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Pop-Up Store Sells Restaurant Foods from Bay Area Chefs

Hot & Cool Trends

By Cari Martens

Here’s another example of the pop-up lifestyle trend that still seems to be going strong: the Pop-Up General Store that pops up every now and again in the San Francisco-Oakland, Calif., area.

Lucky shoppers who know about it show up at designated sites, and fill their reusable grocery bags with fancy culinary foods, most of which are created by area chefs and restaurateurs. They find things like heat-and-serve potato-chard gratin from Mary Jo Thoresen and Curt Clingman of the recently closed Jojo restaurant, or frozen heritage pork gyoza from Sylvan Brackett, who worked with Alice Waters’ before opening his Peko Peko Japanese catering business.

Photo: Michael Macor/The Chronicle

As reported by Carol Ness, writing for The Chronicle on sfgate.com, the store is part of the new phenomenon of temporary eateries, farm stands and underground markets that show up here and there around the Bay Area, sometimes in the same location and sometimes not. You can never be sure where one might…pop up.

The Pop-Up General Store is high-class all the way, with foods made from the finest quality ingredients made by a dozen or so Bay Area chefs, almost all of whom cook or have cooked at Water’s renowned Chez Panisse.

The store was created by former Eccolo chef-owner Chris Lee and Lee’s ex-sous chef Samin Nosrat, who were looking for a way to continue preparing their favorite foods, after Eccolo closed in 2009. They also saw the store as a way to stay visible in the community while trying to determine their next culinary venture.

As described by Ness, some of the choice items available at the latest sale at Pop-Up included Blue Chair Fruit strawberry jam, black currant tea panna cotta, and handmade English muffins. The items are decidedly NOT bargain priced, but their exclusivity makes it worth the trip to many of the shoppers there.

The store could someday transition into a more permanent operation—a butcher shop or other brick-and-mortar store. But as Samin Nosrat told Ness, ‘Maybe it never has to turn into anything.’

Click here to read the full feature on sfgate.com.

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