San Francisco

Order From SF’s Absolute Best Sandwich Shops Right Now

There's never been a better time for a picnic.

Rhea's Deli & Market
Rhea’s Deli & Market
Rhea’s Deli & Market

There’s no better picnic food than a sandwich, and in the age of outdoor socially distanced meals, there’s never been a better time for a picnic. That means you should be taking this opportunity to eat your way around SF’s best sandwich shops. For the purposes of this article, we stuck with classic sandwiches, which means you won’t find breakfast sandwiches, sloppy Joes, or even fried chicken sandwiches on this list. What you will find are excellent options for when you’re craving America’s classic lunchtime favorite named for an 18th century aristocrat who also had a serious appreciation for meat tucked between bread. Plus, our recs for nearby outdoor (socially distanced) spaces to enjoy them.

Arguello Market Turkey Sandwich
Arguello Market Turkey Sandwich
Arguello Market Turkey Sandwich

Arguello Super Market

Inner Richmond
This neighborhood market has a good selection of beer and wine, produce, and other household staples, but you’re going there for the “world famous” turkey sandwich to be followed shortly by one of the best naps of your life. The sandwich starts with thick slices of turkey roasted in-house and is topped with lettuce, onion, tomato, and pickles. You can add whatever bread and cheese you’d like (go pepper jack for its saltiness) as well as avocado. Grab some beer or wine as well, and take it all to Golden Gate Park (just a block away) for a picnic and that midday siesta.¬†
Order in person for takeout or get delivery from Postmates.

Say Cheese

Cole Valley
Say Cheese is one of those adorable shops you walk into just to grab a sandwich, and walk out of having spent way too much money on obscure cheese, a slice of pate, a tub of olives, and bars of artisanal chocolate. If you can manage to stay focused, however, you can get in and out only spending around $12 (before tip) for a quality sandwich that feels as fancy as a sandwich can feel — especially the one with French ham, French butter, gruyere, and cornichon. You should consider foregoing meat and opting for the mozzarella caprese with fresh basil, tomato, and EVOO. (You can still add prosciutto if going meatless feels like too much to bear). Golden Gate Park is just a few blocks away, so put a blanket and some beverages in your bag and head to the Conservatory of Flowers.
Order in person for takeout or get delivery from Postmates.

Submarine Center

West Portal
You need to get to West Portal for one of Sub Center’s classic subs topped with your meat of choice, mustard, mayo, onions, shredded lettuce, tomato, and secret sauce — all toasted. Sure, you could get one delivered, but these sandwiches are best eaten fresh out of the oven. Plus, it’s silly to pay all of those delivery fees when part of the joy of Sub Center is just how affordable it is (about $12 for a “super,” which is a lot of sandwich). Stern Grove is less than five minutes away by car and is a perfect spot for maximum sub sandwich enjoyment.
Order in person for takeout, for pickup from Grubhub, or get delivery from Postmates, DoorDash, or Caviar.

Deli Board
Deli Board
Deli Board

Deli Board

SoMa
In a town where a $20 burger has become the norm and people don’t scoff at paying six bucks for an ice cream cone, it’s still somewhat shocking to see Deli Board’s prices — $17 to $19 for each sandwich. But there’s a reason why there’s always a line during lunch: Those sandwiches are gluttonous, satisfying, and full of flavor. The best move is any of the sandwiches piled high with pastrami and slathered with “Board sauce.” There are a few combos that include that, so you can cater your preferences from there. Of course, you should also check The Board for rotating daily specials. The sandwiches aren’t toasted, so your order should travel well, but if you can’t wait, there’s a park right across the street.
Deli Board isn’t taking phone orders during COVID, so you’ll have to order at the shop where there is a safe queue system in place.

Giordano Bros.
Giordano Bros.
Giordano Bros.

Giordano Bros.

