Those familiar with San Francisco’s long roster of food trucks will surely recognize the colorful fleet emblazoned with an adorable pig logo, a flower adorning its ear.
That’s Cochinita, a mobile kitchen serving food from the Mexican state of Yucatán that was created by partners Karen Gonzalez and Sergio Albornoz and specializes in panuchos (fried, stuffed tortillas) and salbutes (fried tortillas topped with meat or vegetables). After years of roaming around the Bay, the couple is currently putting the final touches on their first official brick-and-mortar eatery in South San Francisco—down the street from their home—and plan to open by late April.
Named for the cochinita pibil, a slow-roasted pulled pork with pickled onions served with habanero sauce, Cochinita’s menu draws upon traditional recipes from Albornoz’s home region of the Yucatán. The move to South SF will allow the couple to expand their offerings to include additional dishes, like Yucatec tamales, which Gonzalez said have been difficult to prepare in their three food trucks. They’ll also serve relleno negro, a turkey and pork stew that families traditionally enjoy during Hanal Pixán, the Mayan Day of the Dead festival.
Gonzalez told The Standard that the permanent move to South SF has been a long time coming.
“It’s very exciting,” Gonzalez said. “We’re nervous too, just because it’s the first time we’ve done something like this.”
She and Albornoz had hoped to open a sit-down restaurant about three years ago, but Covid stalled their plans. Instead, they continued to operate a food stall called Yucatown at the International Food Court in Downtown SF. She said that although the Downtown office exodus eroded some of their customer base, she and Albornoz picked up a loyal following both there and at breweries and festivals particularly on the Peninsula.
“During the pandemic, many of our customers became friends, and they’re always checking up on us and making sure we’re OK,” she said.
Now, with many of their regulars hailing from South City, Gonzalez said she’s glad to be able to serve them more directly—and in her own backyard. She pointed out that there aren’t any other Yucatec restaurants in the area.
“I was talking to my partner last night about how great it will be to be right down the street from where we live with so many friends and neighbors around,” Gonzalez said.
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