Revisiting Thursday's Ferry Plaza Market, the OG Food Truck Rally
Our monthly review explores the city's food trucks gatherings, one at a time, breaking down each one with statistics, descriptions of the scene, and vital info to help you plan a trip there.
Lou Bustamante A quiet moment at the market before the lunch crowd hits
Location: South arcade of the Ferry Building
Schedule: Thursdays, 10 a.m.-2 p.m.
Market Info Website: CUESA Thursday Market Site
Approximate Number of Trucks: Nine
Parking/Public Transit: Ferry, BART, Muni, validated parking on the weekends
Restrooms: Inside Ferry Building
Seating: Yes, behind the stalls in the covered arcade.
Best for: Those looking to escape the office for lunch.
Other notes: Also a great place to pick up some local produce while you wait for your lunch. Also a great place to hit early for a no-wait, hangover-soothing porchetta sandwich.
Some street food gatherings become so woven into the fabric of a location, that it's easy to forget what it was like before they were there. The Thursday Ferry Plaza Farmer's Market, which started its current incarnation in early July of 2009, is one of them.
After nearly a decade of various seasonal programs that included night, afternoon, and day markets, Dexter Carmichael and Lulu Meyer (who handle Operations and oversee all of the Ferry Plaza farmer's markets for CUESA) decided to create a year-round Thursday lunchtime destination. The concept was a street-food that also showcased the connection between the farmers and vendors with chefs who were utilizing the produce.
Lou Bustamante Chef Evan Bloom of Wise Sons Deli at Tacolicious for the CUESA guest chef fundraiser
While the vendors in the current lineup -- including 4505 Meats, Namu, Roli Roti, Tacolicious, Hapa Ramen, and others -- now seem like easy choices, consider that four years ago, 4505 Meats was barely a few months old, and that the first appearance of the Tacolious crew started off as tapas from it's previous manifestation as Laiola, the restaurant that restaurateur Joe Hargrave eventually turned into the taco emporium. Roli Roti was the elder statesman with its line-forming porchetta sandwiches and rotisserie chickens, and Namu offered us a first taste of the beginning of the local wave of Korean fusion.
While its true that the vendors don't change very often, and that the food may not be as cheap, fatty, or crazy as you might find at other street vendor gatherings, it does offer something else: a decidedly San Francisco street snack. One that can be local, seasonal, and organic, yet still come covered in a cloud of fried pork skins. It's street food our way.