Founded in 2010 in Fort Mason, Off the Grid has expanded to feature 35 weekly markets throughout San Francisco. With so many scrumptious markets across the bay area, these events have become a fixture of the foodie scene in San Francisco and beyond. As the largest of these events and a center for public and private events, the Fort Mason Center has become the focal point of the food truck takeover. The first location of an Off the Grid event, this venue was a fitting place for the five-year celebration of the organization.
Off the Grid was founded with the intention of bringing communities together through good food and music. Over the past five years, the organization has accomplished just this, reaching more patrons every week. Off the Grid seeks to inhabit public spaces and contribute to local culture through collaboration with small businesses. The organization provides a diverse selection of over 200 trucks, carts, and other vendors offering food and drink.
While in many ways the celebration was simply business as usual. The event looked back at some of the milestones accomplished in years past. Many of the businesses that started as roaming trucks have now established brick-and-mortar locations while maintaining their delivery of street food. For example, Bacon Bacon, which started as one of the Off The Grid trucks, is now a full-fledged successful restaurant. Additionally, Off The Grid’s markets continue their dedication to environmental sustainability, boasting a 99% rate of waste composted or recycled.
With thousands of hours of live music from local artists featured every year, these events have provided more than just fantastic food to communities. While not all of their markets have music, many dinner markets like OMCA and Fort Mason Center emphasize entertainment as much as dining. The anniversary party included musical performances from Golden State Warriors DJ DSharp and Clear Conscience, a reggae group from Oakland. In typical Off the Grid free spirit fashion, loyal customers of all ages danced the night away under the twinkling string lights.
The Fort Mason event is one of the largest that Off the Grid puts on and this celebration was no exception, featuring a long list of trucks, carts, and tents. All their street food is produced with high-quality fresh ingredients, usually to order. So while lines can be long and intimidating, it is certainly worth the wait. While every truck and cart was frequented, the popular Chairman Truck and Koja Kitchen appeared to be favorites. Both of these vendors have established restaurants due to their continued success, some of which can be attributed to their close partnerships with Off the Grid.
The organization’s philosophy rests on the pursuit of good food served in a fast and convenient manner. Off the Grid’s success is largely due to a shift in food culture that has placed convenience, freshness, and sustainability in one vessel. This philosophy is well-represented by the food trucks, businesses that pride themselves on the delivery of ethical and delicious food. With this in mind, it is no wonder that food trucks have become fixtures in the Bay Area.