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The SF Work From Home Lunch Guide

PHOTO: Krescent Carasso

Unless you’re a brain surgeon or a pilot, working from home is pretty accessible these days thanks to high speed internet, the cloud, and managers who are more desperate to keep you happy than stepparents in a mid-90s sitcom. And working remotely has great benefits, including the potential freedom to take a longer lunch than usual or escape cobbling together a meal from the cheese sticks and pita chips in the break room. Here are some of our favorite spots around the city to get lunch when you’re taking all your calls from your “home office.”

The Spots

Someone keeps flying drones outside your office window and you’ve convinced your boss that this isn’t good for your witness protection status - you need to work from home in case the drone is looking for you. Stop by Molinari after you leave the office, get a sandwich piled high with Italian meats and cheeses, and revel in the insanity that you got away with that excuse while you eat your lunch doused in basil garlic spread.

If you’re working from home in the afternoon, but started work your day in the FiDi or SoMa, take your sweet time getting from A to B and stop at Oren’s Hummus for a long lunch. Get some lamb hummus as you listen to the execs around you talking about cross-departmental synergy and figure out how to impress them come annual review-time.

Photo: Tai Kerbs

Cordon Bleu

Nob Hill
1574 California St
7.2
MAP

Salad places can smell high-rise office buildings when they’re still in the design phase, and can make finding cheap options during lunch tough. But when you’re working from home, there are usually more affordable options around you. If you live in Nob Hill, Cordon Bleu is one of those options. Lunch specials at this counter-style Vietnamese place are less than $8, or you can get half a five-spice roasted chicken for $8.25 that will cover you for lunch and dinner.

You finished all your reports and requested to work from home tomorrow knowing well that the closest to “working” you’d be doing is putting on a button down to reenact your favorite scene from Risky Business. While you’re sliding across your living room in white tube socks, a glimmer of sunlight hits you and reminds you that the outside world exists. Put on some pants and go to lunch at Farmhouse Kitchen. The Thai food here is great, from classics like pad Thai to their take on fried chicken, and the servers are some of the few people that can match the enthusiasm you had singing Bob Seger earlier.

Photo: Krescent Carasso

If you’re the kind of person who gets sauce on your shirt even though you didn’t eat any sauce, then working from home is a huge opportunity for you - you can get as intentionally messy as you want without the risk of embarrassing yourself in front of coworkers. For this, there is no better option than wings, and the ones at Hot Sauce and Panko in Russian Hill are great. We like the Korean wings, but if you’re feeling extra fancy, they have things like duck confit, too.

Photo: Sarah Park
8.3
MAP

At Hong Kong Lounge II, you can take a long lunch from your home office and pretend you’re meeting with three people by eating enough dim sum for a table of four. The pork buns are some of our favorites in the city, and Clement Street is nowhere close to the FiDi where anyone from work could spot you like if you were in Chinatown.

8.2
MAP

Your doctor’s appointment went pretty fast, and now you’ve got time to unwind a bit. Jane on Fillmore has awesome sandwiches, salads, and pastries in a space with high ceilings and a social buzz that feels cool enough to be a good hangout spot. If you actually need to fire off a few emails between bites, the WiFi here is pretty solid too, but your sandwich will disappear and you’ll eventually realize that maybe you should actually work from home when you’re working from home.

Photo: Virginia Mae Rollison
MAP

This place has a lot of vegetarian and vegan options, and we’re partial to the smoky eggplant and crispy catfish sandwiches. Whatever you do, make sure you get the sweet potato fries with red curry sauce. The best part about working from home is that you won’t have to share them with anyone.

Tartine Bakery

Mission
600 Guerrero St.
8.7
MAP

Working from home kind of feels like when you got to skip school as a kid, which means you might as well eat a grilled cheese sandwich. Tartine Bakery makes the grown-up version of the classic, and since you’re on your own schedule today, you have the time to wait in line at one of the best bakeries in town. It also gives you a chance to browse the other pastries you’re going to buy for the walk home.

