A person in black pants walking across the floor with take-out food bags.

Peek Inside La Cocina, a San Francisco Food Hall with an Inspiring Mission

by GR Chair

Located in the Mission District of San Francisco, La Cocina started as food incubator aimed at providing affordable commercial kitchen space, industry specific technical assistance, and access to market opportunities for women, immigrants, and communities of color.  Since 2005, their goal has been to help entrepreneurs gain financial security by doing what they love while also creating a vibrant, innovative, and inclusive landscape. LaCocina3-1Signage and branding details inside of the new food hall.

In 2018, La Cocina broke ground on an exciting new endeavor: a food hall featuring businesses that graduated from their food entrepreneurship program. Aside from serving delicious and affordable food for the local community, the food hall offers additional economic opportunity for women entrepreneurs and created 30-40 jobs for Tenderloin residents (a neighborhood within SF that has one of the highest unemployment rates in the city).

Since the program has started, there have been over 40 amazing business graduates from the program, many of whom have since opened their own brick and mortar restaurants in the city, like Reem’s California, El Buen Comer, Nyum Bai, to name a few. 

LaCocina2Reece Counter Stools (left), Chef Tiffany Carter, Chef and Owner of  Boug Cali (right)

La Cocina Municipal Food (aka the food hall) opened its doors on April 5th, right after San Francisco lifted its ban on indoor dining due to the pandemic (although construction as near completion when lockdown began last March!) The 7,000 square foo space was designed by LMNOP Design and features 7 women-owned food businesses, a lending library, and free computer and internet access for residents of the Tenderloin neighborhood and more. 

Currently available for take-out, the market features foods inspired by flavors and cuisines from around the world including Senegal, Mexico, El Salvador, Algeria, and even a Creole-French fusion restaurant.

LaCocina4
Estrella Gonzalez, Estrellita's Snacks (left), Chef Nafy Ba Flatley, Teranga (right)
 
LaCocina7
Chef Wafa Bahloul, Kayma
 
Upon learning about La Cocina and their mission, it was a no-brainer for our team to join forces with La Cocina to provide them with durable, design-forward furniture for their space. Working with non-profit organizations has been something we've always taken pride in as an organization. As we've grown over the years we've looked at ways that we can impact communities beyond simple job creation and have continued relationships with organizations like Habitat for Humanity and the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.  
 
After years of development, it's amazing to see this space come to life and we cannot wait for the indoor dining space to open fully to the community. If you're interested, you can learn more about La Cocina and their mission here. We'd also encourage you to check out their Covid response page to learn about how Covid has impacted their business and how you can help, or you can purchase a copy of the La Cocina Cookbook
 
LaCocina8
 All Images were provided by La Cocina Municipal Marketplace and shot by Erin Ng. 
 

Restaurant Furniture