The 19 coolest new businesses in San Francisco
San Francisco has long been the hub for huge Silicon Valley tech companies but it s also home to some seriously cool local businesses. From a 2.5-ton mobile pizza oven and a beef-jerky bar to the city s first indoor golf course, we re highlighting some of the newest and coolest businesses in San Francisco. Scroll through to check them out.
What it is: A mood-boosting flower shop and studio.
Why it s cool: Step through the shop s unmistakable bright-turquoise doors and into a design studio and flower shop that feels like a fresh and fun gathering space. Ampersand sells California-grown flowers by the stem and designs for weddings, and it puts together custom arrangements and wreaths too.
What it is: A 2.5-ton pizza oven on wheels.
Why it s cool: Chef Jon Darsky has been serving Neapolitan-style pizza from a 5,000-pound wood-fired oven housed in a 20-foot shipping container since 2012, earning a mass of Bay Area loyalists. Del Popolo Italian for of the people is so popular the team behind the pies is planning to open its first brick-and-mortar location by the end of the year.
What it is: A restaurant where robots serve quinoa bowls.
Why it s cool: This vegetarian restaurant specializes in $7 quinoa bowls that use fresh ingredients. Quinoa is a superfood that requires far less energy to produce than any animal-based proteins, according to Eatsa s website, making it good for both people and the planet. Eatsa uses technology to automate its two-step process: Customers place their order on an iPad, then they wait for their name to appear on an LCD-screened cubby when the order s up. Of course there s kitchen staff creating each meal behind the scenes, but the illusion of being served by a robot is what makes this fast-casual restaurant one of a kind.
What it is: A boutique that sells unique gifts made by local artisans.
Why it s cool: Gather doubles as an event space and shop selling a whimsical selection of the best and coolest locally handcrafted clothing and home goods in San Francisco. The husband-and-wife pair behind Gather build connections with customers and craftsmen by hosting monthly events like workshops and trunk shows. The shop shelves everything from California Love -flavored chocolate bars and handmade jewelry to West Coaster T-shirts and onesies.
What it is: A startup that delivers ugly produce to fight food waste.
Why it s cool: In 2011, entrepreneurs Ben Simon and Ben Chesler launched the Food Recovery Network to fight food waste in campus dining halls. Now they re saving tons of bruised produce from going to waste too.
According to Imperfect s website, each year 20% of produce is turned away from grocery stores based on appearance. For under $20, Imperfect customers can get a box filled with ugly but completely edible fruits and vegetables delivered to their home or office. Imperfect also has an option to donate a box of produce to a family in need for $12.
What it is: The city s first Japanese-style cat caf .
Why it s cool: This charming cat lounge and tea house is co-owned by a pair of Silicon Valley techies who discovered SF s need for a respite from the pressures of the tech world.
KitTea offers yoga and movie nights with free-roaming, adoptable cats in partnership with Petco Foundation. Reservations for an hour of cat cuddle time and endless tea cost $25 on the weekend or $17.50 on a weekday, and they can be made online.
What it is: A service that delivers breast milk to working moms.
Why it s cool: Breastfeeding rates are on the rise in the US, and one of a working mom s greatest challenges can be getting breast milk back to her baby while traveling. In August, Bay Area mom Kate Torgersen created a solution: Milk Stork, a company that enables mothers to send refrigerated and protected breast milk back home while traveling for work. For $99 per day away, mothers can order supplies through Milk Stork s website and receive breast-milk storage bags and prepaid, pharmaceutical-grade shipping coolers at their destination. Milk Stork will ship up to 34 oz. of breast milk per day for next-day delivery anywhere in the continental US.
What it is: An online consignment store for furniture.
Why it s cool: Move Loot is a full-service marketplace, offering pickup, delivery, listings, and storage for your unused furniture. It s operating in the Bay Area, Los Angeles, New York City, Raleigh-Durham, Charlotte, and Atlanta, where it has its own warehousing and logistics platforms to help customers move furniture in and out of their homes. The chic alternative to Craigslist was started as an Indiegogo campaign to help reduce the 10.8 million tons of furniture that ends up in landfills every year in 2014, the company saved 605 tons of furniture from going to landfills.
Mr. Holmes Bakehouse
What it is: San Francisco s hottest cruffin bakery.
Why it s cool: Mr. Holmes Bakehouse has taken the cronut one step further and popularized the cruffin a large croissant-donut shaped like a muffin and filled with cr me or jam. This stylish pastry shop starts serving daily special cruffins at 9 a.m. every day and often sells out by noon.
