By Justin Dolezal, Foodable Contributor
No one likes to wait for things. One of the cardinal rules of customer service is to make sure thatpatrons are acknowledged and attended to as quickly as possible. This is especially true in the food industry, where businesses often go to great lengths to reduce consumer wait times as much as possible. The recent rise in fast casual eateries can be seen as a direct result of this necessity, since being able to get in and out of a business quickly can be extremely appealing to consumers.
There's only so much a business can do, however, and if your business is producing something that consumers want, lines of waiting people are an inevitability. It's certainly not easy- you need to be producing a unique, exciting product that consumers feel is worth the extra wait. This is especially true in a city like San Francisco, where fantastic spots to grab a bite are as plentiful as in any city in America. And yet there are a few San Francisco spots that have used hard work, brand loyalty, and social media to build their spots into places consumers will happily wait for. The following is a list of San Francisco hot spots with near-constant lines in which consumers are happy to wait.
Bi-Rite Market, located in San Francisco's trendy Mission District, is a city institution itself. The market opened in the 1940's, and today supplies an impressive selection of organic produce, carefully curated groceries, gourmet foods, and craft beer and wine. Beloved as Bi-Rite is, it's the market's ice cream offshoot, Bi-Rite Creamery, that often sees lines around the block. Opened in 2006 by two Bi-Rite bakers, the creamery produces an array of imaginative, playful flavors, such as Honey Lavender and Banana Fudge Ripple (classics like rocky road are available as well). Nearly all of the ingredients used at Bi-Rite Creamery are sourced from local producers, starting with Strauss Family Creamery, a farm located 45 miles outside of the city that provides the entirety of Bi-Rite's milk, cream, and eggs. Seasonal produce items are often sourced from local farms as well, and flavors such as Balsamic Strawberry are only made in the spring and summer, when fresh, local strawberries are available. Bi-Rite Creamery's flavor-packed creations have made it a hit with San Franciscans. The shops proximity to the extremely popular Mission Dolores Park certainly hasn't hurt either.
Mr. Holmes Bakehouse
In rapidly gentrifying San Francisco, The Tenderloin, plagued by higher rates of crime and homelessness than the rest of the city, stands out as a neighborhood locals will advise you to avoid. There are reasons to go, however, and perhaps none has been more popular of late than Mr. Holmes Bakehouse, a small bakery with a lineup of killer pastries and a ambiance that begs for social media exposure. The small, minimalist space with a neon sign reading “I Got Baked In San Francisco” has become and Instagram staple, but it's the actual baked goods that have drawn the stores daily lines. The undisputed star of the lineup is the Cruffin, another entry into the baked good fusion hall of fame. Cruffins come in a variety of flavors, and are often sold out by noon. Arrive early if you hope to score one- the shop opens between 7 and 8 AM, and a line often begins to form an hour in advance.
Danny Bowien built Mission Chinese into one of the most talked about restaurants in the country over the course of just a few years, opening a second location in Manhattan and releasing a cookbook to wide acclaim. The original location still packs in diners on a nightly basis, with a menu that takes classic Chinese flavors and incorporates an American twist. Dishes like Kung Pao Pastrami and Thrice Cooked Bacon have diners drooling on a nightly basis. Bowien recently revamped the menu, giving even seasoned Mission Chinese vets a reason to return.
While getting consumers to line up at a brick and mortal location is a accomplishment worthy of pride, getting people to assemble en masse for your food when you're a mobile company is arguably even more impressive. Such is the case for Senor Sisig, a San Francisco food truck institution that has people following the truck's location and lining up in droves across the Bay Area. Traditional Philippine sisig is made by marinating pork, usually the unused parts of the head, in sour liquid and then seasoning it with an array of spices. Senor Sisig founders Evan Kidera and Gil Payumo took this classic dish and fused it with classic Mexican street food dishes, and Senor Sisig was born (they also use pork shoulder, which Americans find more palatable). Try the Sisig burrito, or Sisig fries, which takes Senor Sisig's nacho toppings and piles them onto a bed of french fries. It's a menu that's bold and inventive, while reflecting the diverse culinary tradition of the Bay Area.