This Small Business Saturday, the SmartBiz team is sharing our top picks for the local gems in our cities. From eateries to art studios to boutiques, here are some of our favorite small businesses in the city that we’re supporting in November.
Food and Restaurants
Whether we’re on a lunch break or grabbing dinner after work, here’s where you’ll find us.
1. Sai’s Vietnamese Restaurant
Starting off in the Financial District, home to the SmartBiz SF office, our team loves visiting Sai’s Vietnamese Restaurant for a delicious lunch break. From curries to banh mi to everything in between, here’s why the local eatery stands out from the crowd:
“Family-run restaurant serving authentic Vietnamese food. Ambiance is very welcoming and comfortable. A good spot for meeting up with friends, a family get-together, or treating yourself to a quick bite.”
2. House of Nanking
Just a few blocks away in Chinatown, House of Nanking is another SmartBiz favorite. Even though it’s known for its long lines, we think it’s worth beating the rush hour crowds for a plate (or two) of potstickers, dumplings, noodles, or any of the delicious entrées on the menu. Don’t just take our word for it, here’s what another fan had to say:
“This was one of the best Chinese meals I've ever had. Everything was great: the food, the service and the vibe of the place. I wish I lived closer just to have those egg rolls again!”
3. Cheese Plus
Take a stroll over to Nob Hill and you’ll find Cheese Plus, one of our go-to locations for sandwiches and (you guessed it) cheese galore. The neighborhood market has a wide selection of artisan cheeses, charcuterie, specialty foods, condiments, and more. Stop by the café for their famous sandwiches made fresh to order.
“Out-of-this-world hot sandwiches. Went for the first time yesterday, and tried the Potrero Hill and Willie Brown Bird. Insane goodness on best hot pressed Dutch Crunch. New go-to sandwich joint in the city.”
4. Mitchell's Ice Cream
Dessert is the best way to end a foodie adventure, which is why family-owned Mitchell's Ice Cream in Bernal Heights is a must for the sweet tooth. Their unique range of flavors has come a long way since the business opened in 1953, and the Mitchells have continued adding innovative items to their menu while staying committed to the highest quality ingredients.
“I'm crazy about ice cream, but honestly, never thought it could get any better.
At Mitchell's it can.
Their ice creams taste fresh, natural (no artificial flavors), and extremely delicious. Mango is a big winner and worth trying. Highly recommend it!”
You can’t go wrong with a neighborhood coffee shop. Here’s what we’re loving in the city.
1. Beacon Coffee & Pantry
Here at SmartBiz, we’re serious about our coffee. That’s why Beacon Coffee & Pantry is one of our top picks in the area for a caffeine boost. They’ve got it all: friendly staff, fresh brews, and a great selection of pastries, sandwiches, and salads. Not only that, but the ambiance really sets Beacon apart. You’ll find a spacious area with plenty of outlets and speedy WiFi—perfect for casual meetings and work-from-home days.
“Found this coffee shop just as we were driving through the city - and it was a cool spot for great coffee. Ordered the vanilla latte and soy chai latte and was very impressed. And of course my Portuguese family and I raved over their bread and prosciutto sandwich. Still can't stop talking about it a day later!!”
Just a few blocks away, in Nob Hill, Nook is a great stop to relax with an espresso, grab lunch, or stop by for a glass of wine after work. With outdoor seating, you can make the most of sunny SF days while you enjoy the warm atmosphere.
“A true neighborhood gem... a go-to spot for neighborhood locals to eat, drink, study and work. I love this spot and hope it stays for as long as I live in San Francisco”
3. Andytown Coffee Roasters
Down in the Outer Sunset, Andytown Coffee Roasters has become a staple of the SF community. Their unique drinks (especially the Snowy Plovers), freshly baked pastries, and fun décor keep coffee lovers coming back.
“Andytown is [definitely] a gem of a coffeeshop in SF. Their location in Outer Sunset is bright and airy with a relaxed ambiance.”
Art, Fashion, Books, and More
When it comes to shopping, we’re regulars at these local studios, stores, and boutiques.
1. Therapy Stores
Therapy Stores were “born under the Golden Gate” in 1994 and have now expanded into various locations in the Bay Area as well as to Portland, Oregon! At the nearby North Beach locations, we love discovering the truly one-of-a-kind products the family-owned business has to offer. From earrings to vintage furniture to books to everything in between, you can spend hours roaming around the store, picking up quirky items along the way.
“I feel so lucky to live so close to such an awesome Therapy store! Therapy is my go-to whenever I need a gift or a cute outfit. They have the best selection of unique trendy jewelry. They have tons of San Francisco knick knacks and home decor. They're also super accommodating. If they don't have something in stock, they'll check their other locations for you. Thank you Therapy for being so great!”
2. Green Apple Books
The Inner Richmond is home to some of our favorite local staples. Starting off at Green Apple Books, you’ll find a wide collection of new and used books, records, magazines, and more. But the best part is the community built up over more than 50 years—the book clubs, events, and staff recommendations make finding new reads exciting.
“I've been coming here since 2012. A great spot to peruse the latest releases for a leisurely read as well as scout out classics for university assignments. I always check here before checking online. I love getting some tea and flipping through all the gently used book bins in the front. I've found everything from juicy YA fiction to coffee table fashion dictionaries. A true SF gem!”
3. Soapbox Cleaners
When it comes to outstanding customer service, Soapbox Cleaners takes the cake. We love the personal attention, the quality, and the dedication that the SF-based business offers. Just like they claim on their website, they’ll remember you by name and follow through on your order.
“10 years later and still the best cleaning service for your clothes. Jon, the owner is amazing and so very kind. My wash and fold was easy to schedule and drop off was within the same day! They really go out of the way to accommodate their customers. My wash and fold was meticulously folded like they do at department stores. Getting nice cleaned, folded laundry is like unwrapping gifts on Christmas morning. Soapbox is the absolute best! P.S location is on Geary and parking is so easy! Jon will also remember your name every time you drop off.”
4. 3 Fish Studios
If you’re looking for some California-themed artwork while you’re visiting Ocean Beach, head over to 3 Fish Studios in the Outer Sunset to visit a truly unique gallery and workshop. You’ll find prints, tote bags, magnets, postcards, and more—and the best part is that they’re all created by local SF Bay Area artists, including founders Eric and Annie.
“The iconic 3 Fish Studios! If you have seen a print of a bear hugging a state with gorgeous foliage in the background, it most likely came from 3 Fish Studios. Eric and Annie are the husband-and-wife dynamic duo behind this amazing art studio and retail store. Their art is iconic and has been featured in numerous magazines (including Time). They are so down-to-earth and (their staff included) are always ready to offer a warm cup of tea and explanations behind their art. This is my go-to place for gifts, and it's definitely worth the trip to the outer reaches of the Outer Sunset. The studio itself is homey and bright. If the backyard is open, check out the amazing California-shaped table! We're so lucky to have this great shop in the neighborhood.”
For more Small Business Saturday shopping recommendations, head to the SmartBiz Small Business Blog. Support your local small businesses this holiday season and all year round!