SAN FRANCISCO, CA — COVID-19 and its accompanying, open-close health mandates have delivered a harsh blow to the restaurant industry, and Old Skool Cafe in San Francisco is no exception. The young adults, who run the non-profit supper club, now are following the lead of other California eateries by offering meals to-go with curbside pick-up.
And for diners who could use some homespun, comfort food — and right now, who couldn't? — the restaurant's takeout offerings deserve a look.
The youth-run restaurant in the Bayview/Hunter's Point neighborhood, which typically features jazz entertainment, routinely earns praise for its success providing job training, employment and, in many cases, a second chance at life for young people, 16 to 22, who are at-risk, formerly incarcerated or in the foster-care system.
Organizers hope swiveling to takeout-based service of the youths' favorite family recipes will see the establishment through these tough times.
Among menu selections this week, and available only for a limited time, is Maria's Chicken Pozole for $10. Old Skool Cook Isaac Bautista uses his mother's family recipe and prepares the classic Mexican dish with chicken and traditional hominy, topped with crisp shredded cabbage, crunchy radishes and jalapenos.
Another menu option: Abu's Peanut Butter Stew Cup, made with peanut butter, fresh vegetables, spices, coconut milk and sweet potatoes in an African stew with sliced cherry tomatoes over rice. It is available as a vegan version, or grilled chicken or blackened shrimp can be added.
Family-size meals also can be purchased with servings for two with two entrees and two sides (either collard greens, mac-and-cheese, a brownie or lavender cheese compote with blueberries), or a four-serving dinner with four entrees and four sides.
See the to-go menu here. (If this week's item, Maria's Chicken Pozole, is not posted on the site, those interested should call to place an order.)
The cafe's meals are available Thursdays through Saturdays from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. Orders can be placed online or by calling 415-822-8531. Inquiries also can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Youth operators hope to add delivery service and outdoor, patio dining, depending on the state's health-related regulations.
Old Skool Cafe is located at 1429 Mendell St. in San Francisco.
To see the back story of Old Skool's Bautista and his mom's pozole, view the video below, courtesy of John Murillo/Old Skool Cafe.