The 2023 season of Off the Grid Fort Mason Center kicks off Friday, March 24, and it looks like the weather will hold at least for this opening week, and stay dry for the big food truck gathering.
Everyone's favorite weekly street-food fest is back again, in time for spring — though more spring-y weather may not arrive for a minute here.
Off the Grid Fort Mason Center, which was the first big event of its kind in San Francisco when it launched way back in 2010, returns Friday for a shortened, 14-week season — March 24 to June 23. That won't be all for the year, though — we're told Off the Grid will take a summer break at Fort Mason and then be back in the fall with a series of themed nights, including a possible K-Pop Night, and a some sort of battle of noodles.
This year, the 13th year at Fort Mason, will include a rotating array of 18 foodmakers that don't have their own trucks, and who will be serving out of several parklets each Friday. The aim of what's being called the "Pop Up Project" is, like the rest of Off the Grid's mission, to "introduce food fans to a diverse and exciting range of new dishes and cuisines while giving small food business owners a platform" to market and sell their food to a new audience.
Coming to the "Pop Up Project" areas this season will be Junk Mail Musubi, which serves a Flamin' Hot Cheeto-crusted Spam musubi; Bayview-based pan-African restaurant Radio Africa & Kitchen; SF- and LA-based Nigerian food catering outfit Eko Kitchen; Mimbo House, featuring West African food inspired by Cameroonian roadside eateries; Richmond's Rocky Island Oyster Co.; Oakland-based Edith's Pie; and Hawaiian dessert purveyors Ocean Malasada, among others.
New truck vendors this year include the Lady M luxury crepe cake truck – which reportedly is decked out with $40,000 worth of Baccarat crystal chandeliers — Lorraine's Cafe, serving mac-and-cheese, pancakes, and other comfort food; and Tokachi Musubi, serving Hokkaido-style musubi.
As Lex Scala, president of Off the Grid, says, "We have a great lineup of talented new food creators this year," and "At the end of the day, our mission is about finding the best of the best... and being able to be part of these creators’ journey and watching them grow."
And as in years' past, there will be a full cocktail bar, as well as beer and wine, with Sonoma's Kivelstadt Cellars being a featured vendor.
On the music stage, performing live for the opening market on the 24th, will be Big Blu Soul Revue, a band that specializes in 1960s and 70s soul, funk, and R&B.
Off the Grid continues to organize food-truck hubs around the Bay Area throughout the week, including outside Salesforce Tower, at Levi's Plaza, and at the Oakland Museum every Friday. And, once fire season returns — if that's even imaginable after the rain we've had — Off the Grid will continue to provide catered food for frontline workers and firefighters, much as they did during the pandemic.
As always, Off the Grid is free to attend, and Friday's kickoff will go from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. The market returns every Friday through June 23. Check out the scheduled vendors for future Fridays here.