As you should know by now, 15 years in, Outside Lands is known as much for its food and beverage experiences as it is for the music. And this year’s festival will be no exception, with delicious bites — some of them pretty high-end for the price — and tons of great beer, wine, and cocktails too.
One person can never really get a full sampling of the food and drinks on offer at any given three-day stretch of Outside Lands — there’s simply not enough time or stomach space, especially if you’re trying to hear some music at all. So, it’s best to strategize, and consider the early-afternoon hours on Saturday and Sunday as especially prime times to take a foodie tour of the place and put down a good base-layer if you’re planning to drink.
Some favorites from the past couple of years will be back — including Nyum Bai, which doesn’t not currently have a brick-and-mortar after chef Nite Yun closed the tiny Cambodian restaurant in May 2022; Daytrip will be back with heir yummy eggplant parm and spicy pork butt sandwiches; and Sorrel will again be serving their excellent fried-chicken sandos.
But below are some more things to add to your list — and the Outside Lands app does allow you to add things to a “My Menu” section so you can make sure not to forget when you’re a few drinks and/or milligrams of THC deep.
A standout from last year’s Outside Lands was the delectable, spot-on, New Orleans-style muffuletta from Sandy’s. The place now has a brick-and-mortar in the Upper Haight — recently the subject of an unfortunate crime story — but in case you haven’t made it there yet and you’re headed to the park this week, Sandy’s will be out on the Polo Field again serving up wedges of their regular and vegetarian muffulettas. And don’t sleep on their chocolate chip cookies either.
Piglet & Co.
The Taiwan Dog from Piglet & Co. — the folks who, at last year’s festival were still going under their pop-up name El Chino Grande — is a must-try, festival-friendly snack from this new, Taiwanese night-market-inspired restaurant in the Mission. It’s an all-beef dog slathered in toppings like furikake, pickled mustard seeds, and Kewpie mayo, and it’ll definitely get you through the next set. (Coachella-goers may have seen these there as well.)
La Cocina Taco Tour
This year, the fine foodies of La Cocina are offering up a curated “taco tour” all at one stall. The nonprofit incubator for women’s food businesses will be selling a Taco Cubano ($6), a Peruvian shrimp ceviche taco ($7), a vegan crispy mushroom taco ($7), and a “taco tour” plate where you’ll get one of each for $20. They’re also slinging yucca fries, agua frescas, and vegan poblano mac and cheese.
The top-notch smashburgers from Smish Smash — which is still a pop-up that fans chase around to various brewery appearances — will be available again at Outside Lands and you really need to try one if you haven’t. The crispy-edged, thin beef patties covering in gooey cheese and special sauce are the stuff dreams are made of, and perfect for stuffing your face when you’re in a rush — so long as the line isn’t too long.
Obviously, Horn BBQ is no secret at this point, but for those of us who don’t get over to Oakland often enough to eat Chef Matt Horn’s carnivorous delights, he’ll be slinging his drool-worthy brisket chopped cheese sandwiches — a sort of New York version of a Philly cheesesteak that’s more like a Sloppy Joe, for the uninitiated — which have only been available out of Horn’s “R&D” food truck parked on the back patio of the restaurant at certain times. Additionally, he’ll be selling burnt-end sandwiches and “dirty fries.”
Shuggie’s Trash Pie & Natural Wine
They won’t be able to serve you wine — the alcohol is all highly regulated at the fest and wine is confined to the beverage areas only — but Shuggie’s will be on hand for the first time at this Outside Lands serving up grandma-style pizzas made with upcycled ingredients. On offer will be their “Bobo’s the Pep” pepperoni pizza, their Cheddah & Feta pie, a regular cheese pizza, and the Sausage Party pizza.
Whether you beat the crowds and get to the park early and haven’t had your coffee yet, or you’re just wanting doughnuts for dessert, San Rafael- and SF-based Johnny Doughnuts will be out there slinging coffee drinks, cold brews, affogatos, and their excellent doughnuts all weekend — including their maple, vanilla, and chocolate old fashioneds, and a wheat-free maple zebra doughnut.
Grey Whale Gin
Sonoma County-based Golden State Distillery, founded by husband-and-wife team Marsh and Jan Mokhtari, will again be bringing their cute, tricked-out camper van setup and Grey Whale gin cocktails to the far side of the Polo Field — including a frozen option called the Whale Hello There, with lemon and lime juice. Their setup also includes an immersive, meditative video installation of ocean waters highlighting their commitment to sustainability and nature conservation.
Honorable mention: Anchor Brewing
Anchor Brewing stopped brewing beer and shuttered its taproom a week ago, but they’re still listed as participating in Beer Lands — and usually breweries have to commit a certain number of kegs in order to be eligible, and those kegs were likely filled before all the closure stuff went down last month. So, for fans, for old time’s sake, and for the love of good beer, go grab one of the last pints of fresh-tapped Anchor Steam to be had (though some bars around town will likely still have some stock for months to come).