Mission
Apparently when you get asked the same question so many times, you make a sign so that you no longer have to explain that “Yes! The fries and coleslaw are ON the sandwich.” Other questions that apparently get asked a lot at Giordano Bros.: What are coppa and hot capicola, are the owners really from Pittsburgh (yes, they are), and if there’s a full bar (again: yes)? But the only question you’ll need to answer is what kind of grilled meat to get in your Pittsburgh-style “all-in-one sandwich” because the hard stuff, like what it includes, has already been decided for you — sliced Italian bread, melted provolone cheese, freshly cut fries, and oil and vinegar coleslaw. Sure, you could try to mess with perfection, but as the Q&A board says: “Our sandwich has been made the same way for 70 years, so we recommend you don’t try to change it.” As far as where to enjoy this massively loaded sandwich — Giordano Bros. currently has outdoor seating and is also just a few blocks from Dolores Park.
Order at the restaurant for takeout or outdoor dining, order online for pickup, or get it delivered via Postmates.

Ike's Love and Sandwiches
Ike’s Love and Sandwiches
Ike’s Love and Sandwiches

Ike’s Love & Sandwiches

Tenderloin
Ike’s started in the Castro in 2007 (Ike, the owner, was born and raised here), and now has over 55 locations in California, Nevada, Arizona, and Texas selling the huge, complicated (in a good way), and messy sandwiches. Unfortunately, because of crazy rents and regulations for chain stores, there’s only one SF location: on Polk and O’Farrell. But at least there’s still one place in the city to get your sloppy sandwich fix. Ike’s is known for its creative combos, sandwiches named after (and co-created with) celebrities, and delicious dirty sauce. There’s a $30 sandwich called the Kryptonite (roast beef, pastrami, turkey, ham, salami, bacon, pesto, avocado, mozzarella sticks, stuffed jalapeno poppers, onion rings, extra pepper jack), but it’s crazy over-the-top. We prefer the classic Menage a Trois (halal chicken, BBQ, honey mustard, real honey, pepper jack, cheddar, swiss) instead. If you pick your order up in person, take it to Lafayette Park.
Order for takeout in person or via the app or for delivery via DoorDash, Grubhub, Postmates, or Uber Eats.

Marina Submarine

Cow Hollow
If you’re anywhere near Union Street, you need to be partaking in “The Fleet” of sandwiches. The configurations are simple: three sizes (small, medium, or large), a choice of meat and cheese (you can’t go wrong with turkey and provolone) with mustard, mayonnaise, shredded lettuce, tomato, onion, and a secret sauce served on a toasted roll with a perfect amount of crunch. Like any toasted sandwich, Marina Sub’s heavenly creations are best enjoyed as soon as possible. During COVID, we’ve been taking ours (along with a couple of beers) to the beach at Crissy Field; yup, that’s right: even a little sand can’t ruin the masterpiece that is a Marina Sub.
Call 415-921-3990 for takeout or order at the shop.

Molinari Delicatessen

North Beach
Joe DiMaggio loved Molinari so much that his will stated that when he died, the deli was to cater the reception after his funeral. The classic Italian deli is the oldest deli west of the Rockies and is a great place to pick up Italian staples, like olive oil and wine, as well one of several dozen varieties of cured meat sandwiches. Our favorite is the classic “Italian Combo,” add sundried tomatoes, basil garlic spread, and fresh homemade mozzarella on focaccia. You can get it delivered, but you can also pick it up and enjoy it in Washington Square Park, just two blocks away.
Order online or in-person for takeout or get delivery from Uber Eats, Grubhub, DoorDash, or Postmates.

Rhea's Deli & Market
Rhea’s Deli & Market
Rhea’s Deli & Market

Rhea’s Deli & Market

Mission
At first glance, Rhea’s is just another unassuming SF liquor store with a deli in the back. It’s not until you actually eat one of Rhea’s famous sandwiches that you understand why this corner store is so crowded. The most popular sandwich by far — and the one you must get on your first visit — is the Korean Steak with marinated rib-eye steak, cheddar cheese, house-pickled red onions and jalapenos, lettuce, chili sauce, and garlic aioli on an Acme sweet roll, but unsurprisingly, you can’t really go wrong with anything on the menu. Take yours to enjoy in Dolores Park.
Order in-person for takeout.