Toma

Marina
3318 Steiner St.
7.9
MAP

Toma is pretty small, so we like to think of it as a secret spot in the Marina, but even if it was gigantic, we’d still come here for chicken tacos all the time. And if “work” from home means that you won’t really be doing anything, get the breakfast burrito - you’ll be taking a nap afterwards.

The Plant

3352 Steiner St
MAP

You forgot that you still need to swing into the FiDi for a lunch meeting, but you want to spend as little time there as possible so you can get back to your sweatpants. Go to The Plant. They have a bunch of tables and a bar, which makes it pretty easy to get in and out quickly. Get the dino kale salad while you remember to think further ahead next time.

Photo: Spencer Cotton
7.5
MAP

Get grilled salmon as an add-on, it rules. The arugula and fattoush salads are always winners, and if you’re going sandwich-style, the Kickin’ Chicken is your best bet.

Photo: Krescent Carasso

The Grove

2016 Fillmore St
MAP

We’re all about the order-at-the-counter, get-served-at-your-table set up – nice and chill. Plus, the Grove has breakfast all day, so you can get your avocado and egg toast fix whenever your heart desires.

Darwin Cafe

212 Ritch St
MAP

If you need to get away from your home office, head to Darwin Cafe in Mission Bay and get a sandwich to go. This place fill up pretty fast, and instead of waiting for a table to open up, you can take your sandwich and sit in the sun. When you want a lunch that will include leftovers, get the kale salad - it’s monstrous.

At Cheese Plus, you can get all of the meats and cheeses that they offer as charcuterie in sandwich form, too. We like the Willie Brown Bird with duck on Dutch crunch, but there are tons of options to choose from. While you wait, browse types of cheese for your next dinner party - the people behind the counter are super knowledgeable and friendly.

SOMA StrEat Food Park

428 11th St
MAP

If you are very, very loose on your definition of “working” from home, hit up SOMA Streats for a mini food tour and some afternoon beers. Trucks rotate daily, and you’ll pretty much never be disappointed.

Deli Board

Soma
1058 Folsom St.
8.2
MAP

You have a friend visiting, so you’re taking calls from your apartment today. Bring them to Deli Board for lunch - partially because you’re working from home so why not, but mostly because the sandwiches are massive and should probably not be consumed by a single person.

If working from home for you involves a stroll around the Mission searching for your next burrito, Taqueria El Buen Sabor is a solid bet. They have vegetarian options if you gave up meat over the weekend and their guacamole is top notch.

Souvla

Hayes Valley
517 Hayes St.
8.4
MAP

Working from home can be a great destressor, but if your full-time, work-from-home roommate is experimenting with home brewing while also getting into exhibitionism, you may need a break from your apartment. Even though there’s usually a line, go to Souvla and get the chicken salad. If you have time afterwards, eat some frozen yogurt while you walk around the park in Hayes Valley, weighing in your mind if you should be thinking more about work or finding new roommates.

Mission Picnic

3275 22nd St
MAP

A solid kale caesar and surprisingly good vegan sandwiches. Bring a picnic basket or shopping cart, load it up, wander home shouting/gesticulating, and blend in with everyone else on the streets of SF at 12:30 on a weekday. Fun activity when you get bored of Excel/want to live on the edge.

Arlequin

Hayes Valley
384 Hayes St.
7.7
MAP

Arlequin has many things going for it. It’s attached to a wine shop, has a huge back patio/garden, and the sandwiches, soups, and salads are excellent. You can eat there or grab-and-go, but either way you should get the veggie sandwich.

7.4
MAP

The office is always scheduling “voluntary” Happy Hours and your other free time is for staying in touch with friends who don’t pick up their checks from the same company. Working from home can be the rare opportunity to take yourself on a date. Domo Sushi is one of our favorite casual sushi spots and it’s perfect for this. They have a $15 lunch deal with miso soup, a salad, and your choice of various sushi options. Eat some raw fish while you enjoy not having anyone buzz in your ear for once.

The Lunchpad is inside a bar, but you’re not going to a bar on a workday - you’re going to the pop-up restaurant inside the bar. It’s totally different and it’s justified because The Lunchpad makes awesome sandwiches. Get the Turkey Drizzle or Chicken Lil’.

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