Flavors range from Chocolate Pomegranate and White Chocolate Cheesecake to Earl Grey Truffle and Prickly Pear Matcha. Don t forget to take a photo in front of the store s signature I got baked in San Francisco  sign.
What it is: A dinner party in a box.
Why it s cool: This one-of-a-kind rental service makes it easy for dinner party hosts to throw the soiree of their dreams. Mrs. Peasy herself, Jennine Jacob, is a former NYC style blogger who launched the business in June to help busy people create beautifully designed settings for every occasion.
With more than two dozen party themes to choose from, clients can rent a box filled with everything from cake stands to cutlery for costs ranging from $25 to $600, depending on how many guests they re serving. Mrs. Peasy also offers a $75, one-hour or less set-up and styling fee for any party hosts who want to leave it all to the pros.
Old Bus Tavern
What it is: A brewpub inspired by the owners beloved Volkswagen bus.
Why it s cool: This neighborhood favorite opened in July as a full-service restaurant and steam-fired, four-barrel brewery. In addition to its five in-house brews, Old Bus Tavern has fourteen taps featuring a rotating selection of local craft beers and a small but wide-ranging food menu from bar bites to entr es, many of which include house brewery ingredients.
Thanks to a hugely successful Indiegogo campaign that raised over $23,000 last spring, the crew at Old Bus Tavern is working on retrofitting a VW bus to serve homemade chili and craft beer around San Francisco.
What it is: A social network for Bay Area moms and dads.
Why it s cool: Parenthoods was cofounded in 2014 by two San Francisco-based moms hoping to provide a mobile community for parents to offer stories and advice, plan playdates, find reliable childcare, and even buy or sell things like children s clothing on its iOS app. Parenthoods, which had raised $1.3 million in capital as of March, is largely run out of its app, but it also hosts a blog on its website with original content for local parents. The free app boasts five stars on iTunes and reviewers say it s a great way to feel connected and meet other parents in the community.
The Happy Home Company
What it is: An on-demand landlord for homeowners.
Why it s cool: Subscriptions start at $9.99 a month for this referral service that connects homeowners with quality service providers in their area to help with household tasks, such as plumbing, roofing, and landscaping. The Happy Home Company assigns each client a home manager  an employee who files the client s household task and sources it out to reliable and top-rated professionals to get the job done. Clients who use the app say they re able to get more done around the house with less hassle.
What it is: An old-timey coffeehouse, bar, and event space.
Why it s cool: Located in San Francisco s historic Fort Mason Center, The Interval is home to The Long Now Foundation, an organization that fosters long-term thinking projects. The space is steps from the water with views of Alcatraz and the Golden Gate Bridge, and it serves as a library, coffee and cocktail bar, and museum.
The Interval holds weekly salon talks with authors ( The Martian author Andy Weir made an appearance in October), academics, and artists and is also available to rent for business meetings and friendly gatherings.
What it is: A late-night cocktail and beef-jerky dive.
Why it s cool: Third Rail is the brainchild of Chef Phil West and barkeep Jeff Lyon, a pair of restaurateurs committed to fresh seasonal food and drink.
Third Rail boasts 10 types of dried and cured meats (and even a mushroom vegetarian option), specialty whiskey and jerky pairings, and cocktails adorned with hand-cut ice. For $10, bargoers can enjoy the Rail Shot  an 8-oz. beer, 1-oz. shot of liquor, and half ounce of jerky of their choice.
Sundays by San Franpsycho
What it is: A coffee and ice-cream shop operated by a duo of SF retailers.
Why it s cool: Ten years ago, a pair of California surfers launched San Franpyscho, a clothing and lifestyle brand focused on working with local artists to create community-inspired products. This summer, the San Franpsycho owners opened an ice-cream bar and coffee shop at their Inner Sunset retail store. Sundays serves organic, small-batch, and locally sourced goods and provides a fun place to gather and shop.
What it is: An early-stage wearable tech-apparel company.
Why it s cool: Tinsel is making tech an accessory for women by combining headphones and beautifully designed jewelry. The company s debut product, an audio necklace called The Dipper, is available through its Indiegogo campaign, where they re selling for $150 and will retail for $199 by next spring. Each necklace doubles as a set of headphones complete with a 3.5-mm audio jack concealed beneath a stainless-steel necklace to ensure lightweight comfort and no cord tangling. And when they re not in use, the earbuds fold neatly into the necklace s pendant.
What it is: The city s only indoor mini-golf course and bar-restaurant.
