Over the past year, we’ve seen tons of pop-ups, well, pop up in the East Bay. And they’re making crackly, chewy bagels, vegan pupusas, fried chicken sandwiches, and, generally, some of the best meals we’ve had in recent days. That's why we put together this guide to 28 pop-ups in Oakland, Berkeley, and beyond.
If you're looking for a guide to SF pop-ups, head here.
Café Con Pan
Café Con Pan is a plant-based panadería that serves vegan pan dulce and coffee. They also have a vegan concha “flight” with changing flavors that range from vanilla with passionfruit curd to black sesame with Concord grape jam. Pre-order here by Thursday at 8pm for pick up at The Alice Collective on Saturdays or Sundays.
The Pleasure Principle is a catering company that now does a weekly pop-up in Oakland. You can pre-order things like kale and chana curry, Jamaican beef patties, and jerk patty melts here for pick up on Thursdays.
For Sichuan hot chicken, spam and eggs, and okonomiyaki-inspired sandwiches, check out Ok’s Deli, a sandwich pop-up operating out of Mägo in Oakalnd. They also make hot sauce by the bottle, if you’re looking to give your food an extra kick. Orders go live on Instagram at noon on Monday for Friday and Saturday pick-ups.
Bicycle Pies is a home-based pop-up in Oakland’s Temescal that does excellent savory and sweet hand pies. Fillings range from chicken pot pie to pork shoulder al pastor to strawberry rhubarb. Keep an eye on their Instagram for pop-up dates, updated menus, and info on how to order.
This pop-up makes some of the best bagels we’ve tried recently - they’re chewy, with a crackly crust, and are well-seasoned all over. They also occasionally serve bagel sandwiches. If you’d rather stick to loose bagels and cream cheese, pre-order here for delivery or pick-up in SF or the East Bay. Poppy Bagels also makes appearances at the Grand Lake Farmers’ Market on Saturdays.
This Oakland-based pop-up makes vegan pu
epusas filled with things like roasted beets, fennel, and chickpea cheese, and are usually available for pick up at Tacos Oscar One great thing about Sammy’s Pupusas: all of their proceeds are currently going toward providing free, plant-based meals to houseless seniors in East Oakland. Check their Instagram for the next pop-up date.
The fried chicken-focused pop-up makes one of the best fried chicken sandwiches we’ve had recently - their chicken is fried to crispy perfection and served with creamy slaw on a housemade bun. And since there’s no such thing as too much fried chicken, you can also order a side of three pieces of chicken, or their vegan version of the sandwich that’s made with oyster mushrooms. Pick up is at the Epic Ventures Test Kitchen in East Oakland.
Tacos El Precioso
Tacos El Precioso in Oakland is currently focusing on meal kits. What’s in them changes weekly, but usually ranges from BBQ platters to cochinita pibil, cauliflower al pastor, or lamb barbacoa tacos. To get a kit, pre-order by Wednesday night and pick up on Saturday in Downtown Oakland. Keep an eye on their Instagram for updates.
Okkon specializes in okonomiyaki, savory pancakes you can customize with mochi, mozzarella, shrimp, and more. The pop-up operates out of Soba Ichi in Oakland on weekends, and you can take your okonomiyaki and gyoza or sit outside with some beer, sake, or natural wine.
Every Sunday, you can walk up to The Hidden Cafe to order bagels, schmear, and bagel sandwiches by Hella Bagels. They pop up there from 9am-12pm - but if you’d rather order for delivery, you can do that too (orders open at noon on Sundays for delivery during the week here).
Chef Halihl Guy
Chef Halihl Guy mostly does catering - but you can find him occasionally popping up as part of the Black Food Collective at Epic Ventures Test Kitchen. His most recent pop-up there was a Taco Tuesday menu, with braised oxtail tacos and refried black-eyed peas. Keep an eye on Instagram for the next one.
Chunky Butt Ice Cream
This ice cream pop-up does rotating flavors like candy apple, stracciatella swirl, and bibingka, all available at various locations across the East Bay. They recently did pick ups at Temescal Brewing - and on Saturday, April 17th, they’ll be popping up at Pomella as part of Almanac Beer’s Day of Action against Asian hate.
Don’t Be Chick'n
For vegan fried chicken, head to Don’t Be Chick’n, a plant-based pop-up that’s currently serving fried chicken tenders, fried chicken sandwiches, biscuits, and milkshakes out of The New Parkway Theater in Oakland. Pop-up locations change, so be sure to follow along on Instagram for updates.
The Dunkin Taco
On Sundays, head to The Wolfhound Bar in Oakland for some cheesy, meaty quesabirria tacos, courtesy of The Dunkin Taco. They also recently started offering vegan options, including a plant-based taco filled with a roasted root and veggie medley, black beans, and vegan cheese. Walk up or text 415-597-6668 to order.
