15 Latino-Owned Businesses You Need to Know in SF
San Francisco wouldn’t be half the magical city it is without the Latino community. Making up around 15% of the city’s population, the Latino influence on San Francisco’s art, culture, food, music, and personality is outsized. Unfortunately, the devastating impact of Covid-19 has also hit that community disproportionately hard. That’s all the more reason to seek out, support, and celebrate our city’s Latino-run businesses. Here is a sampling of standout spots in the art, fashion, and food worlds helmed by Latino owners. But this just scratches the surface. Looking to get even more involved? Check out Acción Latina, The Women’s Building, Somos Familia, Centro Legal De La Raza, and Calle 24, among other organizations.
Artillery Apparel Gallery
Artillery Gallery was founded in 2009 with a mission to connect the community through principles of nature, family, and culture, all through the multi-faceted lens of art. Specializing in ceramics, painting, and photography with an added focus on plants, Artillery is both a hub in the neighborhood and an ever-giving source of creativity in San Francisco.
How to support: Donate to Artillery’s GoFundMe here, get a membership to the gallery here, or commission and purchase art from co-owners Ivan and Alexa.
This clothing store and art gallery on 24th Street is a go-to for both creative apparel and community -- Thalia Leon and Fernando Ramirez ‘s multimedia studio is all about supporting others in their pursuit of art and graphic design.
How to support: Evolved SF is open Tuesday to Saturday from 3-7 pm. Stop by and support them in person, and follow them on Instagram for updates -- should you see something you like on their account, they’re happy to arrange pick-up or shipping. Their merchandise will be available online at shopneighborhood.com soon, too. You can donate directly via Venmo @evolvedsf.
Connie Rivera and Ricardo Peña’s 24th Street shop, which opened in 2004, is a staple of the neighborhood -- their selection of silvery jewelry, beadwork, embroidery, and more is a brightly woven representation of the arts and crafts of the Huichol people. The pair had opened a second store down the street in 2017, and were forced to close due to the pandemic.
How to support: In addition to shopping at Mixcoatl, donate to the store’s GoFundMe here.
This beloved Valencia Street restaurant, known for their colorful decor, on-point cocktails, and thoughtful takes on Jaliscan-inspired cuisine, remains a bright spot amid the fogginess of pandemic times. Whether you’re ordering take out or taking a seat in their string light-bedecked parklet, a mezcal margarita or a glass of natural wine and their legendary tacos tropical, feel like a proper vacation.
How to support: Loló is open for outdoor dining, and is offering takeout and delivery. Order online here.
Val Cantu’s Californios, a paean to modern Mexican cuisine, has been closed for the duration of the pandemic. But tides are shifting for Cantu and his team with an impending move to a brand-new space in SOMA, complete with a spacious, pandemic-friendly outdoor patio. Pending a finalized lease, and a brief remodel, Cantu hopes to be back in action by mid-October.
How to support: Make reservations for Californios’ October return here. In the meantime, purchase gift cards for future feasts, and wine curated by the restaurant’s sommelier, Charlotte Randolph, here. For reopening updates, sign up for the Californios mailing list, and follow them on Instagram.
El Buen Comer
Isabel Caudillo, an alumna of La Cocina, has earned a dedicated following for her homestyle Mexico City-inspired fare, boasting fresh, organic masa and deeply flavored, long simmered sauces and stews. Her mole could save the world, given the opportunity.
How to support: El Buen Comer is open for pickup only. Order online here, and follow them on Instagram for updates (expect outdoor dining soon).
Yo También Cantina
This tropical-tinged cafe, run by Isabella Bertorelli and Kenzie Benesh, has been a slice of sunshine in the Sunset since opening two years ago. Boasting Venezuelen-Californian fare, natural wine by the bottle, and to-die-for breakfast cookies, this cafe for all seasons is keeping the neighborhood stocked with essentials like house-made tamales, sauces, pantry items, and shibori-dyed socks.