Saigon Sandwich

Tenderloin
In the late 1970s and early ‚Äė80s, thousands of people from Southeast Asia settled in the Tenderloin. They were escaping the devastation of war and the Tenderloin was much more affordable than a lot of other neighborhoods. Today, Little Saigon, a two-block corridor in the Tenderloin, is home to several casual spots to get soul satisfying pho and strong Vietnamese coffee, as well as the best banh mi sandwiches in the city at Saigon Sandwiches. And we don’t just say that because they’re all five bucks or less, though, of course that helps. The pate combo with roasted pork, chicken liver pate, pickled onion, daikon, carrots, cilantro, and jalapeno is our preferred order, but when we’re not up for the five dollar splurge, the roast pork on its own is also perfect. You might want to just eat it standing on the sidewalk, but Lafayette Park just up the hill is also a good (and slightly more relaxing) option.
Call ahead at 415-474-5698 or order in person.Sign up here for our daily San Francisco email and be the first to get all the food/drink/fun SF has to offer.

Daisy Barringer¬†is an SF-based writer who has been going to Marina Subs since she was six years old and was actually there when her brother’s friend, “Dan the Magician” put the playing card on the ceiling (look up). Follow her on Instagram @daisysf to see which sandwiches she’s eating right now.

San Francisco

How to Celebrate Black History Month in San Francisco

Support and celebrate SF's Black community.

Courtesy of Black Joy Parade
Courtesy of Black Joy Parade
Courtesy of Black Joy Parade

Though it’s something we need to be doing every day of every month of every year, Black History Month encourages us to pay tribute to the struggles and oppression generations of Black Americans have faced, as well as their often-neglected triumphs and achievements that have helped shape this county and make it better. It’s a time to reflect on how we can do better to confront racism and oppression, which this year’s theme, “Black Resistance,” echoes. This is especially important in a town like San Francisco, where the Fillmore District was known as “the Harlem of the West” before the city displaced a vast portion of the neighbourhood’s Black community in the ’60s and ’70s. This displacement continues today, as the Black population is the only racial group that has declined in every census since 1970.

If you’re looking for ways to celebrate Black History Month, there are lots to do. Whether you want to educate yourself by attending films, performances, or conversations, share the joy at a parade or dance party, or do a little bit of it all at a drag show, here are just a few ways you can get involved and have a lot of fun while doing so:

Visit San Francisco Public Library branches for workshops, films, performances, and more

February (and throughout the year)
Library branches and online
SFPL’s “More Than a Month” celebration focuses on the theme of resistance this year. Family-friendly and adult events include film screenings, musical performances, book clubs, workshops, and more.
Cost: Free

Museum of African Diaspora
Museum of African Diaspora
Museum of African Diaspora

See art, poetry, films, talks, and more at MoAD

February (and throughout the year)
SoMa
Right now, at the Museum of African Diaspora, you can see the first and only West Coast exhibition of “The New Black Vanguard: Photography Between Art and Fashion,” which highlights the work of 15 contemporary fashion designers “whose images present radically new perspectives on the medium of photography and art, race and beauty, and gender and power.” The museum, which has a robust year-round program and event calendar, has a slew of events to attend, including youth poetry readings, film screenings, open mic nights, book clubs, artist talks, and more.
Cost: Event prices vary; GA to visit the museum is $12 but free every second Saturday of the month

Check out films, art, reading, talks, and more at BAMPFA

February (and throughout the year)
Berkeley
There is always something interesting to discover at the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (BAMPFA). During Black History Month, you can see films by Pratibha Parmar, “Felwine Sarr: Music, Freedom, Africa,” a conversation through music with the Senegalese writer, scholar, composer, musician, and more.
Cost: Varies

