clock menu more-arrow no yes

10 Bay Area Restaurants Helping Out During the COVID-19 Crisis

View as Map
This advertising content was produced in collaboration between Vox Creative and our sponsor, without involvement from Vox Media editorial staff.

It’s no secret: It’s a tough time out there for restaurants. But even as many struggle to survive, restaurants throughout the Bay Area are simultaneously doing important work in their communities — pivoting to feed essential workers or those out of jobs, supporting other small businesses trying to stay afloat, and helping local culture thrive even in the hardest times. These 10 standout businesses are making a true difference in the neighborhoods they call home, so follow their Facebook pages for more updates. (And when we support small business, we support our communities — so if you need help or can offer it, find more resources at Facebook’s Small Business support hub.)

Be sure to double check these restaurants’ status before you go or order, as they continue to adapt to changing phases and regulations amid reopening. A number of Bay Area restaurants and bars now offer patio service; studies indicate that there’s a lower exposure risk when outdoors, but the level of risk involved with patio dining is contingent on restaurants following strict social distancing and other safety guidelines. For updated information on coronavirus cases in your area, please visit covid19.ca.gov.

Read More
Note: Restaurants on this map are listed geographically.
3463 16th St
San Francisco, CA 94114
(415) 535-0451
Visit Website

Chicken and rice: It’s pure comfort food. Chef Kevin Lieu’s restaurant specializes in khao man gai, as it’s called in Thailand, a Hainanese-derived dish of slow-poached chicken over rice. And Lieu has quickly pivoted his business to feed more people over the past few months, providing free meals for hard-working local medical staff through programs like Feed the Line and National Nurses Week, while encouraging customers to donate to the cause. “I would personally drive the meals to the hospital and deliver them,” Lieu said about National Nurses Week, when he and his team gave out about 500 meals at no cost.

2. Little Skillet

Copy Link
360 Ritch St
San Francisco, CA 94107
(415) 777-2777
Visit Website

This SoMa soul food restaurant has long been a local favorite, serving some of the city’s best chicken and waffles. But since COVID-19 struck, owners Jay Foster and Deanna Sison Foster have put an even greater emphasis on their community. Through a series of fundraisers, they’ve raised more than $1,000 for organizations that advocate for racial justice, supporting local youth and communities of color. And Little Skillet was a key participant in #FilipinosFeedtheFrontlines, which has served more than 10,000 meals to health workers and others in need. 

3. Che Fico

Copy Link
Read Review |
838 Divisadero St
San Francisco, CA 94117
(415) 416-6959
Visit Website

The wildly popular California-Italian restaurant was among the first in the city to provide free meals for local families in need. Chef David Nayfeld created Che Fico Family Meal with the restaurant’s investors and other area residents, and fed thousands of San Franciscans over four-plus months. More recently, they’ve kept their staff on-board by dramatically expanding their takeout and delivery, with everything from pantry staples to large-format cocktails to prepared meal kits to finish at home.  

4. Casements Bar

Copy Link
2351 Mission St
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 658-7320
Visit Website

In the wake of COVID-19, many bars closed indefinitely: meaning that small distillers had to, also. At the modern Irish bar Casements, owners Gillian Fitzgerald, Sean O’Donovan, and Chris Hastings have kept supporting their favorite distillers through increasingly elaborate cocktail delivery and outdoor service, like gin and tonic flights featuring emerging Irish spirits. They’ve partnered extensively with other independent businesses — whether selling small-batch hand sanitizer or pies from SF favorite Revenge Pies — and raised money for social justice organizations like the TAJA’s Coalition, advocating for trans women of color. 

5. Cockscomb Restaurant

Copy Link
564 4th St
San Francisco, CA 94107
(415) 974-0700
Visit Website

Few chefs are as dedicated to true nose-to-tail cuisine as Chris Cosentino, and his commitment to ethical butchery hasn’t changed since shifting his operation to Cockscomb To Go. Whole-animal dishes like Iberico Pork Jowl and Guajillo Chile Chicken are available for delivery and takeout, and Cosentino frequently highlights independent farms via social media. Cosentino has also participated in programs like Dine for Democracy, funding get-out-the-vote efforts in vulnerable communities, and advocates strongly for restaurant relief. The restaurant also donated 150 meals to three hospitals in San Francisco in early March. “Everyone is doing the best they can for the community at large, and cooking food is what I know how to do,” Cosentino says, adding, “it’s our little part of helping the big picture.”

