Ever since it exploded onto the local dining scene in 2019, Vegan Mob has been one of the most popular restaurants in Oakland—a bright-green, graffiti-bedecked retro barbecue joint known for its rib tips, brisket-stuffed burritos and garlic noodles. Naturally, everything on the menu is vegan.
Now, rapper-turned-chef Toriano Gordon (a.k.a. Don Toriano) is bringing his meat-free adaptations of familiar soul food and barbecue dishes to San Francisco. Vegan Mob’s new food truck is posting up in the Mission six days a week as part of an all-vegan street food hub Gordon has helped set up at 701 Valencia Street—the City Station SF lot, which was already a prime destination for vegan food fans when the popular Filipino-American food truck Señor Sisig set up its new vegan spinoff, Señor Sisig Vegano, there.
Now that the two trucks have teamed up, they’ve created what might be the hottest block on the Bay Area’s vegan food circuit. During Vegan Mob’s March 21 San Francisco debut, Gordon says, the line of customers wrapped all the way around the corner, all day long—notwithstanding the fact that their block on Valencia Street is about three times the length of a typical city block.
Business has stayed about as strong ever since. “We work together,” Gordon says of his collaboration with Señor Sisig co-owner Evan Kidera—a longtime friend from their days in the Bay Area rap scene. And the pair is bringing in other food trucks for guest appearances as well. This past Friday, for instance, Al Papi Pastor, the popular Mexico City-style taco truck, was on hand to dish out a special all-vegan menu: burritos stuffed with nopales and jackfruit al pastor.
For Gordon, launching the food truck was simply the next logical step for his growing business, once he convinced Kidera to sell him one of Señor Sisig’s old trucks. (“I begged him,” Gordon says.) The truck serves a slightly streamlined version of Vegan Mob’s restaurant menu—basically its 10 top sellers, plus Gordon’s newest creation: garlic noodles inspired by his lifelong love of Vietnamese institutions like Thanh Long and Crustacean. Vegan Mob’s garlic noodles don’t have fish sauce, and they’re made with vegan butter and vegan cheese, but Gordon says the noodles have been a runaway hit from the start—especially among his Black customers. “Black people who don’t mess with vegan food come and eat those noodles,” he says.