Why it s cool: Urban Putt opened last year in the heart of The Mission. A lively addition to an already robust neighborhood, Urban Putt isn t a kitschy date spot it s an expertly designed, Bay Area-inspired miniature golf course that pairs nicely with a beer or cocktail and refined bar bites.
What it is: An underground bar for gin lovers.
Why it s cool: A trio of award-winning Bay Area restaurateurs are behind Whitechapel, a charming trip back in time filled with vintage artifacts, ornate tile work, and vaulted ceilings meant to replicate the London Underground subway system.
The Victorian-era space, which opened in October, is divided into three areas: a bar, a distillery, and a restaurant whose menu has unique takes on London s favorite pub snacks and entr es. But the main event at Whitechapel is its 370 gins and 100 gin-based cocktails available to order, making it the largest selection of gin in North America.
- ^ 80 Albion St., The Mission (www.ampersandsf.com)
- ^ designs for weddings (www.ampersandsf.com)
- ^ Ampersand s customers praise the shop s owners (www.yelp.com)
- ^ Around SF and (coming soon to) 855 Bush St., Dogpatch (www.delpopolosf.com)
- ^ since 2012 (www.sfgate.com)
- ^ it s adding to the menu (www.facebook.com)
- ^ 121 Spear St., SoMa (www.eatsa.com)
- ^ according to Eatsa s website (www.eatsa.com)
- ^ uses technology to automate its two-step process (www.techinsider.io)
- ^ 541 Octavia St., Hayes Valley (www.gathersf.com)
- ^ a whimsical selection of the best and coolest locally handcrafted (www.gathersf.com)
- ^ hosting monthly events (www.gathersf.com)
- ^ Online, based in San Francisco (www.imperfectproduce.com)
- ^ Food Recovery Network (www.foodrecoverynetwork.org)
- ^ According to Imperfect s website (www.imperfectproduce.com)
- ^ delivered to their home or office (www.techinsider.io)
- ^ 96 Gough St., Hayes Valley (www.kitteasf.com)
- ^ Petco Foundation (www.petco.com)
- ^ be made online (www.kitteasf.com)
- ^ Online, based in the Bay Area (www.milkstork.com)
- ^ Breastfeeding rates are on the rise in the US (fortune.com)
- ^ Milk Stork (www.milkstork.com)
- ^ $99 per day away (www.milkstork.com)
- ^ Online, based in San Francisco (www.moveloot.com)
- ^ saved 605 tons of furniture (www.moveloot.com)
- ^ 1042 Larkin St., Nob Hill (www.mrholmesbakehouse.com)
- ^ daily special cruffins (www.facebook.com)
- ^ I got baked in San Francisco (instagram.com)
- ^ Online, serving San Francisco (mrspeasy.com)
- ^ Jennine Jacob (mrspeasy.com)
- ^ more than two dozen party themes (mrspeasy.com)
- ^ set-up and styling (mrspeasy.com)
- ^ 3193 Mission St., Bernal Heights (www.oldbustavern.com)
- ^ a small but wide-ranging food menu (www.oldbustavern.com)
- ^ Indiegogo campaign (www.indiegogo.com)
- ^ Online, based in San Francisco (parenthoods.co)
- ^ iOS app (itunes.apple.com)
- ^ had raised (www.businessinsider.com)
- ^ hosts a blog (parenthoods.co)
- ^ Online, based in San Francisco (www.thehappyhome.co)
- ^ home manager (www.thehappyhome.co)
- ^ 2 Marina Blvd., Fort Mason (www.google.com)
- ^ The Long Now Foundation (longnow.org)
- ^ available to rent (theinterval.org)
- ^ 628 20th St., Dogpatch (thirdrailbarsf.com)
- ^ Rail Shot (thirdrailbarsf.com)
- ^ 1248 9th Ave., Inner Sunset (sanfranpsycho.com)
- ^ San Franpyscho (sanfranpsycho.com)
- ^ a fun place (vimeo.com)
- ^ Online, based in San Francisco (tinsel.me)
- ^ Indiegogo campaign (www.indiegogo.com)
- ^ 1096 South Van Ness Ave., The Mission (www.urbanputt.com)
- ^ deep-dish pizzas (www.urbanputt.com)
- ^ reserved or rented out (www.urbanputt.com)
- ^ 600 Polk St., Civic Center (whitechapelsf.com)
- ^ London Underground (www.visitlondon.com)
- ^ menu (whitechapelsf.com)
- ^ the largest selection of gin in North America (insidescoopsf.sfgate.com)