Food & Drink

The best, most hidden grab-n-go windows in SF

Published On 06/12/2013 Published On 06/12/2013
A donkey in front of a take-out window

When you want quick, good food options in this city, your best bet is often to... move to another city. That, or maybe find one of SF's tucked-away to-go windows. To that end, we've assembled a handy guide to some of the best, most you-probably-didn't-know-they-existed-est spots in the city:

Piperade To-Go: If you're anywhere near Levi's Plaza, then you're also near this must-visit window in Icehouse Alley. Order the Mr. Williams sandwich (named after the Williams-Sonoma dude, and made with katsu-like, extra-firm fried chicken breast & sheep's milk Manchego) and it'll be handed to you by the awesome/attractive/maybe-inspired-that-Ben-Folds-song Zack and Sarah. Who are hilarious! Just look at them guffaw!

Red Door Coffee: Based out of the side of the gallery spot 111 Minna, this is the window to go to if you need your coffee quick, without any of that postmodern nonsense. Impressionism, though... You have all the time for that.

The Golden West: Definitely where you should go, Young Man, this FiDi-ish spot offers daily rotating specials and stand-by sammies, like the short rib with caramelized onions or pulled pork with mustard cabbage, which may or may not (but probably may) be handed to you by the very pretty lady you see here.

The Little Skillet: From the great people behind farmerbrown, this SOMA alley window concentrates on the two Southern comfort foods everyone can get behind: Chicken 'n Waffles and Po' Boys. Oh, and also, a waffle dog, which is exactly the amazing hot dog/waffle bun combo you were hoping it was.

Jackson Place Cafe: Hidden off the main path (so much so that you'll probably miss it the first three 10 25 times you walk by), this teeny tiny spot has the added benefit of a picturesque courtyard for enjoying breakfast or their rosemary ham and Gruyere paninis. Plus, coffee!

The Rock Bar: In the inverse of all of the other windows here, The Rock Bar in The Mission has midnight chicken on Fridays and Saturdays that, rather than making you go outside, is actually delivered to patrons inside the bar through the side Dutch door, pictured at the top to the right of the donkey (donkey not necessarily included... but probably).

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1. Piperade To Go Icehouse Alley, San Francisco, CA 94111 (Financial District)

Lovingly known as 'Pip To Go,' this take-out window in the back of Basque-inspired restaurant Piperade is located in Levi Plaza in the Williams-Sonoma complex. It's a great low-key lunch alternative to the buttoned-up Piperade, and the food still retains its Spanish flair. Try the reasonably-priced Mr. Williams sandwich (named after Williams-Sonoma Founder Chuck Williams).

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2. Red Door Coffee 111 Minna St, San Francisco, CA 94105 (Financial District)

Café meets art gallery at Red Door Coffee, which has two locations in downtown San Francisco. Serving up all the local favorites -- Four Barrel Coffee, Dynamo Donuts, TCHO chocolates, and Strauss Family Creamery milk -- this big, bright café is perfect for breakfast on the way to work, a meeting, or hanging out with your laptop.

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3. The Golden West 8 Trinity Pl, San Francisco, CA 94104 (Financial District)

Owned by the same people who run the popular artisan sandwich spot The Sentinel, The Golden West is a hole-in-the-wall located off of an alley by the Montgomery BART stop (it's lit by the neon 'Au' sign). Don’t sweat the long line -- it moves quickly and is there for a reason. Go for the delicious short rib, tri-tip, or pulled pork sandwich and enjoy a cold drink while you wait.

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4. Little Skillet 360 Ritch St, San Francisco, CA 94107 (Soma)

Little Skillet fully operates out of 330 Ritch's kitchen, and is run by the same dudes that opened Farmer Brown. It's a minuscule, alley-bound to-go window that sells crazy-good soul food (including some of SF proper's best chicken & waffles), as well as great brew.

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5. Jackson Place Cafe 633 Battery St, San Francisco, CA 94111 (Jackson Square)

A tiny, hidden spot that you're sure to miss the first few times you walk by, Jackson Place serves coffee, breakfast, and lunch paninis, but be quick: they're only open 'til 2p.

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6. The Rock Bar 80 29th St, San Francisco, CA 94110 (The Mission)

A watering hole Scissors would never go near, The Rock Bar's a Southern Mish imbibe-ery from the folks behind The Front Porch, with a Temple of Doom-mine-cart-chase-worthy interior pairing artifacts from one of the owner’s silver-quarrying dads (including an honest-to-God blasting permit) with miscellany you'd expect to find in a mine, like amethysts, crystals, and 33 trapped Chileans.



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