Pop-ups — temporary small businesses that open for limited hours in another business’s space — have been making themselves known in San Francisco.
The concept is beautifully efficient: nascent businesses get to test the waters and tweak their formulas without taking on the risk of a large overhead. Host stores and restaurants make a little extra in rent money during hours they wouldn’t be open anyway.
The Dogpatch neighborhood is one pop-up-friendly area of San Francisco, a place where both permanent and temporary shops and eateries have been testing the waters lately.
Here are some pop-ups I enjoy. Keep in mind that by nature they are transient, so hours and locations may change. Check their websites or Facebook pages for current opening times.NEIGHBOR: Run, don’t walk to get some pastries by Neighbor Bakehouse, currently open Thursday mornings 8:30-10:30 am at Mr and Mrs Miscellaneous ice cream shop (699 22nd Street). Owner Greg Mindel is indeed a Dogpatch neighbor, and makes his goodies a few blocks away from his Thursday stand.
These are some tasty, tasty pastries; I daresay up there in quality with the famed Tartine Bakery (Mindel used to bake for Tartine and other well-known outlets). Several times I’ve gotten my standby comfort breakfast, a chocolate croissant: chewy, flaky and delicious, with a rich chocolate center — they did not disappoint.
Mindel also creates more-unusual pastries such as bacon and bitter green croissant sandwiches and smoked ham and kimchee croissants.
Delicious. Delicious! Delicious.
If you can’t make it to Dogpatch on Thursday mornings, a limited selection of Neighbor’s tasty delights are sold daily at nearby Front Cafe.SOW: Across the street from Mr and Mrs Miscellaneous, at 2490 3rd Street, is a cozy space of low-slung leather couches and dark wood. At night it’s Yield Wine Bar, on certain mornings it’s Sow juice bar, where you can get a glass of liquid health before you start your day. Sow has a rotating menu of juices; recent items have included the Zephyr (carrot, lemon cucumber, strawberry, lemon, mint) and Hare (carrot, celery, lemon, fennel).
I just have one piece of advice for juice newbies: keep an open mind. Even concoctions that sound dubious can really surprise you. I’ve been to Sow several times and have yet to leave a juice unfinished.
Fittingly for its location in a wine bar, Sow also offers tasting flights of single fruit or vegetable varieties. At the time of writing, for example, Sow has an apple flight of Fuji, Gala and Cameo varieties and a carrot flight of Thumbelina, purple and white varieties.IPIE: I hesitated to buy an ipie at first, thinking five dollars was quite a lot to spend for a personal-size pie. I’d seen Patricia Kline’s pie stand around town a few times, but it was only after she started regularly popping up outside Just For You cafe on Friday afternoons, 4-6 pm, that I decided to give her pies a try.
The pies are good indeed. The individual serving is perfect for pie-eaters like me who enjoy a high crust-to-filling ratio (that crust is mine, all mine!).
I tried a blueberry and a mixed berry pie, and both fillings were just the right amount of sweet and tangy. Another factor that made me feel good about parting with five dollars for a pie is that part of ipie’s proceeds go to the Alzheimer’s Association, a cause close to Kline’s heart.PICCINO: After getting your pie, you can walk a little ways down the road to Piccino Cafe, a restaurant and adjoining coffeeshop that focus on creating products using fresh, local ingredients. The owners of Piccino have decided to put out a little stand every Friday afternoon to spotlight the purveyors and produce they use.
I’ve bought snap peas, strawberries, breads, and salad mixes from them, all tasting fresh from the ground or oven. With snap peas and strawberries, the contrast between great and mediocre is wide; theirs are sweet and rich with flavor.THISTLE: Right next to the Piccino stand, on some Friday and Saturday afternoons, is Thistle, selling seasonal California-grown flowers. Their bouquets are casual and vibrant, and rounded out with unusual accents like herbs and branches.
I like to put out some cut flowers on my dining room table, but I don’t like spending more than a few bucks. Thistle bouquets, lovely as they are, are too expensive for me. So twice I’ve asked them if they could put something together that would fill a glass milk bottle, for ten dollars or less. They put together two cohesive bundles for five and ten dollars each. Both were lovely, but the five-dollar bunch — with lavender and other herbs and wildflowers — lasted an amazingly long time.
Pop-ups may be temporary, but judging by the number mushrooming in Dogpatch and all over the city, the pop-up culture is here to stay in San Francisco.