At Off the Grid, we’re steadfast in our commitment to creating lively, communal spaces that are free, open and welcoming to all. Pride Week in San Francisco is a time for us to reflect on everything that makes what we do so special — and the diverse community of mobile food entrepreneurs who we work with are at the very core of it.
Whether it’s a public street food event for 6,000, or a private curbside affair for 600, the entrepreneurs who lovingly craft those delicious baos, boba and barbecue each week are what bring a community together, and make our shared spaces unlike any other.
This Friday at Off the Grid: Fort Mason Center, we hope you’ll join us in celebrating everything that makes us proud (see what we’re up to here). To kick off the festivities, we asked three LGBTQI-owned mobile food businesses — and members of the Off the Grid family — to share what pride means to them.
Wing Man Food Truck
Originally from Charleston, South Carolina Wing Man owner Joe Trez relocated to beautiful Sonoma, California with his sights set on opening a food truck with the best wings in town. A chance encounter while vacationing in Hawaii led Joe to his future husband, Sean, who quickly become an integral part of the Wing Man story.
A former Sous Chef at Bouchon by Thomas Keller, Joe is meticulous in his craft and places an emphasis on sourcing fresh and never frozen Sonoma-raised chickens, the best and most intense Carolina reapers, and only the purest cayenne and paprika to amplify its flavor. In fact, everything on Wing Man’s menu — except the ketchup — is made from scratch.
Joe says that without the love and support of his husband, Sean, Wing Man wouldn’t be where it is today, and that’s what makes him truly proud. “For me, pride is about being myself no matter what anyone else says or thinks. Love is love and we should all respect that, regardless of whether you understand it or not. I’m so grateful to have my wonderful and supportive husband in my life. We love living in the Bay Area.”
J-Shack Japanese Crêperie
When J-Shack owners Atsushi Inoue and Peter Megumi Camacho first arrived in the Bay Area, they were dismayed to learn that the Harajuku-style crepes they so loved in their native Tokyo were nowhere to be found.
In 2014, they set off to launch their own roving Japanese creperie — the first of its kind in the region — with the goal of bringing the spirit of Japanese street food to San Francisco. Today, crepe-lovers across the Bay Area delight in their fun and creative flavor combinations like Japanese kurobuta sausage and okonomi (Japanese pancake), and choco-banana with housemade custard cream, all made with fresh, organic ingredients.
For Atsushi, celebrating Pride in the city where he launched his business alongside his partner takes on a particularly special meaning. “The Bay Area is so open-minded, and we’ve never felt excluded. We’ve met so many great people though J-Shack, and it was very special when our current and former employees came to celebrate our wedding in 2016. We’re proud to live here.”
Little Green Cyclo
Helmed by former investment banker and Boston-native Monica Wong, Little Green Cyclo is a Bay Area-favorite known for their fresh, healthy Vietnamese street food. What began as a single food truck in 2010 has since blossomed into a family of three trucks that includes a boba and dessert off-shoot, a bustling commercial commissary space, and a newly-opened brick and mortar bistro in Brisbane, California.
But for Monica, her success has been measured in her ability to remain authentically herself through it all. “The most amazing thing about operating a business in the Bay Area as an Asian, women-owned, gay business is that you can just be who you are. We’ve never had to present ourselves as anything else, and we never will.”
Staying true to their beliefs extends to the company’s approach to food as well. Beloved for their organic proteins served over Jasmine rice, banh mi and fresh salad, as well as their craveable sides like garlic noodles and fresh organic tofu spring rolls, Monica sources all of Little Green Cyclo’s meats locally from purveyors like Jidori (free-range chicken), Snake River Farms (pork) and Wildwood (organic tofu).
Both Little Green Cyclo and J-Shack are fixtures at Off the Grid’s weekly community markets throughout the Bay Area.
Meanwhile, you can find Wing Man this Friday night at Off the Grid: Fort Mason Center, where he’ll be proudly slinging his Carolina-meets-Sonoma creations alongside the night’s featured cocktail, the ‘Pride Swizzle’. Featuring Bulleit bourbon, mint, maple, lemon and Peychaud’s bitters, Joe recommends pairing it with Wing Man’s “Porky’s Revenge” pulled pork sandwich (all-day root beer braised pulled pork, spicy slaw and crispy bacon on a toasted roll). “Order the Southern Brother, a low country Carolina-style mustard-based tangy barbecue sauce, to go with it,” he adds. The Wing Man has spoken!
Celebrate San Francisco Pride with us this Friday at Fort Mason Center with live drag makeovers from legendary drag queen Juanita MORE! and Powerblouse, a performance by Gringa, and a our special Bulleit Bourbon ‘Pride Swizzle’ cocktail, available for Pride night only. Learn more >