After a few long months of hibernation, Off the Grid: Fort Mason Center is finally back and ready to pull out all the stops in 2019. Featuring exciting new mobile food creators, new attractions and returning fan favorites, trust us when we say the 9th season of San Francisco’s biggest Friday night party is one that can’t be missed.
With so much to eat and discover this year, we thought we’d share our juiciest insider tips (after all, we’ve been doing this for a while) to ensure that you and your crew get the most out of Friday nights at Fort Mason Center.
Be the First to Sample 2019’s New Mobile Food Creators
2019 is already shaping up to be the year of the incubator, and guests at Off the Grid: Fort Mason Center are about to reap the benefits. A variety of up-and-coming chefs from both Instrucktional (Off the Grid’s own 24-month mobile food incubator in partnership with Google) and BiteUnite (a co-working kitchen for food entrepreneurs located in the Mission) will be featured in a rotating fashion, showcasing chefs at various stages in their culinary journeys. Off the Grid: Fort Mason Center is one of the few places that you can try these new concepts before they blow up and hit the mainstream (and you can proudly say that you knew about them before they were cool).
An exciting array of new creators have also signed on to participate for the 2019 season. Matt Horn is bringing his highly sought-after authentic Texas barbecue concept Horn Barbecue every other Friday, much to the delight of all SF brisket-lovers. Southern California shellfish extraordinaire Lobsterdamus is already a fan-favorite at Smorgasburg in Los Angeles and Brooklyn, and now their fresh-caught Maine lobster specialties will be available at Fort Mason Center. In addition, this year marks the return of San Francisco food pioneer Mission Street Food from Anthony Myint after a multi-year hiatus. Mission Street Food will debut a few instant classics exclusively at Off the Grid: Fort Mason Center in 2019. The options for our vegan guests are seemingly endless this season, too.
…And Don’t Forget About Your Old Favorites
Alongside the newcomers, a slew of fan favorites who are no stranger to Off the Grid’s other community markets will also be joining the bustling action of Off the Grid: Fort Mason Center for the first time this year. You may have enjoyed Little Red Riding Truck, Spunbyss or Street Steam Bunz at other Off the Grid markets or catered events, and now they’re stepping up to bat in the big leagues with delicious new offerings for our flagship event.
Before you come, make sure to check out the weekly creator lineup so you’ll know exactly which corner of the lot to make a beeline for — or even better, download the official Off the Grid app: [Download for iOS | Download for Android]. There’s also a good chance that more creators will be added as the year progresses, so keep an eye on Off the Grid’s Instagram account for the latest news about creator additions as the season wears on.
Dress Code: Just Come Hungry
Whether you’re arriving straight from work in business attire (happy hour, anyone?), grabbing a bite in your post-pilates class best, or schlepping from your freelance gig in your favorite three-quarter zip fleece, you’ll fit right in at Off the Grid: Fort Mason Center. In other words, simply come as you are — this is San Francisco after all! If we’re honest, some of our best-dressed guests often have four legs and a tail.
But as goes all good fashion advice for the unpredictable microclimates of San Francisco, it’s always advisable to dress in layers so you’ll be prepared for any meteorological curveballs. Not to worry though — for the nights when the fog or cool temps (hey, Karl!) overpower the waterfront views at Fort Mason Center, we’ve got plenty of sheltered lounge spaces, fire pits, and heat lamps to gather around for warmth.
Grab Some Friends and Gather ‘Round
As is true with all Off the Grid markets, we welcome guests of all ages and backgrounds. In seasons past, we’ve been the backdrop to birthday parties with friends, happy hours with colleagues, nights out on the town, and of course, plenty of good ol’ fashion family fun. With no reservations required and a laid-back atmosphere, Off the Grid: Fort Mason Center also makes for a perfect first date spot with your latest Hinge hottie or Bumble beau. Looking for a place to entertain visiting guests from out of town? We can’t think of a better way to show off the vibe of the city on a Friday night than with delicious mobile food options that offer something for everyone, drinks aplenty and an unbeatable ambiance set against the backdrop of the San Francisco Bay.
Dog parents can relish our new Fido Fridays — every third Friday (beginning March 15th) guests are encouraged to bring their dogs along to the party. Off the Grid: Fort Mason Center will offer Yappy Hour specials from 5:30-6:30pm (10% off Rye on the Road drinks for all guests with a pup in tow), along with a “Hair of the Dog” specialty cocktail. Special treats and doggie bowl stations will be available for all canine guests, as well.
Experience the Best of California’s Mobile Food Mecca
When it comes to mobile food, California is king. The Golden State is the highest grossing in the country for mobile food entrepreneurs, with nearly 1,400 flourishing mobile establishments generating over $200 million just in 2018. And while at there are certainly a few mouth-watering San Francisco-born staples like Senor Sisig and Straw (hello, donut burger!), Off the Grid: Fort Mason Center also shines a spotlight on homegrown talent beyond the Bay, featuring creators from all over California — from LA to Santa Cruz to Sonoma.
To take advantage of living in the heart of the mobile food Mecca, make sure to indulge in Wing Man, serving up Sonoma County’s finest buffalo wings (featuring an entirely-made-from-scratch menu!), or finish off your evening with a cup of gelato from Gio Gelati, whose sweet treats are made exclusively with California sourced ingredients.
Elevate Your Status to VIP
If you’ve ever walked into Off the Grid: Fort Mason Center on a Friday night and been struck by the feeling of “decision paralysis”, you’re not alone. With so many tasty mobile food options, it can be hard to choose just one meal to nosh on (and don’t forget dessert, too).
Enter the VIP Tasting Ticket, exclusive to Off the Grid: Fort Mason Center. For just $25, you’ll get your pick of four generous tastes from a rotating selection of mobile food creators. With the VIP Tasting Ticket, you can sample a variety of items rather than just filling up on one meal (unless that’s what you came for — you do you!). Plus, you’ll get to skip the line and get to go straight to the pick-up window, making your fuss-free feast that much more enjoyable. The VIP Tasting Ticket is perfect for the foodie with FOMO or the indecisive eater who already did a few laps and still can’t decide what to order. Click here to grab yours in advance.
Come Early and Get Friday Night Started Right
Off the Grid: Fort Mason Center regularly attracts thousands of guests from the Bay Area and beyond. And while the crowd and atmosphere are certainly part of the draw, our communal spaces can fill up quickly. If your M.O. is to hang around all night with us, arrive early to make sure you snag a prime spot in one of our communal lounge areas or the fire pit of your choice.
Rest assured that all of the mobile food creators at Off the Grid are equipped to handle the masses, but if you’ve spent Friday working through lunch and are feeling especially ravenous, showing up early to beat the lines is a no-brainer. Plus, this will ensure that you don’t miss the gorgeous golden-hour sunset skies (which are especially stunning from Fort Mason Center’s historic waterfront location) with a cocktail already in hand.
Getting to Off the Grid: Fort Mason Center
Parking can be limited at Fort Mason Center — but don’t fret, as there are a number of alternative transportation options. If you can, consider leaving the car at home and consider coming on foot, by bike, via public transit or by rideshare. SF Muni’s 43 bus stops right in front of the Fort Mason Center entrance at Marina Boulevard and Laguna Street (although there are plenty of other Muni routes serving the area that drop off just a short walk away, including the 28, 30, 30X, 47 and 49).
Bonus: As our preferred rideshare partner for the 2019 season, Lyft is offering 20% off one ride to or from the event on March 8th, exclusively for guests attending the season debut of Off the Grid: Fort Mason Center with code OTGLYFT19.