6. Reem's California — Fruitvale

Copy Link
3301 E 12th St #133
Oakland, CA 94601
(510) 852-9390
Visit Website

From its beginning as a community-driven enterprise, Reem’s has been the work of Reem Assil, who launched her Arab bakery through incubator La Cocina before opening brick-and-mortar locations in Oakland’s Fruitvale neighborhood and in the Mission. Soon after COVID-19 shut down the region, Assil remade her Oakland space into a commissary kitchen, entirely dedicated to cooking meals for vulnerable community members. (The San Francisco location continues to serve takeout, delivery, and meal kits, and online orders include the option to “Man’oushet Forward,” or pay a meal forward to someone in need.) Reem’s continues to respond to ongoing crises, with a recent lamb roast “family meal” benefitting World Central Kitchen relief efforts in Beirut.

7. Mission Bowling Club

Copy Link
3176 17th St
San Francisco, CA 94110
(415) 863-2695
Visit Website

A true neighborhood fixture, Mission Bowling Club has been able to reopen on a limited basis, and they’ve also opened their patio up to the community. Recently, they’ve hosted numerous pop-ups, including the Hawaiian-meets-Southern pop-up Island Soul, Filipino snacks from The Sarap Shop, Ghanaian flavors from Sankofa, the Indonesian-inspired ChiliCali, and even a yoga class — keeping the neighborhood engaged and connected, even during the most stressful times.  

8. Horn Barbecue

Copy Link
2534 Mandela Pkwy
Oakland, CA 94607

Chef Matt Horn has been a fixture on the Bay Area pop-up scene for years, earning a reputation both as a first-class pitmaster and as an active student of Black pitmasters who came before him and influenced his craft. When his West Oakland brick-and-mortar shop ran into permitting restrictions just before the COVID-19 crisis, delaying its opening, Horn didn’t pause. Instead, he launched the Horn Initiative, feeding more than 4,000 first responders and Oakland citizens in need.

9. Daughter Thai Kitchen

Copy Link
6118 Medau Pl
Oakland, CA 94611
(510) 823-2354
Visit Website

Ling Chatterjee’s Southern Thai restaurant, part of the Farmhouse Thai Kitchen group, has kept steady business with patio dining, takeout, and delivery, and even a newly constructed outdoor bar. To help patrons and their families through tough economic times, they’ve offered the “Little Lao Table Set,” a family-style dinner that includes a free kid’s meal. And they’ve been working to feed the broader community as well, serving meals every week to frontline workers through programs including East Bay FeedEr and World Central Kitchen.

10. The Damel

Copy Link
1312 Broadway
Oakland, CA 94612
(510) 817-4939
Visit Website

Chef-owner Oumar Diouf recently relocated his internationally-influenced Senegalese street food operation to a new Oakland storefront, with plans for a food truck and a San Francisco ghost kitchen in the works: ambitious moves during a difficult time. One particular lifeline for his business has been the Chefs for America program, through World Central Kitchen, which partners with local restaurants to serve meals to hundreds of thousands of residents. Alongside cooking for takeout and delivery customers, feeding the community has allowed him to keep his staff employed, cooking up the Argentinian empanadas and Senegalese grilled meats they do best.

This advertising content was produced in collaboration between Vox Creative and our sponsor, without involvement from Vox Media editorial staff.

1. GAI

3463 16th St, San Francisco, CA 94114

Chicken and rice: It’s pure comfort food. Chef Kevin Lieu’s restaurant specializes in khao man gai, as it’s called in Thailand, a Hainanese-derived dish of slow-poached chicken over rice. And Lieu has quickly pivoted his business to feed more people over the past few months, providing free meals for hard-working local medical staff through programs like Feed the Line and National Nurses Week, while encouraging customers to donate to the cause. “I would personally drive the meals to the hospital and deliver them,” Lieu said about National Nurses Week, when he and his team gave out about 500 meals at no cost.

3463 16th St
San Francisco, CA 94114

2. Little Skillet

360 Ritch St, San Francisco, CA 94107

This SoMa soul food restaurant has long been a local favorite, serving some of the city’s best chicken and waffles. But since COVID-19 struck, owners Jay Foster and Deanna Sison Foster have put an even greater emphasis on their community. Through a series of fundraisers, they’ve raised more than $1,000 for organizations that advocate for racial justice, supporting local youth and communities of color. And Little Skillet was a key participant in #FilipinosFeedtheFrontlines, which has served more than 10,000 meals to health workers and others in need. 

360 Ritch St
San Francisco, CA 94107

3. Che Fico

838 Divisadero St, San Francisco, CA 94117
Read Review |

The wildly popular California-Italian restaurant was among the first in the city to provide free meals for local families in need. Chef David Nayfeld created Che Fico Family Meal with the restaurant’s investors and other area residents, and fed thousands of San Franciscans over four-plus months. More recently, they’ve kept their staff on-board by dramatically expanding their takeout and delivery, with everything from pantry staples to large-format cocktails to prepared meal kits to finish at home.  