Old Skool Cafe
Old Skool Cafe
Old Skool Cafe

Enjoy menu specials honoring Black community members at Old Skool Cafe

February (and throughout the year)
Bayview
For Black History Month, Old Skool Cafe is adding the favourite meals of notable Black community members to the menu each weekend. The nonprofit, youth-run supper club helps at-risk, formerly incarcerated, and foster care youth ages 16-22 gain the skills and experience they need to succeed in various front and back-of-house restaurant roles. Bayview hero/community advocate Mrs. Dorris Vincent is first up, followed by Judge Trina Thompson, Delroy Lindo, and Mayor London Breed.

Yerba Buena Gardens
Yerba Buena Gardens
Yerba Buena Gardens

Walk beneath the Marting Luther King, Jr. Memorial waterfall

February (and ongoing)
Yerba Buena Gardens
Did you know that Yerba Buena Gardens is home to the country’s second-largest memorial to Dr. King? Visit the sculptural waterfall featuring glass panels inscribed with his inspiring words at 750 Howard Street.
Cost: Free

Attend the Commonwealth’s “Dreaming Forward: A Celebration of Black Joy, Power, and Excellence” conference

Thursday, February 9
Embarcadero
On behalf of Dr. Sheryl Evans Davis and the San Francisco Human Rights Commission, the Commonwealth Club is hosting its second annual Dream Keeper Initiative, a day-long conference/celebration/call-to-action featuring special guests, including April Ryan of TheGrio and CNN.
Cost: Free

Courtesy of Oakland First Fridays
Courtesy of Oakland First Fridays
Courtesy of Oakland First Fridays

Celebrate Black Love at Oakland First Fridays

Friday, February 10
Telegraph Avenue from West Grand to 27th Street
Telegraph Avenue transforms into a dining, shopping, and art-appreciating party on Friday, February 10, from 5 pm to 9 pm. There will be food, artist, and retail vendors and a host of Black artists, authors, and entertainment. Please note: This event was rescheduled from February 3 because of potential rain.
Cost: Free

Have a ball at an all-Black drag show at Oasis

Friday, February 10
SoMa
“Reparations with Latrice Royale” is an all-Black drag show hosted by Latrice Royale, the beloved Drag Race star who also happens to be celebrating her birthday.
Cost: $15 to $60

Dance all night and shop all day at the Afro Soca Love carnival and marketplace

Friday, February 10 ‚Äď Saturday, February 11
341 13th Street, Oakland
Afro Soca Love creates experiences that act as a “gateway to building bonds and strengthen relationships-between communities, individuals, and Africa and its diaspora.” See for yourself at the all-ages marketplace (Saturday), where you’ll find food and drink, fashion, beauty and wellness, home decor, and more. But before the shopping comes the dancing at the 21+ Friday Night Carnival, a culturally immersive music experience with music from all over the world.
Cost: The marketplace is free; tickets to the Friday Night Carnival start at $20

See a live performance of “Words That Made the Difference: Brown vs. the Board of Education”

Saturday, February 11
Unity Palo Alto
See a live theatrical performance based on the true events that occurred in the fight to end school segregation. The script draws from trial transcripts of the five cases brought together in front of the Supreme Court and Chief Justice Earl Warren’s memoirs, and the play is set in the courtrooms where it all happened. There will be a Q&A with the playwright before the performance and the cast afterward.
Cost: Free

Courtesy of San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Company
Courtesy of San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Company
Courtesy of San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Company

Go to the I, Too, Sing America album release party

Saturday, February 11
Mission
Head to the Brava Theater Center to celebrate the San Francisco Bay Area Theatre Company’s album release of the music created for I, Too, Sing America, a soulful and uplifting performance that moved audiences when it debuted last year. The night includes an album-listening and sing-along party, DJs, dancing, an open bar, and more.
Cost: $40

