Food coverage is supported by a generous donation from Susan and Moses Libitzky.
While many restaurants and food businesses have struggled to stay afloat during the coronavirus pandemic, not all are in that category. Square Pie Guys, which opened in San Francisco’s SoMa neighborhood in July 2019, is opening a second location, this time in Oakland. (We profiled co-owner Marc Schechter when he made pizza for the homeless in September 2018 and co-owner Danny Stoller after Square Pie Guys opened).
Since pizza travels well, is easy to deliver and is seen as comfort food, the new business was primed to do well during the shutdown, but the frequent appearance of its pizza on critics’ best-of lists didn’t hurt, either. (Its burger has made those lists as well). Square Pie Guys is known for Detroit-style pizza, which not only is square-shaped, but also has crispy cheese baked into the crust.
Both owners live in Oakland and always meant to open there, but the San Francisco opportunity came along first. The new location, 499 Ninth St. at Washington, used to be occupied by Benchmark Pizzeria, in Old Oakland. Schechter and Stoller hope to open in February.
In September, we reported on the launch of Shuk Shuka, a new, locally produced brand of Israeli dips such as z’hug and hummus, and baked goods including challah and babka. The brand, owned by Israeli Inon Tzadok, was a pivot from the original concept of pop-up dinners with live music, begun the year before. Shuk Shuka is now partnering with OneTable, the online platform that helps Jewish young adults host Shabbat dinners for their peers in their own homes.
Obviously, in-person dinners aren’t happening now, but people are encouraged to host virtual Shabbat experiences on the platform. Now, Bay Area hosts will have the option to choose Shuk Shuka products for themselves and their guests using “nourishment credits” provided by the organization.
In June, we wrote about two new bagel operations, both started during the pandemic. Hella Bagels started as a home-based operation but now operates out of a commercial kitchen. The bagels were extremely hard to get early on, while Ethel’s Bagels, based in Petaluma, were delivered to some Bay Area locations on weekends.
Both have since expanded their operations. Hella Bagels is now doing home delivery Wednesdays and Fridays (order at hella-bagels.com) and popping up at Berkeley’s Hidden Café on Sunday mornings from 9 a.m. to noon. Hidden Café, at 1250 Addison St. facing Strawberry Creek Park, has been hosting a variety of pop-ups in its kitchen. And Ethel’s Bagels are now sold at a number of farmers markets, including the S.F. Ferry Building on Thursdays. On Saturdays, they can be found at the farmers market in Larkspur and on Sundays in Kensington. Ethel’s operation also has expanded into making challah and rugelach, which can be preordered to be picked up at the market. It is also continuing to deliver.