The line leading to Leo's Hot Dogs. Photo by Jamie Goldberg.

Martha Gausman drove all the way to San Francisco from her home in Modesto for the San Francisco Street Food Festival, and she wasn’t about to let the long lines that snaked along Folsom Street prevent her from trying her favorite dishes.

Standing at the end of a long line for a bacon-wrapped hot dog from Leo’s Hot Dogs, Gausman was undeterred. “It’s wrapped in bacon — bacon, bacon, bacon,” she said cheerfully.

But Gausman’s line was no match for those at the most popular booths, which extended so far from the counters that it was hard to tell which line led to what meal. At Swamp Shack, Cynthia Altamirano and Kevin Henry, who both moved to the Bay Area from the Midwest, were happy to wait in line for crawfish balls.

“The line is worth it because it’s so hard to get crawfish here in San Francisco,” Altamirano said. “And this is such an unusual dish — I’ve never had crawfish balls!”

At Zella’s Soul Food, Maggie Brezinski and Shaina Daswani said the long line gave them a break “from all the eating,” and a chance to chat and sip coffee while they waited. Plus, “it’s a long line so the food has to be good,” Brezinski said.

Rick Mooney, who drove from Redding to attend the festival, agreed. “It’s part of the fun,” he said. “The lines give you a chance to people-watch and take photos.”

Mooney stood in one of the longest lines on Folsom Street, for some cuisine from Chiefo’s Kitchen. He had read about the restaurant and wasn’t about to leave the festival without a taste.

But some lines just weren’t worth the wait. Shai Morris and her friend Gordan couldn’t wait it out for crepes from Delicioso Creperie.

“We’re going to bail,” Gordan said. “We haven’t moved in three minutes.”

After getting his fill of spicy food, Mission District resident Gary Hobison stood in line for ice cream at Three Twins. Though some of the longer lines had been a deterrent for Hobison, he said they moved faster than he expected.

“If it’s food I like, I’ll brave it,” he said.

Jamie Goldberg

Before crossing the Golden Gate Bridge from the suburbs, Jamie Goldberg was a softball player with a passion for sports reporting. Politics drive her crazy. But on trips down Mission streets, the ones...

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    1. LOL, agree.

      This festival is a mystery to me. Extremely unpleasant to be stuck on Folsom in a sea of people, unable to move and standing in lines for food we can get normally for much less hassle. Long lines for bacon hotdogs? good god, walk down Mission on any given day and you’ll pass a bacon hotdog cart every three feet.

  1. I am so sick of these festivals, i can’t tell you. It means drunken hipsters rolling through the neighborhood for hours, open container drinking. Not something that enhances my enjoyment of the Mission, you know?

      1. If not wanting to stand in line for long periods of time for food to be eaten standing up, while surrounded by people I don’t want to know is is dull and ordinary, let me have it any day.

  2. Haters gonna hate. this takes place in front of my house, is a total inconvenience, but I think its great. La Cocina totally stepped it up this year and the set up and clean up were terrific. There were lines, but they moved fast, everyone was friendly, and I tried some delicious new things. Thanks La Cocina!

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