Go on the Black Liberation Walking Tour of West Oakland

Saturday, February 18
West Oakland
Take a walk with David Peters, founder of the West Oakland Cultural Action Network, and Gene Anderson, the author of Legendary Locals of Oakland, to learn about resident voices and document sites of cultural and historical significance in the neighbourhood. Peters is a local native, and Anderson is an Oakland historian whose family has historical roots in West Oakland.
Cost: $50 ($30 for West Oakland residents)

See a screening of The Black Kung Fu Experience followed by in-person demonstrations

Sunday, February 19
Great Star Theater, Chinatown
The Chinese Historical Society of America is celebrating Black History Month and social unity with a screening of this film about how a group of African American pioneers became respected in a subculture dominated by Chinese and white men. Afterward, there will be demonstrations and talks with Sifu Donald Hamby and Sifu Troy Dunwood, who “will speak about their success as internationally recognized martial arts masters, their Chinese Kung Fu teachers, and what this practice means in relation to diversity, race and inclusion issues.”
Cost: $15

Sip wine made by Black winemakers at a free tasting event at STEM Kitchen + Garden

Thursday, February 23
Dogpatch
STEM Kitchen + Garden is hosting an afternoon wine tasting celebrating Black-owned wineries in its gorgeous indoor/outdoor space, and best of all, and it’s free to the public!
Cost: Free

Bayview Opera House
Bayview Opera House
Bayview Opera House

Attend the San Francisco African American Arts & Cultural District Gala Fundraiser

Saturday, February 25
Bayview Opera House
Enjoy an evening of talent, fashion, and community inspiration at SFAAACD’s 1st Annual Gala Fundraiser. Carla Duke, Television News Director at CBS-KPIX Chanel 5, will host the event, which includes inspiring words from keynote speaker Aniyia Williams, an artist, tech creator, and system-preneur.
Cost: $100

Attend a Black History Month & Chinese New Year Poetry Reading on Angel Island

Saturday, February 25
Angel Island
There is so much history in poetry at the Angel Island Detention Barracks Museum, which makes it a fitting location for poets Chun Yu and Michael Warr. The co-founders of Two Languages/One Community will share their poems and stories in English and Chinese, accompanied by projected images of text and photographs.
Cost: $10 to $21

Courtesy of Black Joy Parade
Courtesy of Black Joy Parade
Courtesy of Black Joy Parade

Feel the joy at the Black Joy Parade

Sunday, February 26
Downtown Oakland
This parade and festival celebrate the “Black experience past, present, and future.” Be prepared to experience “more Black joy than you ever imagined,” starting with the parade (beginning at 14th and Franklin) at 12:30 pm. The family-friendly festival follows (main entrance is at 19th and Franklin) will include 200-plus Black-owned small businesses selling food, drinks, clothing, art, and more. There will also be two stages with Black performers, including The Black Joy Choir.
Cost: Free

Take a sound bath at Grace Cathedral in honor of Black History Month

Monday, February 27
Nob Hill
Take an immersive sound bath featuring Fractals of Sound, a collective of top Bay Area musicians Egemen Sanli, Phoenix Song, and Sam Jackson, with special guest Destiny Muhammad. Together, they will create a “soundscape deeply rooted in world music,” allowing you to take a meditative journey in one of the most beautiful places in San Francisco.
Cost: $25 to $75

See Tsitsi Dangarembga and Angela Davis at City Arts & Lectures

Tuesday, February 28
Civic Center
Co-presented with MoAd, City Arts & Lectures is hosting novelist Tsitsi Dangarembga and scholar and activist Angela Davis for what’s sure to be a riveting conversation.
Cost: $36

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Daisy Barringer¬†is an SF-based freelance writer who spent many childhood days wandering around the Exploratorium. Follow her on¬†Instagram¬†to see what she’s up to now.

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