838 Divisadero St
San Francisco, CA 94117

4. Casements Bar

2351 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94110

In the wake of COVID-19, many bars closed indefinitely: meaning that small distillers had to, also. At the modern Irish bar Casements, owners Gillian Fitzgerald, Sean O’Donovan, and Chris Hastings have kept supporting their favorite distillers through increasingly elaborate cocktail delivery and outdoor service, like gin and tonic flights featuring emerging Irish spirits. They’ve partnered extensively with other independent businesses — whether selling small-batch hand sanitizer or pies from SF favorite Revenge Pies — and raised money for social justice organizations like the TAJA’s Coalition, advocating for trans women of color. 

2351 Mission St
San Francisco, CA 94110

5. Cockscomb Restaurant

564 4th St, San Francisco, CA 94107

Few chefs are as dedicated to true nose-to-tail cuisine as Chris Cosentino, and his commitment to ethical butchery hasn’t changed since shifting his operation to Cockscomb To Go. Whole-animal dishes like Iberico Pork Jowl and Guajillo Chile Chicken are available for delivery and takeout, and Cosentino frequently highlights independent farms via social media. Cosentino has also participated in programs like Dine for Democracy, funding get-out-the-vote efforts in vulnerable communities, and advocates strongly for restaurant relief. The restaurant also donated 150 meals to three hospitals in San Francisco in early March. “Everyone is doing the best they can for the community at large, and cooking food is what I know how to do,” Cosentino says, adding, “it’s our little part of helping the big picture.”

564 4th St
San Francisco, CA 94107

6. Reem's California — Fruitvale

3301 E 12th St #133, Oakland, CA 94601

From its beginning as a community-driven enterprise, Reem’s has been the work of Reem Assil, who launched her Arab bakery through incubator La Cocina before opening brick-and-mortar locations in Oakland’s Fruitvale neighborhood and in the Mission. Soon after COVID-19 shut down the region, Assil remade her Oakland space into a commissary kitchen, entirely dedicated to cooking meals for vulnerable community members. (The San Francisco location continues to serve takeout, delivery, and meal kits, and online orders include the option to “Man’oushet Forward,” or pay a meal forward to someone in need.) Reem’s continues to respond to ongoing crises, with a recent lamb roast “family meal” benefitting World Central Kitchen relief efforts in Beirut.

3301 E 12th St #133
Oakland, CA 94601

7. Mission Bowling Club

3176 17th St, San Francisco, CA 94110

A true neighborhood fixture, Mission Bowling Club has been able to reopen on a limited basis, and they’ve also opened their patio up to the community. Recently, they’ve hosted numerous pop-ups, including the Hawaiian-meets-Southern pop-up Island Soul, Filipino snacks from The Sarap Shop, Ghanaian flavors from Sankofa, the Indonesian-inspired ChiliCali, and even a yoga class — keeping the neighborhood engaged and connected, even during the most stressful times.  

3176 17th St
San Francisco, CA 94110

8. Horn Barbecue

2534 Mandela Pkwy, Oakland, CA 94607

Chef Matt Horn has been a fixture on the Bay Area pop-up scene for years, earning a reputation both as a first-class pitmaster and as an active student of Black pitmasters who came before him and influenced his craft. When his West Oakland brick-and-mortar shop ran into permitting restrictions just before the COVID-19 crisis, delaying its opening, Horn didn’t pause. Instead, he launched the Horn Initiative, feeding more than 4,000 first responders and Oakland citizens in need.

2534 Mandela Pkwy
Oakland, CA 94607

9. Daughter Thai Kitchen

6118 Medau Pl, Oakland, CA 94611

Ling Chatterjee’s Southern Thai restaurant, part of the Farmhouse Thai Kitchen group, has kept steady business with patio dining, takeout, and delivery, and even a newly constructed outdoor bar. To help patrons and their families through tough economic times, they’ve offered the “Little Lao Table Set,” a family-style dinner that includes a free kid’s meal. And they’ve been working to feed the broader community as well, serving meals every week to frontline workers through programs including East Bay FeedEr and World Central Kitchen.

6118 Medau Pl
Oakland, CA 94611

10. The Damel

1312 Broadway, Oakland, CA 94612

Chef-owner Oumar Diouf recently relocated his internationally-influenced Senegalese street food operation to a new Oakland storefront, with plans for a food truck and a San Francisco ghost kitchen in the works: ambitious moves during a difficult time. One particular lifeline for his business has been the Chefs for America program, through World Central Kitchen, which partners with local restaurants to serve meals to hundreds of thousands of residents. Alongside cooking for takeout and delivery customers, feeding the community has allowed him to keep his staff employed, cooking up the Argentinian empanadas and Senegalese grilled meats they do best.

1312 Broadway
Oakland, CA 94612

Related Maps