The Ferry Building has long been a favorite for its famous farmer’s market and artisanal food vendors, a destination for foodies and tourists alike. Yet a number of high-profile shutterings—Cowgirl Creamery and Golden Gate Meat Company among them—have left some wondering about the vulnerability of the marketplace. But the pandemic vacancies have only cleared the way for a new slate of exciting outfits, making the Ferry Building worth a trip to check out the new additions.
On a recent visit, shoppers crowded inside the marketplace, many of them armed with coffee cups from the market or the surrounding neighborhood: Blue Bottle, Peet’s, Philz. Caffeine was the order of the day, with the longest line at Red Bay Coffee, an Oakland outfit added to the building in 2021.
While the surrounding downtown area continues to struggle, you’d never sense it in here. Homespun sugar perfumes the air from the fresh-cooked waffles at Blue Bottle while close to a dozen shoppers peruse earth-toned tableware at Heath Ceramics. Tinkling piano music from the Ferry Building Wine Merchant drifts down the hall as couples sip oolong at the Imperial Tea Court.
New additions such as Señor Sisig, Reem’s of California and Daily Driver are generating excitement. With only three unoccupied storefronts, the marketplace is down to just a 5% vacancy rate, and the famed Slanted Door plans to reopen in the building later this year after its renovation is complete.
Many familiar spots are still open. Tourists perch at Tsar Nicoulai Caviar tasting black fish eggs while sipping frosty glasses of white wine; icy trays of oysters top Hog Island tables; a line wraps around El Porteño Empanadas; a woman in a long-sleeved Sturgis tee rings up $15 Dandelion chocolate bars. And the sun still shines on the tables out front at Gott’s Roadside, Fort Point Beer Garden and the Ferry Plaza Wine Merchant Patio.
Not only a food hall but a transit station, the Ferry Building used to be the second busiest transportation hub in the world before the construction of San Francisco’s famous bridges. The space also offers a wide range of events, from live music on Fridays to the Head West outdoor retail marketplace happening on the first Sunday of every month. You can even have the market’s fresh food delivered.
Amidst the bustle of people trying to get to destinations, a group hovers in front of the Fog City Flea Trading Post—what used to be Sur La Table. “This looks like an interesting store,” a woman says. “Let’s go in.”
The wildly popular Filipino food truck opened its third brick-and-mortar location in the space vacated by Brown Sugar Kitchen, serving its signature fusion burritos from cheerful blue and yellow tables. It’s the only San Francisco Señor Sisig location to have a full liquor license, so you can also order cocktails with tropical flavors.
Reem Assil is a James Beard-nominated restaurant owner, cookbook author and social justice champion. With locations in the Mission and Oakland as well as online purveyors, you now have another option for picking up her legendary flatbreads when the Ferry Building location opens in October. This Arab bakery shines with its mana’eesh and pastries while also offering crisp, colorful salads and dips. Don’t forget to round out your meal with some hibiscus cooler and tahini chocolate chip cookies.
Husband and wife team Patrick Acaso and Joanna Pulcini-Acaso of the much-loved Marais Bakery opened this outfit in March, filling a galette-shaped hole in San Francisco’s pancake scene. Sweet and savory crêpes are served on black-and-white metal plates at pistachio-colored cafe tables that spill out onto the sidewalk, so you can take in your French food along with views of the Bay.
Vanessa Chavez’s Cholita Linda began as a Jack London Square farmers market booth selling tacos and aguas frescas and has since grown into three brightly-colored brick-and-mortar locations. Everything is made from scratch at Cholita Linda—don’t miss their crispy fish tacos.
The all-organic bagels at Daily Driver earned cult status early on, prompting massive lines at their Dogpatch location. With their opening in the Ferry Building—hard to miss with their retro van parked in the middle of the marketplace—you have doubled your chances of scoring these wood-fired, yeasty rounds. Crunchy on the outside with a chewy, malty inside, Daily Driver aims to perfect what it calls the Bay Area bagel.
Plan a tasty day of rediscovery in the Ferry Building by following The Standard’s new map and guide below.
