Ex-Frisee Owners Launch Southern Sandwich Co., a Mobile BBQ Eatery
When brothers Brett and Nathan Niebergall shuttered Frisee back in December 2008, they posted a good-bye note on the door of the Castro restaurant promising they planned to open their next project in early 2010. Yesterday, they did, and it's about as different from Frisee as a project could be. And it didn't even open in San Francisco.
Southern Sandwich Co. Owners Brett and Nathan Niebergall bought a used taco truck, then did most of the rehabbing themselves.
The Southern Sandwich Co. is the Niebergalls' rolling homage to Southwestern road food, served up, appropriately, from a converted taco truck. Yesterday's debut was in downtown Redwood City, a place the Niebergalls plan to be, for the next three months, anyway, though they'd eventually love to roll into the city.
Turns out the idea to launch a food truck was born in Frisee's final days. "We were missing the sunshine," says 30-year-old Nathan, who's mostly a front of the house guy, or the food truck equivalent. "We were spending a lot of time indoors, doing the restaurant grinds. We had no idea street food was going to be a big trend ― we thought we were ahead of the curve. It turns out, now we're behind."
CCA-trained Brett, 32, is in charge of the cooking, which centers around West Texas and Carolina barbecue. "We were born in the Hill Country of Texas north of San Antonio, and grew up on a cattle ranch" Brett says. They later moved to the Carolinas. Southern Sandwich Co.'s opening menu (it'll change daily) offers chopped beef brisket, Carolina-style pulled pork, and BBQ chicken sandwiches, with hush puppies, ranch-style beans, coleslaw. "These are all recipes that we cooked with my family, the kind of stuff that we ate growing up," Brett says.
Southern Sandwich Co. Brett and Nathan Niebergall.
Brett Niebergall wouldn't disclose how (or where) the smoking happens. He did say the brothers scored their used taco truck in Stockton, and did the bulk of the rehabbing themselves, sourcing the woodwork and truckboards from salvage yards in Berkeley and the Bayview. See before and after pics on the Niebergalls' blog. And check out the Southern Sandwich Twitter feed to follow the truck's daily operations ― a process Nathan Niebergall describes as nailing down the concept before venturing up Highway 101.
"We love San Francisco, and it would be great to work in the city again," Nathan says. "We just have to wait and see how things pan out."
The Southern Sandwich Co. Locations in Redwood City ― check Twitter for details; serving Mon.-Fri. 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m.