A handful of our favorite food trucks and pop-up vendors have come out of covid with permanent locations, and we couldn’t be happier.
No more waiting and hoping your favorite rolling gourmet chefs will show up at an event—now, when the craving hits, you can go straight to the source. As you prepare your bucket list for where to dine around the Bay Area, we hope these spots are on your radar.
8 Food Trucks and Pop-ups with New Brick-and-Mortar Digs
Some say you haven’t lived if you haven’t tried the wildly popular food truck Señor Sisig’s burritos and tacos overflowing with marinated, grilled pork. Roughly 10 years ago, Evan Kidera and Gil Payumo introduced Filipino street food to the Bay Area with its namesake “sisig,” highly seasoned meat (typically pork) marinated for 24 hours and then grilled and chopped. After launching a fleet of trucks serving their Filipino-Mexican fusion dishes, the team opened their first permanent location in San Francisco’s Mission District.
Now Oakland residents don’t have to travel to get their sisig fix—in January, Señor Sisig opened its second location at the former Spice Monkey space. And even better? You can get your chicken, pork or tofu-filled tacos and burritos AND try their new all-vegan versions of the same items. Last November, the team launched Señor Sisig Vegano food truck, which was the only place to get the vegan menu until now.
Señor Sisig loves making their enticing food available to their fans—so much so that they’ve created THREE MORE Bay Area opportunities to get their goods with Local Kitchens. Local Kitchens is essentially a digital food hall where multiple food creators offer a one-stop-ordering experience. Order from Señor Sisig or any other creators via LocalKitchens.com for pickup or delivery and pay only once. (A few locations have limited seating.) And in case you were wondering, Señor Sisig’s rolling their trucks again at regularly scheduled Off the Grid food truck events too!
Where to find them: 1628 Weber Street, Oakland and 990 Valencia Street, San Francisco
Known initially as Chairman Bao, this award-winning food truck has been delighting patrons with its signature Coca Cola-braised pork buns for a while. The Chairman is no ho-hum bao outlet—the founder Chef Hiroo Nagahara earned his chops as Bar Charlie’s executive chef in Las Vegas. You’ll see evidence of his upscale culinary background in the carefully curated sauces, seasonings and preparations. The Chairman has had other brick-and-mortar outlets in the past, and diners can order takeout from its storefront in Bayview. In February, they opened a new location in an area called Hawker’s Alley on Kearny Street. They’re sharing the space with partner company Good Gais, and are hoping more vendors will join them as business picks back up in the area. The Chairman’s trucks are back at regularly scheduled Off the Grid events too!
Where to find them: 2723 Oakdale Ave., San Francisco and 357 Kearny St., San Francisco
Hotbird recently landed on our list of “Best Fried Chicken Sandwiches in the Bay Area,” and after one bite into their crispy, Nashville hot fried chicken sandwich slathered in spicy sauce on a buttered bun, you’ll know why. Hotbird attracted long lines when it was a regular pop-up at Off the Grid at the Presidio and Oakland First Fridays. They’ve recently opened a permanent spot in the Twitter building’s food hall (aka The Market). The Market is undergoing a massive renovation, so for now, the duo behind Hotbird is serving up a very limited menu featuring their irresistible fried chicken sandwiches with a choice of six sauces ranging from no heat to need-milk-NOW hot.
Where to find them: 1355 Market Street, Suite 180, San Francisco
Don’t be surprised if your mouth starts watering when you catch a whiff of Capelo’s savory USDA Prime meats as they are slow-smoked for 18 hours in a wood-fired smoker. These barbecue masters rub their locally sourced natural and organic meats with a proprietary spice blend and then place them on custom rotisseries that produce an unbelievably tasty outcome. John Capelo launched Capelo’s in 2012 after realizing the Bay Area was decidedly lacking in authentic southern barbecue. And there’s no question they’re passionate about what they do—they even have names for their three huge smokers!
Capelo’s has been slinging the goods from their food trucks up and down the peninsula. It’s worth a trek to Redwood City to pick up orders from their permanent takeout counter, open Tuesday through Saturday during lunchtime hours. Order ahead because they frequently sell out! John has big ambitions and plans to open a permanent restaurant with a beer garden at the same location, so stay tuned. Find their trucks at Off the Grid’s regularly scheduled events too.
Where to find them: 2655 Middlefield Rd., Redwood City
SF Chickenbox lands on several “best fried chicken sandwiches” lists in the Bay Area (including the one we mentioned earlier). Launched in 2019 by veteran chef Christian Ciscle (of Lower Haigh’s Wing Wings wing shop), SF Chickenbox has operated out of a few places around the city (Trademark and the Brew Coop). Fans have been devouring their delectable chicken sandwich, doused in their “special sauce,” similar to barbecue but slightly sweeter and spicier. SF Chickenbox is moving into a permanent home near Jackson Square. We don’t have a date yet, so check their social media channels for updates.
Where to find them: 464 Broadway Street, San Francisco
Head down to Jeepney Guy in Inner Sunset for the Bay Area’s best lechon (roasted suckling pig, one of the most popular dishes in the Philippines). Dennis Villafranca, the guy behind Jeepney Guy, has been delighting Bay Area diners with atypical Filipino food since 2011 as a mobile food vendor. Named after kitschy decorated jeeps that serve as primary transportation in the Philippines, Jeepney Guy now has a permanent home. You can order half and whole lechons (24-hour notice required) or pick up a lunch order of roasted chicken adobo rice plate, pork belly lechon flip dip sandwich, lumpia with chicken and garlic and many other flavor-loaded dishes. They deliver via Door Dash and will be offering catering services soon.
Where to find them: 1336 Ninth Ave., San Francisco (currently Friday, Saturday & Sundays)
Eat On Monday (another mobile food vendor who earned a spot on our “Best Fried Chicken Sandwiches in the Bay Area” list) is operating out of a commercial kitchen in Milpitas. Chicken sandwiches aren’t the only things good here—try their pulled pork sandwich, tonkatsu (breaded fried pork) sandwich or one of their juicy burgers. The truck has begun rolling again, and they offer catering services. Check their website and social media for the truck’s whereabouts.
Where to find them: 1558 Gladding Ct., Milpitas (Saturdays only)
El Garage started as a popup in the family’s driveway, serving neighbors an unbelievably delicious concoction known as quesabirria tacos. In case you’ve been in quarantine and are unaware of the quesabirria storm that has swept across California, birria is a slow-simmered, highly seasoned beef stew. Then the culinary wizards chop the beef and load it into taco shells. Not just any taco shells—the tortillas are either dipped into or drizzled with the chili-laced consommé from the stew and then fried on a smoking hot flat top grill. Then melted cheese, cilantro and diced onion finish things off. Many aficionados dip their quesabirrias into a side cup of the consommé. Now lucky fans can get their quesabirria fix Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays in Richmond.
Where to find them: 1428 Macdonald Ave., Richmond