Smashed tater-tots with caramelized onions in the “Brekkie” breakfast sandwich, kobe beef with thick bacon in a “Bad Mofo” burger, a panko-crusted fried chicken sandwich served with wasabi — these and more are now on the menu at Bandit, the burger and breakfast-sandwich joint that has just opened a location in the Mission.
The sandwich shop, already established in the Tenderloin and Dogpatch, opened its third location this past weekend at 499 Dolores St., a literal stone’s throw from Dolores Park — and employees said the spot already has repeat customers.
“We’ve only been open for three days, and we already have regulars,” said Lanaya Hawkins, taking orders behind the counter. Hawkins, who works at Bandit’s Mission and Dogpatch locations, said she could not be sure how many people attended a soft opening on Sunday, but that the crowd was “non-stop.”
Decorated with white paint and bright yellow windows, Bandit sits on the corner of 18th and Dolores streets, kitty-corner from Dolores Park and next to Bi-Rite Creamery. The corner spot previously housed Korean restaurant Namu Gaji and, more recently, Namu Stonepot, a more casual spinoff, which closed in 2021.
It has sat vacant since, a prime spot for the weekend Dolores Park park-goers, who often line up around the block for Bi-Rite ice cream and flock to nearby liquor stores for deli sandwiches.
Andrea Fogelbach, owner of Bandit, had her very first apartment in San Francisco between 18th and 19th streets. Now, bringing her own business back to the Mission feels like a full circle, she said.
“It’s just surreal,” Fogelbach said. “It’s such a dream, coming from a small hole-in-the-wall place in the Tenderloin.”
Fogelbach said she aims to make the restaurant both a space where people can sit and stay, and a grab-and-go spot before heading to Dolores Park.
“We try to make the place beautiful with a little pop of color, so it’s nice to sit and enjoy, while also not taking away from the main star, which is the park,” she said.
Dolores Park was an attraction for patrons on Tuesday, as they sat at a windowside bar table, listening to the sizzle of the grill as they looked out onto the park.
Charlie Zhang, visiting San Francisco from Sacramento, stumbled upon Bandit on the way to the park.
Her seven-year-old boy was visibly happy with his chicken sandwich, the “Deviant,” pulling the muenster cheese apart like noodles. He was even happier that Bandit is next door to Bi-Rite Creamery, so dessert is covered.
“I would come back. I want to take my husband here, too,” said Zhang.
Nundu and Jamila Janakiram, who live nearby, said they were excited to bring their three-year-old to try the Little Bandit, a kids’ drink of steamed milk with hints of vanilla and cocoa powder.
The couple said they often order sandwiches from Dolores Park Cafe across the street to picnic in the park, and are happy to have another option.
James Bair, 61, lives on Linda Street, one and a half blocks away. His neighbor had told him about the opening, and he came during his work-from-home lunch break.
“They said the corner finally opened up,” he said, over a box of Forbidden Greens salad with grilled salmon, pointing out that it has sat empty since 2021. “Everyone knows about ‘the corner.’”
“We need more of these places,” Bair added, saying Bandit would be more affordable than the upscale Korean restaurant previously on the spot. “This is approachable, financially, and it has good atmosphere.”
Fogelbach said she would offer a special 10-percent discount for teachers — Bandit is within walking distance of several schools — as well as discounts for other food-service workers.
“The neighborhood deserves it,” she said. “We work so hard.”
Bandit is open from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily during its first week but will expand its hours till 5 p.m. soon after.