How to support: Yo Tambien Cantina is open for limited outdoor dining (with a potential parklet to come) and pickup, offering a regularly changing rice bowl alongside pantry items, tamales, beer, wine, and more. Order online here, and sign up for the YTC Wine and Veggie Club, a once-monthly collection of wines, produce, and other goodies, here.
Celia's by the Beach
Celia’s has been holding court on San Francisco’s western reaches since 1960, and their belly-filling, soul-warming combo plates are as good as ever. Help them celebrate the big 6-0 and stop by for forearm-sized burritos, batched margaritas to-go, and a cevicheladas, a Big Gulp-sized michelada topped with ceviche.
How to support: Celia’s is open for takeout and delivery. Call 415-759-8741 to place pickup orders, or order delivery via Postmates, UberEats, or DoorDash. See the to-go menu here.
Save making fresh ones yourself, the best tortillas to be had in San Francisco, inevitably, come from La Palma, a tortilla factory slash taqueria slash corner shop for spices, cheeses, snacks, and more that’s been stoking San Francisco’s appetites since 1953. Stop by for a taco or ten, and be sure to stock up on ingredients for your own culinary endeavors at home.
How to support: La Palma is open for takeout, and has outdoor tables should those tacos not make it home.
Picking a favorite burrito in San Francisco is akin to picking a favorite child (and doing the necessary research to arrive at a well-informed opinion will earn you a food baby or three). But El Metate always tends to come out on top thanks to their tightly rolled, well-balanced offerings filled with fresh, flavorful ingredients.
How to support: El Metate is open for pickup and delivery. Call 415-641-7209 for pickup, or order via GrubHub or DoorDash.
El Pipila, helmed by Guadalupe Guerrero and her daughters Brenda and Alejandra Juarez, is home to a menu of full-flavored, lovingly crafted Guanajuatan cuisine. Everything is delicious, but their pozole verde, rich with bacon and shredded chicken, is easily one of the best bowls of soup in town.
How to support: El Pipila is open for takeout and delivery. Order online here. You’ll often find their goods in the La Cocina Community Food Box, too.
Al Pastor Papi
This food truck, recognizable by its bright pink facade and legendary for its spot-on, Mexico City-style al pastor, can be found around the city at Harmonic Brewing, SPARK Social, and on Stockton Street downtown. While their menu of al pastor tacos, tortas, and nachos (with vegan jackfruit options on offer) is well worth seeking out in all times, their recent work fundraising for and feeding undocumented farm workers affected by both the pandemic and the devastating wildfires makes a feast from this truck all the more essential.
How to support: Follow Al Pastor Papi on Instagram for their latest location and other updates.
This no-frills taqueria on Mission street is home to some of our favorite tacos in town -- pliant, flavorful tortillas and on point fillings including suadero and lengua never disappoint -- but, as the name suggests, this is the spot for the flavors and feeling of Oaxaca. Sample spiced chapulines, or grasshoppers, Oaxacan-style tamales doused in mole, and massive, quesillo-topped tlayudas. Stock up on Oaxacan goods, too, including crunchy, spiced chapulines, chocolate, and mole and cheese by the pound.
How to support: Open for takeout and delivery. Call 415-621-5446 or order via GrubHub, Postmates, or Seamless.
La Torta Gorda
The food of Puebla takes center stage at this 24th Street staple, beloved for their gut-busting sandwiches, loaded with everything from pierna, or pulled pork, to rajas with cheese, to al pastor, to hot dogs.
How to support: Open for outdoor dining on their back patio, and for takeout and delivery via UberEats and Postmates.
Tacos El Patron
Tacos El Patron, San Francisco’s favorite purveyor of cheesy, meaty, red-tinged, Jalisco-style birria tacos, has not only been keeping us going through these months with their soul-warming food, they managed to open another restaurant, Los Guisados Del Patron, last month specializing in Mexico City-style guisados. Sounds like double the reason for a taco night to us.
How to support: Open for takeout. Call 415-829-7315 for Tacos El Patron and 415-757-0100 for Los Guisados.