FiDi Lunch

Few people actually live in San Francisco’s Financial District; most, like me, just work there.

The whole neighborhood, if a place without true residents can truly be called a neighborhood, is totally focused on the work force. Most businesses are open only Monday through Friday. There are lots of banks and coffee shops, but few of the hardware stores and produce markets that are mainstays in most other areas of San Francisco.


A few restaurants stay open for dinner, relying on business travelers to fill tables, but lunch is the big meal downtown. Every block is peppered with lunch places that are packed at noon and closed by 3pm. There are many lunch options, but most are fairly crummy and almost anything will get old when eaten on a daily or weekly basis.

Only a handful of places downtown (Mixt Greens, Boxed Foods Company, and Sellers Market) use decent ingredients or even bother to change their menu seasonally, so I often end up walking down to the Ferry Building for better lunch options, like the new, super delicious Cane Rosso.

But as the lines at the new Thursday street food vendors at the Ferry Building show, there’s still a desire for new lunch options downtown. The work force is always hungry for something else and Boccolone, a cured meats purveyor in the Ferry Building, has one solution: a sandwich delivered to the Financial District on their ‘Salumi Cycle’.


That’s right: I can get a panini made with certified humane meat delivered just a few blocks from work on a bike (and I find out where the Salumi Cycle will be on Twitter). Only in San Francisco, right?

The Salumi Cycle conveniently tends to drop off sandwiches near downtown San Francisco’s many public spaces — providing both food and a place to eat to the needy FiDi masses.

In its 1985 ‘Downtown Plan’, San Francisco required that public space be included in any new commercial development so many downtown buildings now have a roof decks or a patios or courtyards available to all, but mostly populated (especially at lunch time) by the FiDi crowd.


Unfortunately, not all buildings make their public space known or easy to get to. (I’m talking to you Orchard Garden Hotel. I know you have a public terrace,that you rarely provide elevator access to, and yes, I’ve learned to take the one working elevator and take the stairs the rest of the way). SPUR, thankfully, provides a list and a map.

It’s a god-send to have a somewhere outside the office to eat or read or think. It’s depressing to eat at my desk and while my office has a kitchen, I avoid it. I’m not willing to interact with my coworkers on my lunch break.

If the weather’s nice and the Salumi Cycle is nearby, I like heading up to the public space at 343 Sansome (shown above). It’s a public terrace on the 15th floor, with half devoted to icky smokers, but the other half is all fellow lunchers.

There are views down Sansome street and between the buildings, you can catch sight of the Bay. Down below, the cars, buses and taxis and the people hurrying through the streets all look tiny. And work feels far away.


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