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CultureFood & DrinkGood Taste: La Cocina pivots Tenderloin space, and its...

Good Taste: La Cocina pivots Tenderloin space, and its awesome chefs are everywhere

As a new chapter begins for the nonprofit incubator, here's where to find its global flavor purveyors.

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This is Good Taste, a menu for eating well in the Bay Area. Following La Cocina Municipal Marketplace’s closure in September in San Francisco’s Tenderloin, we bring an update on the space as well as the businesses that made it special.

The building at 101 Hyde Street that formerly held La Cocina’s public food hall is now called La Cocina on Hyde and operates as a second commercial kitchen, catering facility, workshop space, and training center to help the nonprofit food business incubator support the 80 primarily BIPOC and immigrant women-led businesses currently under its wings. For now, chefs from 13 new businesses will get to produce food there.

“Last fall, after 2.5 years of operating, La Cocina made the difficult decision to close the food hall in response to the economic conditions in the area due to the pandemic and the changes to the local food industry due to the prevalence of work from home,” reps for La Cocina said in a statement. “The organization could not bear the financial weight of operating a space that was open to the public.”

Chefs cook at La Cocina on Hyde. Photo by Erin Ng

Fortunately, La Cocina businesses that sold in the Municipal Marketplace all have places to call home now. Boug Cali and Mi Morena will still cook at La Cocina on Hyde, but Boug Cali will soon bring its Creole California cooking to the Ferry Building, while Mi Morena is vending Mexico City street-style tacos in UN Skate Plaza. Estrellita’s Snacks is still at the Heart of the City Farmers Market in the plaza, and will open a restaurant in the Tenderloin over the summer. 

Teranga’s maafe (peanut stew). Photo by Tamara Palmer

Senegalese eatery Teranga has signed a lease at 4 Embarcadero Center after a successful pilot year with the city’s Vacant to Vibrant program, which recently announced a second set of businesses to receive retail pop-up space and long-term support. Algerian spot Kayma operates a La Cocina trailer and is sitting pretty upstairs with other local chefs at IKEA’s new Saluhall. Los Cilantros is back at Berkeley’s La Peña Cultural Center and Bini’s Kitchen is still selling Nepalese momos and other comfort foods in her Howard Street restaurant, a kiosk near the Montgomery Street BART station, and at the Ferry Plaza Farmer’s Market.

Kayma’s Merguez sausage and couscous. Photo by Tamara Palmer

La Cocina has an extensive track record for supporting chefs and businesses that become beloved in the Bay Area. Among them are Minnie Bell’s Soul Movement, which recently expanded from Emeryville to a second location in chef Fernay McPherson’s home of the Fillmore District, a full circle dream for the former Muni driver turned everyone’s favorite fried chicken purveyor. 

Lamb momos by Bini’s Kitchen. Photo by TAMARA PALMER

Paying attention to and supporting the chefs and businesses who work with La Cocina is one excellent way to get an eye into the future of the Bay Area food scene.

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