Sweets & Treats | Map #4
Reopened in Summer 2022, Yes is an SF dessert company featuring small-batch artisan desserts and, of course, pudding. Funded by SF's Dream Keeper Initiative, empowering the city's black entrepreneurs. (Just to the left of Gott's Soft Serve.)
Cafés & Small Eateries | Map #5
This popular Vietnamese takeout counter, located right behind The Slanted Door restaurant, will be returning in late 2022.
Restaurants | Map #5
Ever popular and always delicious, The Slanted Door is reopening in late 2022 after a major renovation.
Restaurants | Map #6
In operation since 1999, Gott's serves classic California-inspired dishes made with locally sourced ingredients. One of eight Bay Area locations.
Sweets & Treats | Map #6
Behind Gott's Roadhouse, inside the Ferry Building, find a kiosk-like space with delicious soft serve ice cream and a variety of tasty toppings.
Coffee & Tea | Map #7
Trendy, upscale and delicious brew. Purchase coffee, beans, pastries, brew tools and mugs.
Sweets & Treats | Map #8
One of six scoop shops around the Bay Area. Humphry Slocombe has been creating ice cream flavors since 2008, including chef-curated options for adults.
Beer, Wine & Spirits | Map #9
A premier gourmet market for food, wine and spirits.
Sweets & Treats | Map #10
Handmade confections, macarons, cakes, cookies, chocolates, licorice and more. Mail-order, preorder, pickup and delivery options.
Restaurants | Map #11
Waterfront seafood eatery. Enjoy oysters farmed in Tomales Bay while watching the ferries slip in and out of sight across the bay. Indoor and patio seating.
Cookware & Tableware | Map #12
Just about anything your home could need. Find plateware, cooking tools, linens, decor, furniture and more. A wealth of well-crafted goods.
Sweets & Treats | Map #14
A "bean to bar" chocolate maker where each bar and truffle is created from beans sourced.
Bread & Cheese | Map #15
What started back in 1983, Acme Bread is primarily a bread wholesaler that provides top quality breads. It has two storefronts: one in Berkeley and one in the SF Ferry Building.
Specialty, Grocery & Prepared Foods | Map #16
In San Francisco since 1984, Tsar Nicoulai Caviar sells sustainable, American small-batch caviar with no GMOs, antibiotics or growth hormones.
Cafés & Small Eateries | Map #17
The ever-popular Arab bakery, inspired by shops in Syria and Lebanon, is set to have a kiosk in the SF Ferry Building in October 2022 in Cowgirl Creamery's former space.
Specialty, Grocery & Prepared Foods | Map #18
Peruse all manner of hummus and tahini at this new SF Ferry Building kiosk. Open every day but Wednesday and Thursday.
Specialty, Grocery & Prepared Foods | Map #20
Small-batch Argentinian empanadas made from locally sourced ingredients. Serving a variety of meat empanadas and dulces.
Bread & Cheese | Map #21
With a commitment to the highest quality local ingredients, Daily Driver delivers top notch wood-fired bagels and creamy spreads. And it's the only certified organic bagel shop in SF.
Farm Produce, Flowers & Garden | Map #21B
Spurred on by project-based learning in 5th grade, founder and CEO Jake, now in junior college, started his honey company out of an "interest in bees and good grades."
Services | Map #22
A helpful hub serving commuters and tourists alike. Purchase ferry tickets and get tour information here.
Beer, Wine & Spirits | Map #23
Part bar, part wine mercantile.
Cookware & Tableware | Map #26
Unique home and garden goods, including indoor and outdoor furniture. Great for gifts and personal finds alike.
Coffee & Tea | Map #27
Roy Fong, tea merchant, author and founder of Imperial Tea Court, immigrated from Hong Kong at age 13. Opening his own shop in 1993, he sells teas, noodles and dim sum inspired by a special visit back to Hong Kong in his '20s.
Specialty, Grocery & Prepared Foods | Map #28
Extra virgin olive oils, vinegars, salts and spices. And tons of recipes to try out.
Specialty, Grocery & Prepared Foods | Map #29
A "general store" with shelves stocked full of specialty pantry goods and artisan beers.
