Exactly a year ago we found ourselves frazzled, exhausted, and elbow deep in grated cheese.
We were preparing for our first huge mobile food event, the Eat Real Festival, using our meager home equipment and a posse of our dedicated friends to grate 400 pounds of cheese and boil hundreds of pounds of pasta. First Allison’s food processor broke. Then Erin’s. In the wee hours leading up to the festival we began grating cheese by hand on our home box graters. Testing our wills, upper arm strength, and the devotion of our friends and family, we vowed we would never
do an event like it again. Yet here we are—going to Eat Real again in two weeks.
A lot of people don’t know that Homeroom got its start at mobile food events. While we were building out the restaurant, we would dish up mac and cheese to enthusiastic lines at the SF and Oakland Underground Markets, the Pop Up General
Store, and the Eat Real Festival. We wanted people to enjoy our food and get them excited about the restaurant. We really enjoyed these events, but with all the logistics involved in bringing food to the masses, we thought that when Homeroom
opened that we’d prefer to bring the masses to the food. We never anticipated that we’d do mobile food events ever again.
A few months ago, our friends at the American Grilled Cheese Kitchen told us that the Outside Lands Music Festival was looking for additional food vendors, and they thought we’d be a good fit. Although we knew the kind of madness that would be involved, realized that we’d make no money due to the percentage of earnings that the Festival keeps, and were already severely overworked and sleep-deprived, we decided to do it anyway.
We love owning a restaurant, but something that remains unique to the increasingly popular mobile food movement is the kind of direct involvement you have with people at a special time and place. At the restaurant, we can’t be the cook, cashier, and server all at once. But at a mobile food event, that’s exactly what you are. You get to cook the food, look the person in the eye that you’ve made it for, and watch their expression as they take the first bite. At Outside Lands we were high off the excitement in the air and the fabulous music constantly blaring from the main stage. We were particularly giddy when the promoters from Arcade Fire came by specifically to pick up our mac for the band.
And we made it through 800 pounds of cheese without breaking our grater. Currently, we’re gearing up for the Eat Real Festival, where thousands of folks will come out to celebrate local and sustainable food. There will be food trucks and diy demonstrations galore, and we hope we’ll be able to sneak away for a few minutes to take it all in.
We’re excited that instead of abandoning our roots in the mobile food movement, we’re able to retain them and be parts of special events and communities outside the restaurant. We hope that you’ll come to visit us at Eat Real, or tell us
about events that you’d like to see Homeroom at in the future.
If you saw us at Outside Lands or any of our previous mobile food events, please leave a comment and say hi!