As a nationally acclaimed food city (the best in the country, if you believe Bon Appetit), San Francisco has no shortage of lines, fully booked restaurants and wait lists. Your best bet to get past those? Why, Burning Man, of course. For a week in late August, the city’s finest will pack their zero-emission cars with furry vests, cowboy hats and coolers, and vanish into the desert.
Between this Sunday (August 28) and through Labor Day Weekend, the city gets just a tad bit quieter as Burning Man goers take off for the week. And while everyone’s out posing for the ultimate playa selfie and getting their hearts broken by individuals in zebra onesies, you can happily and leisurely try some of the city’s busiest, buzziest places. Here’s an action plan.
Brenda’s French Soul Food
The brunch line is always brutal. Get your beignets in peace while others are away at the playa.
652 Polk St
Mitchell’s and Bi-rite Creamery
Sure, the lines for these popular creameries contain a fair share of tourists, but we all know locals are guilty, too.
Mitchell’s, 688 San Jose Av
Bi-rite Creamery, 3692 18th St
Ever since declared one of America’s finest restaurants by Bon Appetit (they clearly love San Francisco), reservations are impossible to get. If you don’t care for the outside sitting on a chilly summer evening, Burning Man weekend might be your best chance.
1499 Valencia St
Swan’s Oyster Depot
The wait for those oysters just got half an hour shorter.
1517 Polk St
State Bird Provisions
Yes, it’s still packed nightly, which makes this the perfect spot to try as fellow San Franciscans burn the Man.
1529 Fillmore St
Lolo and Lolo Cevicheria
Forever busy and lively, these fine establishments are sure to be slightly emptier once all the ceviche lovers will trade fresh fish for beef jerky and tuna cans.
Lolo Cevicheria, 3230 22nd St
Lolo, 974 Valencia St
Freshly opened and incredibly busy, Tartine’s new spot at the Heath Ceramics building is carb heaven. The beautiful space would look so much better without the crowds, and that brioche is guaranteed to taste better, too, while eaten in relative solitude.
585 Alabama St
Something tells us the congruence between tiki lovers and Burners is large, so head to this popular and permanently busy bar to get your tiki on in style.
375 Bush St
A cliche, no doubt, but nevertheless, Outerlands is a slice of indulgence everyone wants a bite of. Make good use of Burning Man week and eat the famous weekend brunch here, minus the lines.
4001 Judah St