This Castro Valley-based pop-up is a collaboration between three chefs - one of whom was behind the Venezuelan pop-up, Tavo’s Joint, which is currently on pause. The Latin-inspired menu has burritos, tacos, and quesadillas filled with things like pork chile verde or beef barbacoa, as well as a breakfast arepa sandwich and cachapas con jamón. They’re currently operating out of the Castro Valley Marketplace - check their Instagram for updates.
The Taiwanese pop-up focuses on two dishes: beef noodle soup and a braised pork rice bowl, available for pick-up in SF or Oakland. Pre-orders open up on Wednesdays at noon and have been known to sell out fast - keep an eye on their Instagram for updates.
Two of the chefs behind the pop-up Broke Ass Cooks have a new pop-up called Michoz. They used to offer Peruvian grilled chicken, and are now serving a tray of Eritrean food that includes chicken stew, red lentils, stewed collard greens, and injera. Every weekend, you can pick up your tray at The Hidden Cafe in Berkeley, or order for delivery in some East Bay cities. Pre-orders typically start a week in advance - check Instagram for updates.
The creamy, Japanese-inspired Basque cheesecakes from Basuku Cheesecakes have been known to sell out in less than 15 seconds, so if you want to get your hands on one you’ll need lightning-fast reflexes - and probably a dose of luck. Pick-up locations across the Bay change, so your best bet is to keep an eye on their Instagram for updates and instructions on how to order - and may the odds be in your favor.
Dela Curo Curry
For Japanese black curry, you’ll want to track down Dela Curo Curry, an East Bay-based pop-up that specializes in it. They make theirs with cherry tomatoes, mushrooms, and wagyu beef, and serve it with katsu or over omurice. You can usually either find them at Berkeley Bowl West, Delage, or Masabaga - keep an eye on their Instagram for updates (and pre-order online here).
If the words “earl grey creme brulee pie” didn’t just give you goosebumps, first of all, we have nothing in common. It’s something you might see on the menu at Edith’s Pie, an Oakland pop-up that sells just weekly-changing pies, ranging from broccolini and cheddar quiche to apple cranberry to the aforementioned creme brulee pie. Orders open on Tuesday mornings at 10am - check Instagram for updates.
This new Oakland pop-up focuses on pastrami sandwiches, with everything from classic pastrami and mustard on rye bread to one with triple-cooked fries, aioli, curry ketchup, and a fried egg. All of their sandwiches are available vegan, too, with a pastrami made from celery root. They’re at Port Kitchens Marketplace in Jack London Square - pop-up dates vary, so check their Instagram for updates.
Angela Pinkerton, who was previously a pastry chef at Che Fico, is now making excellent pies for pick-up. The menu changes weekly with what’s in season (so keep an eye on the website), but expect things like Gravenstein apple, pluot raspberry with a brown butter shortbread crumble, key lime, and passionfruit and bay leaf meringue pie. Five- and nine-inch pies are available for pick-up on weekends at places like Ritual Coffee, Smitten Ice Cream, and other spots in SF, Oakland, and Berkeley.
What started as experimental, hybrid recipes between an Indonesian-Singaporean chef and her Mexican partner became a pop-up serving Indonesian and Mexican-inspired brunch. On certain Sundays, stop by IndoMex (operating out of Xingones in Old Oakland), where you can either pick up your order or sit outside and eat beef rendang chilaquiles, a salsa-y sambal, and pandan flan. Be sure to order ahead, and check Instagram for pop-up dates.
The Mana'eesh Lady
Over the last few years, Chef Smelly’s massive plates of Creole dishes have drawn lines around the block. And even now in pandemic times, things are no different. Here’s how you do it: head to Au Lounge in Uptown Oakland from Wednesday to Sunday, and wait your turn for blackened prawns, surf & turf fries, sweet chili garlic chicken, garlic noodles, and more. It’s walk-up only, so check Instagram for the menu and updates.
If you’re always on the lookout for the newest fried chicken sandwich, check out Fowl + Fare in Oakland. Their sandwiches change occasionally, but one they always have is the classic with chipotle aioli, pear slaw, and a fried chicken thigh. Others include a Mediterranean fried chicken sandwich with feta tzatziki, za’atar, and tomato mint jam, and one with bacon black garlic ranch. Fowl + Fare is usually at Port Kitchens Marketplace on weekends, but check their Instagram for pop-up days and location.
Smashburger enthusiasts, rejoice - Smish Smash is making thin, crispy, caramelized smashburgers out of Neptune’s in Alameda, Thursdays through Sundays - and they’re absolutely delicious. Fried chicken sandwiches, fries, and weekly specials, like their recent uni burger or Mk’Rib, are also on the menu. They’re currently only taking same-day pre-orders.