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Frank Grizzly’s is Serving Excellent Cali-Mex Food in the Bayview

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By Bunny McFadden

There was a ton of press around Anchor Brewing closing their entire operation – including their taproom – a few months ago, but where has that in-house kitchen that made ambrosian quesabirria tacos landed? We caught up with Frank Grizzly’s chef-owners Kim Truong and Jorge Islas to see what’s cooking now that they’ve had a chance to settle into their new location in the Bayview.

Longtime fans might recall that Frank Grizzly’s started as a pop up at Anchor Steam Tap Room during the weekly trivia nights. They found that their dishes like fresh vegetable-based molcajete with cauliflower and green beans hit the perfect note for fans of Cali-Mex food. And partnering with Anchor Steam made it a symbiotic relationship. “They were always extremely transparent and supportive of our business,” says Truong. And then, to everyone’s devastation, the longest servers of steam beer went suddenly and drastically under. Because of their relationship with the brewery, Truong and Islas got a little advanced warning that something was amiss. “It wasn’t like the rug got pulled out from under us, but it did happen a lot faster than anyone expected.”

(Broke-Ass Stuart made the below reel about Frank Grizzly’s and Anchor before the brewery closed)


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Like many San Franciscans, Frank Grizzly’s has had to weather significant upheaval. “Everything’s stacked against you” here, says Truong. The City’s recovery has been slower than other places, and longtime anchors are dropping like flies. Some corporate closings are predictable, if a bummer, but others hurt deeper. “It’s sad to see because San Francisco’s heartbeat is small businesses.”

Kim Truong and Jorge Islas, co-owners of Frank Grizzly’s. Photo from Frank Grizzly’s

It was a stroke of luck that within two weeks of the brewery’s closure announcement, Frank Grizzly’s learned of an opening at the old shared kitchen space run by Bayview Makers’ Kitchen. “That just doesn’t happen in the food world… So we’re constantly trying to give back for all the goodness that’s come from it.”

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The restaurant’s longtime customers followed from Anchor, but business has also been steadily growing, largely because of eastside neighbors coming in to check it out. The Bayview “doesn’t get a whole lot of representation” in the food scene. And the foot traffic isn’t traditional, so other restaurants might be scared of opening up shop. But Islas says, “The Bayview community has really stepped up.”

Truong and Islas are full of charming anecdotes about longtime customers who go out of their way to find the new location. They tell me about two sweet loyal fans who visited during those final, hectic days as Anchor Brewing went under. Truong remembers telling them, “You gotta come find us. We’re going to be in the Bayview.” The fans went up and down 3rd Street, finally finding Frank Grizzly’s by the bear sign out front – just after the restaurant had closed for the night. The staff fired their kitchen equipment back up and made something special. “It was the cutest thing ever. She’s one of our elders, you know,” Truong reflects. They say this kind of thing happens all the time in the Bayview.

Mmmm….Photo from Frank Grizzly’s

Their advice for pop-ups with uncertain futures is to remember that it’s not about the hype or how many likes you get on social media from people behind keyboards. It’s about making everyone feel special so they come back. “The first few months,” Islas says about the early days after the lockdowns eased up, “every business was giving the most amazing service cuz everyone’s risking their lives.” Now, he says, the quality of service has dipped and the mood is low. “People are starting to be rude. Be kind to the people who are coming to your business.” No matter how good the food is, it’s the relationships that leave lasting impressions and get people coming back. “Take care of your community,” Truong advises. “Treat them like family, cuz they’re the ones who are supporting your small business.”

And as for the future? “We’re going to hold it down for as long as we can here in the Bayview,” says Truong. They’ve made lasting connections with their neighborhood, and that community mindset is exactly how Frank Grizzly’s is making it work. They’ll be slinging tacos at the upcoming annual Hot Glass, Cold Beer event on April 6th. “They’re our neighbors! They’re a block away, and they do a lot for the community.” That’s how they found out about the event, which offers visitors a chance to check out local glass blowers and get local beer– this time from Standard Deviant, a brewery that’s managed to stay afloat. By connecting with other businesses, Frank Grizzly’s is staying viable and relevant. And Truong and Islas are all about paying it back, constantly shouting out other local businesses and even other restaurants on social media. You can feel their love for their community as soon as you walk in their 3rd Street location.

“I feel like the city’s waking up again,” says Truong. “It’s springtime, everything’s blooming, and that’s true for all of us businesses.”

Bunny McFadden is a writer who lives in San Francisco (and in the hearts of bookworms and taco lovers everywhere). You can find more from Bunny on Instagram at @bunny.the.doc or on their website at

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