Lunch is poised for its comeback. Scrappy little grab-and-go operations are popping up throughout the city—beginning with Kitchenette, which made midday loading-dock-dining chic, continuing with Little Skillet, which brough waffles and fried chicken to the downtown masses, and now firmly assuming trend status with Pals Takeaway, hidden within Tony's Market on 24th and Hampshire.
This operation, from the looks of it, is little more than a deli counter inside of a Kwik-E-Mart. But the owner and executive chef of Pals, Jeff Mason and David Knopf, are preparing a very limited daily-changing selection of sandwiches (usually four daily) with ingredients sourced from the same farms and ranchers that the fancy SF restaurants use, along with foraged fruits, herbs from their own gardens and homemade pickles and jams. In other words, what they slap between two slices of (Acme) bread has something of a pedigree, be it Dirty Girl or Marin Sun. There is always a PB&J on the menu, but other sandwiches run the gambit from roast beef with caramelized onions and Vermont cheddar to turkey with heirloom tomatoes. A side dish (such as slaw or another vegetable salad) is often on the menu. Like their competitors, Pals also announces the day's offerings on Twitter (@palstakeaway).
Should you think the sandwich business sounds like an easy way to make some dough on the side, Mason is quick to dispell the myth. "It's not that easy to come up with things to put between two slices of bread." Pals Takeaway, 2751 24th Street (at Hampshire), 415-203-4911. Open Tuesday through Saturday, 11:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m..