Sweets & Treats | Map #30
Handmade confections shop selling high-end chocolates, dessert sauces and caramels. At $50, try the highly rated and bestselling Black Box.
Sweets & Treats | Map #32
Baking all things sweet and savory. All items are artisan-crafted and 100% gluten-free. Raspberry bars and cinnamon rolls taste so amazing. Hard to believe they are gluten free!
Farm Produce, Flowers & Garden | Map #34
For all things edible mushroom–related, the Garrone Family business for over 35 years is the place to learn.
Restaurants | Map #35
Serving breakfast, brunch, lunch and pizza. Indoor, hallway and patio seating. Take out and delivery too.
Beer, Wine & Spirits | Map #36
A patio space for enjoying Wine Merchant food and beverages in an outdoor, socially distanced setting along the Embarcadero. Offering seating for 56 patrons. No reservations needed. In the former Market Bar location.
Specialty, Grocery & Prepared Foods | Map #36A
With its flagship store in Napa, Maison Verbena, the "fashion bakery," sells soaps, candles, market bags and baked goods.
Specialty, Grocery & Prepared Foods | Map #37
This brick-and-mortar trading post for dozens of makers and merchants now has a permanent home on the main level in the former Sur la Table spot.
Specialty, Grocery & Prepared Foods | Map #39
Find children's clothing and adorable gift items for tots at this mini kiosk.
Restaurants | Map #41
The popular Filipino food truck vendor is now open in the Ferry Building in brick-and-mortar style. Grab a seat and enjoy the eats in its dedicated outdoor seating space. (You can't miss the cheerful, bright blue tables and yellow seating.)
Books | Map #42
Independent bookstore charmer Book Passage aims to please with an assortment of fiction, nonfiction, children's books, cards and gifts. Check out the events calendar too!
Coffee & Tea | Map #43
Coffee with a cause. Red Bay Coffee is committed to providing high-quality, sustainably sourced coffee while supporting diversity through inclusion, especially for people of color, women, the formerly incarcerated and people with disabilities.
Restaurants | Map #44
Named lovingly by Vanessa Chavez as a nod to her mother, Cholita Linda makes everything from scratch. This upscale artisan taco purveyor moved into the Ferry Building at the tail end of 2021.
Cafés & Small Eateries | Map #45
A blend of "Japanese sensibility and California vitality," this Japanese deli offers bento boxes, salads, soup, sushi and donburi. Catering available.
Sweets & Treats | Map #46
A touch of France in the Ferry Building. Enjoy meat and cheese stuffed crêpes or dive into something on the sweeter side.
Beer, Wine & Spirits | Map #54
Down a beer and a hot dog at this covered, outdoor kiosk. Then grab a 6-pack to go. Pets welcome.
Specialty, Grocery & Prepared Foods | Map #58
Joining the Ferry Building in Summer 2022, Mishka caters to pampered pups. Delicious and nutritious ingredients make up the poshest dog cakes in town.
Services | Map #58
Rent a bike daily every day except Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Kiosk is out front on the Embarcadero side of the building. It's best to reserve a bike rental online, but drop-ins are welcome too. A stone's throw away from Mishka Cakes.
Farm Produce, Flowers & Garden | Map #50
Formerly known as CUESA, Foodwise is committed to food access and education with its community-centered focus. The open-air market is open Tuesdays and Thursdays 10 a.m. until 2 p.m., Saturdays 8 a.m. until 2 p.m.
Sweets & Treats | Map #K1
At the north end of the building, this vegan organic donut shop will satisfy any sweet tooth. Serving the Bay Area since 2006.
Skin Care | Map #K2
In business since 1996, Benedetta skin care products are made using farm-sourced botanicals from Sonoma County. Benedetta boasts a five-step facial line and starter sets available.
Specialty, Grocery & Prepared Foods | Map #K5
Find this new spot for baklava and other Turkish snacks just opposite CheeseQuakes. The eggplant dolma is delicious.
Sweets & Treats | Map #K6
A local, family-run dessert business, CheeseQuakes serves more cheesecake flavors than you can imagine in five mouthwatering sizes from baby quakes to large party versions.
Shelley D. Fargo contributed additional research for this story.
Julie Zigoris can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org