. They're around from 9 pm-1 am, and local DJs usually spin as well.

Hapa Ramen at Wing Wings

While Richie Nakano continues to work on his brick-and-mortar, he and his team can be found nearly every Monday night (6-10 pm) at Wing Wings, where he serves up quirky ramens (this week's is lamb with shiso jelly) and occasionally even tacos. Updated menus usually show up day-of on Tumblr.

The Mill's Monday Pizza Party

Monday-night pizza is now a regular fixture at the Mill (6-9 pm), with Josey Baker turning his bread mastery to California-style vegetarian pies that rotate weekly (in the tradition of Cheese Board and Arizmendi). Caramelized onion-pepper and potato-leek have been topping combos so far. Call ahead to pick up a whole pie, or eat a slice in-house. Baker's Instagram usually features the pie of the week.

WesBurger

Regular readers may recall our interview with burger expert Wes Rowe, who's now using his research to produce superlative combos like the Dalton Burger, with portabella confit, caramelized onion pesto, and smoked provolone, or the Bruschetta Burger, with basil garlic aioli, balsamic tomatoes and mozzarella. Find him every Wednesday (6-10 pm) at Mojo Bicycle Cafe; he also makes occasional Thursday-night appearances at the SOMA StrEat Food Park.

Bespoke Doughnuts

This Sunday pop-up at Castro bar Beaux takes doughnuts to the next level, with artfully decorated, freshly-fried pastries that usually include at least one savory option. Toasted beet with dill and tarragon, pulled pork, dark chocolate s'more, and strawberry lemon are among the three weekly rotating flavors.

LOQUI

Every Friday and/or Saturday, this Mexican pop-up peddles tacos from a window at Tartine Bakery, with freshly-made tortillas and fillings like birria, carnitas, and carne asada. They usually run from 7:30 or 8 until 11, but sellouts happen; check their Twitter feed for the latest.

Thistle

Juice pop-ups have come and gone in SF, with many eventually scoring their own brick-and-mortars (like Juice Shop and Project Juice). The latest is this Berkeley-based juicery, which appears at West of Pecos from 9 am-4:30 pm on weekdays with combos like apple-grapefruit-burdock and carrot-orange-turmeric.

Naked Kitchen SF

This private home has become one of the city's best spaces for pop-ups to take wing, regularly hosting high-end BYOB dinners by Mullen & Smith, Ante and Post Meridian, Sous Beurre Kitchen, and other projects from chefs who've trained in high-end kitchens. This Friday's dinner features Azorean cuisine from Ronny Miranda, while Ante Meridian will serve black truffle waffles for Sunday brunch.

Dear Mom

Dear Mom's kitchen is a reliable spot to catch pop-ups for Saturday and Sunday brunch. Mr. Kim's (Korean deli) and The Naughty Hindu (Indian) are currently scheduled, and Marla Bakery, Ante Meridian, and the infamous Eastside Bagels have all been past participants.

Trilogi SF

24th Street wine bar La Movida plays host on Tuesdays (6-10 pm) to this "Thai tapas" pop-up, which offers Tessa Phosrithong and Vivien Li's takes on green curry chicken, Hawaiian fried-chicken sliders, and glass noodles with shrimp and pork, among other options, as well as La Movida's full wine and beer offering (each dish has a suggested pairing).

Balls Deep Arancini

Situated at the intersection of fried, carbs, and cheese, arancini are pretty much the best drunk food you could ask for. Staffed by Seven Hills and Henry Miller Library alums, this regular Saturday night pop-up takes the goods to hungry drinkers at El Rio, with flavors like eggplant-pesto and avocado-jalapeno. They're around from 9 pm-1 am.

Peko Peko

Sylvan Mishima Brackett now has a space in the Mission for his farm-to-table Japanese fare, but until Rintaro arrives later this summer, he continues to do his thing via pop-ups. Get on his e-mail list for info on events, which typically go down on Wednesday or Thursday nights in Oakland.

Bistro Ordinaire

While he plots his Kronnerburger brick-and-mortar in Oakland (arriving this summer), Chris Kronner has been making regular "bistro" appearances at cute Grand Lake wine bar Ordinaire on Thursdays and Fridays. He mostly eschews burgers for the more upscale and market-driven fare he perfected at Bar Tartine. His Instagram and Ordinaire's Facebook are good places to get updates.

curATE by Quince

As Quince's regular space goes under the knife for renovations, Michael and Lindsay Tusk have launched curATE, a pop-up series at Hedge Gallery that runs through August 30th. Each week has art from a different curator and food themed around it. It's open Wednesdays-Saturdays, and Kim Kardashian and Kanye West took 30 people there last week, if that's an incentive.