A new snack stand called Fluff Nugget opens today at Proxy in Hayes Valley, taking over the space formerly occupied by Smitten Ice Cream, and serving all manner of tricked-out cones of flavored popcorn.
The shipping-container stand that was formerly slinging ice cream is vacant no longer, and Fluff Nugget takes over as of Thursday afternoon. As Eater reports, today's 3 p.m. opening will come with free popcorn cones for the first 100 guests — though it's not clear if you'll get to pick your toss-in flavors.
The decidedly over-the-top menu runs the gamut from savory to sweet, introducing Hayes Valley to the delights of tossed-to-order, fancy popcorn like nothing you've likely seen before. Savory flavors include Thai Curry Coconut (which includes roasted peanuts and candied ginger), Chorizo and Cheddar (which includes queso and fried onions), BBQ brisket (includes real brisket!), and Pistachio Pesto (a seasonal offering that includes basil pesto, crumbled feta, and lemon zest). On the sweet side, there's Cookies & Cream, Strawberry Meringue, and Chocolate Aztec Chili, to name a few.
Fluff Nugget has just a couple of testimonial quotes on their website so far, including, "The flavors are so fun! It’s like Salt & Straw meets popcorn."
San Francisco is home to one of the OG flavored popcorn outfits, Thatcher's Gourmet Popcorn, which opened in 1983 and now has a retail shop and warehouse in Dogpatch which supports a big online shipping business. The same year that Thatcher's opened, the New York Times declared flavored popcorn a hot new trend of 1983, with nine popcorn shops having popped up there in just that year alone.
Food Business News reported last fall that flavored popcorn, especially the pre-packaged variety, was again a trending category thanks to pandemic comfort-snacking. And although we haven't heard about a shop quite like Fluff Nugget before, if it takes off, this surely won't be the last of its kind.
The raw material of popcorn itself, just like in the early 1980s, is pretty cheap, and it takes well to fancifying for a profit.
At Fluff Nugget, a basic adult cone of corn will run you $7.50, with large cones going for $11.50 — so, movie theater prices, basically. Kids' cones are $4.50.
Follow them on Instagram for updates and popcorn porn.
Fluff Nugget - 432 Octavia Street - Open Thursday to Saturday, 3 p.m. to 10 p.m., and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 8 p.m.